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Teach your preschooler their letters in 4 unique ways with this giant packet of alphabet playdough mats! No email subscription required. Just print and play!

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26 free alphabet playdough mats

What makes these printable alphabet playdough mats so much better than others?

The MAJOR difference is that they promote letter learning in 4 different modalities catering to many learning styles:

By playing to learn with these alphabet mats kids are exposed to letters through art, reading, and writing.

The more exposure a child has with letters the more likely they are to remember the letter. But we aren't just going to practice letter recognition; we are also building their ability to independently write each letter!

Also (updated version!), there is a little picture of a word that begins with that letter in the top right hand corner. So there is a phonics element to each mat as well!

letter C playdough mat (set includes complete alphabet)

Side note: it drives me crazy to see uncommon sounds for each letter like giraffe for G when we teach that G says /g/ as in golf. All the pictures on these printable alphabet mats match the most common phonetic sound for each letter!

What's the benefit to using playdough with these alphabet mats?

examples of alphabet playdough mats printed G and A

The benefits are HUGE and three fold.

Using playdough:

  1. Builds fine motor skills - skills we use everyday to manipulate small objects with our hands.
  2. Provides sensory input that children find pleasurable and often relaxing
  3. Is a great opportunity to see if your child benefits from tactile learning. That means learning using touch.

Wait, why would building fine motor skills be helpful for all children?

As children learn to write, they don't just need to memorize the strokes it takes to form letters. There is so much more.

Writing requires:

With the alphabet playdough mats, kids will roll and shape playdough as well as make it into small balls to smush onto the correct letter in the "Read and Cover" section.

This very intentional kind of play strengthens hands, finger, and wrist muscles required to write properly!

How to best use your free and complete set of alphabet playdough mats:

These beautiful letter learning mats are super easy to use!

  1. Print in black and white OR color, making sure to select fit to printable area on some computers.
  2. Laminate OR place in a sheet protector
  3. Ready, set, play to learn!

When writing on the mats, you can use any dry erase markers. Provide your preschooler or kindergartner with a tissue or small cloth to erase once they are done.

child writing letter Ww on W alphabet playdough mat

I find that laminating the alphabet playdough mats works makes them last longer, and I found a very affordable and effective laminator on Amazon (stays between $21-$24). I'll also link the laminating sheets and dry erase markers I love best.

Download your free printable playdough alphabet letter mats now!

Want more incredible play to learn activities to promote kindergarten readiness activities?

A KinderReady Summer is your one stop shop for fun activities that target the exact skills kids need as they enter kindergarten. 

Each week for 8 weeks, you'll get 5 simple pre-planned activities sent to your inbox. All you have to do is read the instructions.

teacher mommy ashley plus kids

What skills will my child be learning?

The focus of A KinderReady Summer is to target the very important skills that come just before reading, writing, and doing arithmetic.

-letter identification, capital and lowercase
-letter sounds
-beginning sounds
-shape names and attributes
-number identification to 10
-counting with one to one correspondence
-pattern completion and creation
-name writing
-fine motor development

Whenever we need some quiet time at home or an independent reading station in kindergarten, I bust out the kids' favorite independent reading activities for a minimum stress, maximum fun learning time.

All 3 of these independent reading activities have many ways to differentiate to meet the needs of all your young learners and build their phonics skills. So whether you're working on beginning and ending sounds, letters, CVC word reading, or digraphs like "sh" and "ch," I've got something for you.

Without further ado, the 3 most begged for independent reading activities are...

  1. Beginning and Ending Sound Parking Lots
  2. Phonics Dominoes
  3. CVC Words and Digraph Cup Stacking Challenge

*As an Amazon Associate I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from my links. Thank you.

3 Top Rated Independent Reading Activities

Get ready to sit back and watch kids get excited to practice reading all on their own. You might even have time to sit down and drink coffee while it's still hot. The best part? It's all hands-on!

Beginning and Ending Sound Parking Lots

sound parking lot beginning independent reading activity

Kids dream of the day they'll get to drive, so bring that dream to life with phonics parking lots. It's so simple, you'll need 10 plastic cars, hot wheels, or trains you have lying around the house.

