Like all other math skills, sorting and patterning skills are developed in a sequential manner. Children begin by comparing objects and matching like items. Then they learn to categorize, which is sorting. They typically start with sorting by color, then moving on to sort by type.
Materials (affiliate links):
Sweet Tart Hearts (I got them at the dollar store.)
Kysen loves to naturally sort things. His snacks, markers, toys, loose parts and whatever else he can get his hands on. He is always pointing out differences and similarities about things. He had fun sorting the Sweet Tart Hearts AS he was pulling the hearts out he was looking at the letters on the heart. He was very curious about what each heart said. He started to notice when the words were the same. I love watching him figure things out on his own.
When he was all done sorting he was so excited to eat some hearts!