Food Group Sort

(for ages 3+)


  • Variety of food – real or “play” food items
  • Clear plastic cup (needs to be a little bigger than colored cup)
  • Bold marker or crayon

Prep Time:

  • 5 minutes

Recipe for Playful Learning!

Sorting similar items is a critical life skill. Organizing items while noting similarities and differences develops analytical skills that are part of an overall decision-making process.

STEP 1: Using a bold marker, make thick lines to divide the poster board into four squares and then label each square for each food group – Dairy, Grains, Fruit, Vegetables (or make more squares and for additional food groups i.e., Meat, Fish etc.)

STEP 2: To begin, have your child name types of food. This can be done while food shopping in the supermarket or at home in your kitchen. Then either shop and purchase them in the store or have your child find them in your kitchen refrigerator or pantry closets.

STEP 3: Prepare a clean flat surface to place the poster board on to sort out the food, either on a tabletop or on the floor on top of a cloth or blanket.

STEP 4: Once you have a large enough variety of food, review each item with your child, encouraging them to note the identifying aspect of the item.

i.e., Both yogurt and cheese are milk-based products which means they come from a cow and are considered dairy items.

i.e., Most fruits, like oranges and apples contain seeds, while vegetables, like carrots and broccoli, usually have roots, stems or leaves.

STEP 5: Let your child follow your lead and begin to make their own conclusions for the other food items.

Skills to Practice: Sorting, Organization, Critical thinking