If you don't have ten little cars you can usually pick them up from the dollar store or here on Amazon.

Print out the 3 beginning sound parking lots or the 3 ending sounds parking lots and you're almost ready to play. Just label the cars with the 10 necessary letters using a dry erase or sharpie.

Independent beginning sound reading activity

All the beginning sound parking lots use the same letters, and the ending sounds have the same letters on each of their mats too! This makes it so you only would need to change the letters on the cars when you're ready to move from beginning to ending sounds.

I love this game because kids are SO psyched to play and can do so independently. So they're working on their phonemic isolation (isolating sounds in words), while I can step back and beam with pride.

Phonics Dominoes

Kids can play this independent reading activity with a partner or on their own. You don't need anything but a sharpie, crayon, and popsicle sticks.

independent reading center with phonics dominoes

I played this game with my kindergartners using CVC words, but you can also play it with the alphabet, shapes, numbers, sight words, spelling words, etc.

Prep this quick independent reading activity in 5 steps:

  1. Line up an even number of jumbo popsicle sticks.
  2. Add a color to every other one.
  3. Write a number, word, shape, or letter on both sides.
  4. Whatever you wrote on the right sight of the first popsicle stick, write the same thing on the left side of the next stick.
  5. Continue till the phonics dominoes all have two words each.
independent reading activities popsicle word phonics dominoes

Once you teach this game to your kids or students, they'll know how to play forever. This makes it the easiest independent reading center. They see the popsicle sticks, and you barely have to say a word!

Cup Stacking Challenge - CVC words and Digraphs Sh and Ch

Just print and play. Kids freak out when you share they'll be reading and building based on the words they have on their cups.

independent reading challenge stacking cups

The Cup Stacking Challenge bundle comes with 4 building challenges per vowel and digraph. So you get stacking cards that focus on CVC words and digraphs ch and sh. The set comes with 7 sheets of challenges, focusing on each of the vowels in CVC words and the two digraphs.

independent reading a stack reading activity

Each challenge requires only 6 cups. Use either plastic or paper to write the words listed at the bottom of that challenge's sheet. Below is an example with the "i" words using paper cups and the "sh" words using plastic cups.

reading challenge with cup stacking

Download your bundle now to start playing these independent reading activities that kids beg for!

Worried your kids are not ready to play these independent reading activities?

Most kids begin reading in kindergarten at the age of 5 or 6. What does "reading" look like at this age? Well, in kindergarten kids by sounding out simple 3 letter words using their knowledge of letters and sounds. They also read words they have explicitly memorized aka sight words.

Everyone learns at different paces, so don't be worried if your child is not yet doing this. However, if you want to progress their learning through fun, hands-on games such as the ones you just read about, check out our signature program, The Fun Club.

TRUTH: The Fun Club is a monthly subscription with 20+ activities a month that WILL TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ (and so much more).

Each week includes reading and math activities that transform learning at home. Suddenly learning goes from being a chore to being the highlight of your day. Activities progress from beginning letters and numbers to mastering kindergarten reading and math standards.

Kids in The Fun Club can read this to you!

Whether you're looking to make learning fun or catch your kiddo up, join The Fun Club and start playing to learn.

When it comes to introducing ending sound activities, kids may feel a little out of their element. For so long, they've been taught phonics with a focus on beginning sounds. "B is for ball!" Now we start telling them that there is an "l" in ball, and they get all discombobulated.

Here are the tips, tricks, and best ending sound activities that I use to teach my own kids and my kindergarten students. These hands-on activities really make the sounds click and stick in their brains. Plus, the best part is...they're super fun and easy to prep.

*As an Amazon affiliate, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.

How do you teach ending sounds in kindergarten?

This might seems like a no brainer to us, but kids are not aware that there is a beginning, middle, and ending to each word. This concept of a word being a visual thing, rather than just something you say, can really confuse children.

