What Are Sorting Mats?

Sorting mats are a fun way for children, tweens, and teens to review information they have been learning.  They allow students to practice active recall or ‘quiz themselves’ without boring worksheets or flashcards.

Sorting mats also provide an organizational system where students sort pictures and facts based upon what they have learned in their studies.  Therefore, they improve how they organize the information in their brain, which makes it easier to recall at a later time.

Learn more below and then use the special coupon code to receive a FREE set of sorting mats of your choice!

A Mature Version of File Folder Games

Sorting mats are basically a mature version of file folder games that are used in the preschool and early elementary years.  For example, think of a file folder game where there are different pockets for a few different letters and a child is given a variety of pictures that start with those different letters.  The child’s task is to determine what letter each word starts with and put the picture in the correct letter pocket.

Sorting mats incorporate pictures AND written facts that students sort based on their knowledge.  Just like the file folder games, there is a correct place for each card.  The sorting mats can be used with any age, including high school, depending on the content of the particular set of sorting mats you are using.

Photo of all four seasons of sorting mats with matching cards on most of the sections.

Organize Information Better

Many students have trouble organizing what they learn. This makes it hard to make connections between different pieces of information like how the earth’s movement and relationship to the sun affects the temperature on earth.  It also makes it hard to retrieve information from memory when needed.  Sorting mats help students ‘file’ the information they learn into the right ‘drawers’ in their brains.  Each sorting mat has a specific place for each type of information.  For example, the state sorting mats below have a place for a map of the state, the state flag, what year it entered the union, etc.  This gives students a visual organizer for what information they need to remember about the different states.

US Geography Sorting Mats for South Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho

Practice Active Recall

Sorting mats also give students a hands-on way to practice their active recall of the information they have learned. We often think we know information after we read it a few times.  But then, we get into a situation where we need to remember that information and realize it is a little (or a lot) fuzzy.

Using active recall gives students practice pulling the information they have learned from their memory.  This improves their long-term retention and their ability to retrieve the information whenever they need it.  If students get stuck while completing the sorting mats, they can use the self-checking answer key to see what they missed. Tip: I don’t hand the answer key to my kids until they have tried their hardest to match all of the information! 🙂

Fun Way to Assess Learning

Writing information down helps our brains to remember it better.  However, many children struggle with the physical and/or mental skills required during writing.  Sorting mats give children a great way to focus on the information they are reviewing in a relaxed manner where not so many other skills are required.  Some children even like making it a game!  They can set a timer and see how fast they can match up all the information.  Then, they can try to improve on their time or see if they can beat a sibling or another student!

Easy Way to Differentiate Learning

Have different age children or children with different abilities?  Sorting mats are easy to differentiate learning for students at a variety of levels.  For your older child, you may just set out all the matching cards and the mats and off they go.  For younger children, they may need less mats set out…instead of all five mats in a set, maybe you just set out two or three.  You can also adjust the number of matching cards you set out.  In the example of the President Sorting Mats below, you may just give your younger child the picture, the state, and one fact for each president and see if they can match those three pieces of information with each president.

First set of five US President Sorting Mats

Try a FREE Set of Sorting Mats!!

Ready to give sorting mats a try?  Right now, you can get any of our sorting mats that are $5.00 or below for FREE!  Just pick one below that sounds good, add it to your shopping cart and use the coupon code SORTING5OFF at checkout!


cover for Biome Sorting Mats. shows print out of some of the mats and cards.Cover for Cloud Sorting Mats Product showing title and pictures of four mats and two of the matching cards.Cover of the Four Seasons Sorting Mats with title, picture of one mat and a couple cards.






Cover of Mega Set of Animal Sorting Mats

Product cover for Tree Sorting Mats showing three sorting mats and corresponding cards.

Cover of the product Planet Sorting Mats showing a sorting mat, matching cards, a picture of the solar system and the title.






Cover for product Simple Machines Sorting Mats with pictures of 3 mats and some accompanying cards.






Product cover with title Black History Sorting Mats and pictures of some sorting mats and cards.Cover of Continent Sorting Mats


Cover for South America Sorting Mats with title and a few of the pieces shown.Cover for US Geography Sorting Mats: Western States





Cover for President Sorting Mats: Presidents 1-15Cover for President Sorting Mats showing title, sorting mat and matching cards.Cover for President Sorting Mats showing title, sorting mat and matching cards.






Product cover for Women's History Sorting Mats with title and pictures of two of the sorting mats.







Cover for Descriptive Language Sorting MatsCover for product Grammar Sorting Mats showing title and pictures of some of the mats and cards.Cover of the product, Musical Instrument Sorting Mats






Cover for Number Sense Sorting Mats showing pictures of some of the mats.