Lifestyle, Organization

How to turn household organization into Test Prep


In today’s post, we will be discussing how preparation for the gifted and talented test can be integrated into activities of daily life, such as household organization. Organization is not only a critical life skill for your child’s academic and personal success, but can serve as a novel exploration of vocabulary concepts. When a child gains access to such vocabulary, he or she will feel a sense of empowerment over their personal space. Throughout this discussion, we at will be providing you with engaging activities for turning organizational sessions into test prep!


Common Tests that These Strategies Will Help For:

AABL® Test

CoGAT® Test

NYC Gifted and Talented Test



TerraNova® Test


Using Directional Terms for Organizing

When it comes to the gifted and talented exams, many of the tests include directional terms such as “below, above, next to, besides, and under” (just to name a few). Although it may appear simple, a great way of reinforcing such vocabulary is by using it in a sentence with your child.It may help to start with organizing a smaller or more isolated space in your house, such as a chest of drawers or a bookshelf. This way the child does not become overwhelmed by the contents. The goal is for them to absorb as much of the vocabulary as possible so that they can understand how to properly use it in a sentence.

If you and your child are organizing clothing, start simply.For example, ask your child if the shirts should go “below” or “above” the pants. A good indication of their understanding is if they are able to appropriately use the same key terms when answering the question. In this case, they may say “the shirts should go below the pants”. Once they answer, help them by folding the clothes. Even folding or rearranging garments can be a learning experience. For example, if a shirt is inside out, ask your child to turn the shirt “outside” or “right side up”. This statement not only encourages skills such as following directions, but requires that they understand the words and the corresponding definition. Further, have them place the items in the location that they believe they should go.It is important that the action reflects their understanding. You could then continue to make the questions slightly more difficult. You could say to your child “let’s sort the similar and or identical clothing in the same drawer”.You could specify color or type of garment. Include whatever organizational principle works best for your family! By just speaking about where each item should go, your child will be learning to identify and define several important terms.


Making a Game out of Organizing

Another effective method entails turning the process of organization into a game! Have your child help you to construct your own chart with key vocabulary words. These could include terms such as “in back of, in front of, behind, across from, same side, or either side”. If you want to get fancy, try making your own game spinner! Websites such as Pinterest have amazing DIY spinners that are both easy and fun to make! Have your child collect some items that need to be organized such as books, shoes, scarves, or toys. Once they collect the items that need to be put away, have them close their eyes and point to a term on the chart. Once they choose the word, proceed by having them define the item. For example, if they receive the word “either side”, have them use it in a sentence. Once they define the word, have them place the item (in this case a shoe) on “either side” of the shelf. Once this process is complete, repeat the steps. Have them close their eyes and pick a word. If they received the item “behind”, have them use the term in a sentence. They should then continue by placing that pair of shoes behind the first pair of shoes that they had put away. Before you know it, all of the items will be organized and stored away on the shelf!


Sorting With Your Child

Lastly, self-made labels are a great literacy and communication activity. They are especially useful when organizing, since they serve as a great reminder for where items should go! Depending upon your child’s age group, you can take the opportunity to create labels through the process of “sorting”. Begin by asking your child to “sort” through their summer and winter accessories or clothes”. Ask them what they think “sorting” means. If they are unsure, try using it in a sentence for them. Once the clothes are in two separate piles, ask them to write a summer label as well as a winter label for each box. Depending on the season, you may find that you do not need your summer clothes.In that case, you could introduce the terms “up and down”. You may ask you child which box can go “up” in the closet, and which box should stay “down”. As you can see, each step in the process tends to lead you into another lesson that is accompanied by an amazing toolbox of vocabulary. Activities such as sorting activates mental organization, problem solving, a search for trends, as well as a comparison of similarities and differences. Each of these skills will ultimately benefit your child on the gifted and talented tests.

Through this post, it was my goal to demonstrate how studying for the gifted and talented tests can fit nicely into creative and interactive activities. Using this vocabulary in a real world context can solidify your child’s true understanding of concepts that are embedded in the gifted and talented tests. Happy organizing!


Karen Quinn is co-founder of and an expert on gifted and talented tests used throughout the United States and other countries. Visit for instant access to 100 free gifted and talented practice questions.

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