My two biggest ending sound strategies:

  1. Show each word as 3 parts with a visual
  2. Stretch out the word and focus on what we hear (not the letters in it).

When I set out to teach ending sounds, I always begin by showing my kindergartners the word as three parts. This is often known as using Elkonin boxes, a visual reading strategy to help kids understand the word as made up of separate sounds.

Using the Elkonin visual, I help children segment words into the phonemes, aka sounds, they're made from, and point to each box. By attaching a visual, many light bulbs suddenly go off.

elkonin boxes for teaching phoneme segmentation and isolation

A second strategy for teaching ending sounds, is to speak like a whale, from "Finding Nemo." Elongate the word, and when you hit that last sound, make it super clear: GOOOAAATTTTTTTT. As I do this, I pretend I'm visually pulling a word, as if it were a piece of bubblegum, with the ending sound landing in the palm of my hand. Then I ask, "What sound was here, at the end?"

Stretching the word and asking the kindergartners for the sound (instead of the letter) allows them to work on hearing the ending sound without knowledge of letters yet. This strategy builds an umbrella of skills called phonemic awareness, the understanding that words are made up of sounds.

how to visualize the sounds when you're doing ending sounds activities

Hands-on ending sounds activities that kids go gaga for:

More than anything, I know kids learn best by having fun. So I try to bring the ending sound activities to life through games, imagination, and when possible, movement!

Muffin Pan Ending Sound Activity

find the ending sound muffin pan activity

Remember those Elkonin boxes, I mentioned? They can be used to represent sounds or letters, and this muffin pan activity will help kids really visualize the ending sound of each word.

Turning your muffin pan sideways, you now have three perfect sections to help segment each word. This muffin pan game works best with CVC words (that means consonant, vowel, consonant) and you can even find the printable CVC picture cards right here.

These are the alphabet letters we love for teaching phonics. They're magnetic, and the vowels are red which especially helps for teaching middle sounds.

Set up your words, so that only the ending letters are missing. Saying the sounds of the beginning and middle sound, help your kindergartner listen for the missing final sound.

Ending Sounds Toy Thief Game

We have played this game for beginning and ending sounds, and it's got to be one of my all-time favorites. Kids always go gaga for this game.

The Toy Thief has stolen some items from around the house that need to be rescued. Now, to teach ending sounds with this game, you must be rather intentional with the objects you choose. For example, an elephant toy, has an obvious ending sound: t. But do you know the ending sound of horse? It's not "e." It's "s."

the ending sounds toy thief activities

Write the phonetic ending sounds of each word on a piece of paper, and hide the toys. We used blue tape to hang them on our door, but you can also trap them under a laundry basket or hide them in different drawers. Be creative!

Have the kindergartener in your life rescue the toy and match them to their correct ending sound. Remember, it's about hearing the sound at the end of the word, not necessarily the letter. Tarantula would NOT be an "a," it would be the "uh" sound which goes with "u." Grown ups, I know you can do this! Haha!

Rescue the Ending Sounds Activity

rescue the ending sounds activities

This game requires barely 3 minutes of prep and also strengthens kids' hand muscles while they play. So let's build those fine motor skills and learn about ending sounds at the same time!

Choose a basket or a pan, and get out some blue tape. Make some overlapping lines over the top of the container so that there are multiple individual sections. In each small section, place a letter that is a common ending sound. I recommend using: g, n, m, p, d, s, r, l, k.

Give your kindergarteners salad tongs or these kid friendly pincers and have them rescue the letter that ends each word you call out: bag, soon, mom, hop, bed, gas, star, bell, sock, etc.

If you're playing this in small groups in a classroom, it would be great fun for the kids to create their own blue tape webs to reduce the prep for you.

SMACK the Ending Sound

This one is quick but effective. Place 3 Post-its notes on a table in front of each kiddo. Have the children clearly print the letters "D," "N," and "K" on them. I like to use 3 very different sounding letters to make it the easiest to discern.

SMACK those ending sounds, three post its with different letters on them: d, n, k

Call out words that end with only those sounds and have the kids SMACK the matching ending sound in front of them.

