Sorting also lays the groundwork for learning math: Only when a child can group dogs together can he understand how many there are at the neighbor's house and how many of those are brown and how many are black.
While your child will start to sort on his own, you can reinforce what he's learning with some fun activities.
Color my world
Laundry may be a chore for you, but it's new and exciting to a toddler. She'll be happy to help you put all the colors or T-shirts in one pile and the whites or socks in another.
Cooking up fun
Bake a batch of cookies together, using three or four different cookie cutters. Then use colored sugar to decorate the goodies by shape (yellow for the stars, red for the hearts).
Going to the beach? Help her collect a variety of seashells and then have her put them into piles by texture, size, or color.
Out of the bag
As you unload groceries, ask him to help you separate the paper products from the canned foods, the fruits from the vegetables, the frozen items from the baked goods.
Business and pleasure
If you have a home office, your 2-year-old will love "assisting" you. Give him handfuls of child-safe items like folders, Post-its, and fat markers, then put him to work sorting them according to size or color.
Order double prints when you develop film and give your toddler the extra photos. Show her how to group them according to who or what she sees: grown-ups, animals, children, her friends, or relatives.
Give him a bucket and a mission: Find red (or green or blue) items around the house. To make sure his search is fruitful, you may need to plant a few objects in advance or accompany him.