A truly exquisite sorting set that is worth the investment thanks to its impeccable quality and its opportunities for evolution over time.
The primary purpose of this material is to encourage the sensory skill of sorting by colour. This cognitive concept tends to develop in toddlerhood and is refined during the preschool years.
The use of the wooden tongs to sort the coloured objects elevates this game to include a focus on fine motor! It encourages coordination of the hand and dexterity of the fingers. These are both important elements of writing, making the Rainbow Sorting Set perfect incidental preparation for effective writing.
There are two sets of tongs, which makes the Sorting Set more open-ended and flexible. It means that it can be used as a collaborative game with a pair of children working together, or it can be split into two halves so that two children can work individually on their three colours, or an adult can use one pair of tongs for presentations and scaffolding when a child is first learning to use the set.
The Sorting Set is split across two trays, which also makes the game more variable and allows for personalisation. A beginner might use just one tray with two or three colours, and as they become more confident the second tray can be introduced to make the game more challenging. The two trays can also be used to draw attention to different themes, such as introducing the three primary colours together, or having two primary colours alongside the secondary colour they create when combined.
One of the things I love about this set is that even when child has moved past the phase of sorting, the materials can be repurposed for other activities. The bowls can be used for a wide range of sorting experiences or for storage of special objects or as containers in various Practical Life exercises. The wooden objects can easily become part of other child-led explorations, such as pattern making, sorting by shape, or as building blocks.
Trays: Length 31cm x width 11cm x height of 3cm.
Bowls: Diameter 8.5cm x depth (or 'height') 4cm.
Tongs: Length 18cm x open span of 3.5cm.
This latter measurement - the distance between the two sides of the tongs at the open end - is really important as it makes the tools very practical for little hands. Tongs that have a wide distance when spread open are hard for a toddler or preschooler to handle, as they can struggle to get their hand around it in the first place to squeeze it closed. These wooden tongs are ideal as even small hands can stretch to snugly fit around the 3.5cm for opening and closing the tongs.
The objects are all around 3-4cm in size with a height of 1cm to give them their three-dimensional feel.
Materials: Frames made from alder, non-toxic plant based oil finish and bowls made of lime wood, non-toxic water based colour stain'
The set is from Grimms Spiel und Holz design. Grimms is a world-renowned brand specializing in high-quality, engaging and whimsical children's resources. All of the Grimms products certainly encapsulate the famous Germans sense of craftsmanship and precision. Grimms has a strong respect for the beauty and power of wood (as did Maria Montessori) and they particularly acknowledge the way that wood interacts with the child's senses. As such, Grimms choose to only varnish the wood with subtle colours and oil so that the grain of the wood remains somewhat visible and it retains its rustic appeal.