Want to use those letters for the activity? Perfect. Just call out these words:

Can, Kick, Sad, Bed, Soon, Fine, Pack, Ten, Kid, Sick, Quack, Pen, Red, Fun, Lick, Kitten, Jade, Stick, Bird, Salad.

Ending Sounds Bean Bag Toss

Invite your child to toss a bean bag at a group of objects. Where does it land? Say the word, and stretch out the word. What sound did you hear at the end?

If you have got a kid that has a lot of energy, this is a great game that incorporates a physical aspect. Kids get excited for their turn to throw the bean bag, and you can't lose. Everything has an ending sound! It's simple but effective.

Free Printable Ending Sounds BINGO Activity

In this ending sounds activity, everyone wins. This set of BINGO boards all have the same pictures but in different spots. This way, kids aren't copying off one another but still get the joy of always finding a match.

You'll need either magnetic letters or write the following letters out on index cards: D, D, G, M, N, N, P, T, T

bingo downloadable ending sounds activities for free!

Each time the kids match the letter to the picture, they can use stickers or BINGO chips to cover up the picture.

The most fun way to set up the game is to put each of the ending sounds in an envelope or even in plastic Easter eggs. Have your kiddos choose a letter and find a word that ends with that sound.

Kids will often try to match with beginning sounds, when first learning about ending sounds. When this happens, I use the stretch the word strategy and "hold" the ending sound in my hand. Which sound did you hear at the end?

Bear's Ending Sounds Hunt

ending sounds activities with stuffed animal and magnetic letters

Now this activity is more challenging than the rest, due to the fact that kids will need to be more independent in isolating ending sounds. So I would do this one after you've tried all the rest of the ending sound activities.

In a bag, place the letters that are common ending sounds: D, M, N, R, T, S. There are more, but those will do! Have a stuffed animal host this challenge. Let the Letter Bear pick a letter out of a bag, and have kids go on a hunt for something in the room that ENDs with that letter. It's a challenge, but wow, doesn't it feel great when they get it?

Of all these ending sound activities, which was your favorite?

The AT word family is one of the first sets of words young children learn to read, usually in kindergarten. These words are practiced as part of a word family.

What is a word family?

A word family is a set of words with the same ending. The words in a word family always rhyme.

Here is a downloadable list of words from the AT word family. Just click to download and read on for some great printable worksheets and activities to teach the words in the AT word family.

The first words kids usually read...

When kids are first starting to read, they usually begin reading CVC words. CVC stands for consonant vowel consonant words.

The AT word family is one of the first, if not THE first, family of words children practice reading in school. Since “a” is the first letter of the alphabet, children are usually most familiar with its sound out of the vowels: a, e, i, o, and u. “T” is also another sound kids more easily remember.

*As an Amazon affiliate, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.

AT Word Family Worksheets Packet

These FREE downloadable worksheets will help your child build fluency with the words in the AT family.

When working with the list and flashcards in the printable packet, I recommend using the 3 letter CVC words for beginning readers. The 4 letter words (CCVC words) are only for a challenge.

There are so many hands-on ways to use the AT word family flashcards for activities and games that your kid will love. I find that just going through the flashcards can be boring, so check out the activities we played with them below!

flashcards for AT word family

Page 1 of 2 Flashcards

Picture flashcards that match the word flashcards above
Match and Write. Children connect the picture to the word and then trace the word
Beginning sound worksheet where students determine which of two words matches the picture

Hands-On Activities Using AT Words

AT Word Family SPLAT!

Okay so I usually call this game, SWAT it, but it didn't rhyme, SPLAT the AT word it is!

Use those flashcards you just printed out and call out a word. Kids love getting permission to make something go SPLAT! Make sure to use blue painters tape so you don't ruin your walls!

2 kids using fly swatters to hit AT words on a white wall and smiling

Muffin Pan Spelling with the AT word family

Kids absolutely love muffin pan spelling so if you're looking to try this with other word families you can find more picture cards there. We use any muffin pan and these soft and magnetic Coogam letters.

Try this game with one of two ways:

  1. Beginning sounds version- match the initial sound to the word from the picture card
  2. CVC spelling full version- spell the AT word that matches the picture in it's entirety
muffin pan next to pictures of bat, rat, mat, and hat. in left veresion the muffin pan includes only the -at ending of each word and the beginning letters are under the pan. The second picture on the left has all the words spelled to match the AT words on the right

Word Ladder for the AT Family

Create a word ladder listing all the words you can think of that rhyme with at! Display them with Post-its, flashcards, or these cute paint chip cards.

word family ladder

Memory Matching Game- Pictures + Words

Using the picture and word flashcards from the AT word packet, play a classic game of memory. Take turns flipping two cards and if they match, you keep them. Continue flipping them over till all are gone.

AT Family Word Sort

This is pretty intuitive, but a simple sorting game can be great practice. Read the word and match it with the picture.

As kids sound out the words, they're practicing their phonics letter/sound association, but they also need to be able to BLEND those three sounds together to make the word, which is a very important phonemic awareness skill that lots of people don't know to practice.

each word flashcard is matched with its picture. words/pictures are: bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat

The AT Word Family House

Let's really lean in to that family part of "word family." All these words live together! So let's give them a house.

a paper craft house with AT on the room and paint chips with different rhyming at words on the bottom

The Cat and the Rat Book, A First Reader

I created this printer friendly (black and white) decodable book to help kids practice reading words in the -at family. It’s FREE to print and use with your child. They can even color it in. Maybe it’ll be the very first book they read!

Parents often ask...

When are kids supposed to be able to read the words in the AT word family?

Kids are expected to read most CVC (consonant vowel consonant words) at the end of kindergarten based on Kindergarten Common Core Standard CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.2.D. Since the AT family is usually the first set of words children learn to decode (sound out) independently, they are likely to begin reading these words around the middle of kindergarten.

But I want to make sure I say that everyone is different and that's okay! Not all kids will read these words in kindergarten.

According to understood.org, "Not all kids develop reading skills at the same rate. Taking longer doesn’t mean they’re not on track to become good readers." That's a very important reminder for parents in this world where we are constantly comparing ourselves and our kids.

What are other word families at the same reading level?

Other families to work on after the -at word family would be the -ag, -ad, -am, and -an families.

I've created these activities and printables for the -an word family just for you!

The letters in all these families use the usual phonetic sounds for each letter so they don’t confuse beginning readers (unlike the -ar and-as word families where there are letters making irregular sounds like the “a” in far and the “s” in has).

Hands on learning is my secret to teaching reading so kids are never bored!
I NEVER use workbooks or worksheets.


When I say "hands on learning," I mean any kind of learning where your child is actively participating in creating new knowledge or solving a problem. This is also called learning by doing. From your own childhood, did you ever really learn something from a worksheet? I remember the projects, the games, the activities that got me and my classmates up and moving, creating, and solving problems.


Hidden Object is a hands on learning game that combines reading skills with a fun, element of surprise.

How to Play Hidden Object- A hands on learning game:

What you'll need-

Version 1, Letters and Letter Sounds:

On the Post-its, write the letters your child is learning. If you're child is just starting to recognize letters, I recommend starting with the letters of their name.
In this version, children will either say the letter name or the letter sounds as they lift each bowl on the hunt for the hidden object.

Child lifting bowls with different letters on them

Version 2, Reading CVC Words:

If your child has moved into reading, try sight words or CVC words in a particular word family (on example is the AT word family with words like cat, rat, bat, sat, etc).


Another idea would be to include words that have a new sound they've just learning like digraphs: sh, wh, th, and ch.

Child picking up cups with words on them

Invite your child to play:

  1. Say, "I've hidden a special object under one of these containers. Before you check under the container you must read the letter or word on that container's note."
  2. Remind your child to read the letter or word before they can look under the container for the hidden object.
  3. Once they find the hidden object, have them close their eyes and start again!

Hands on Learning at all levels of literacy:

This simple hands on game can be used for so many different skills: letter sounds, letter identification, sight words, CVC words, digraphs, etc.
In this instance, Big Sis was practicing reading CVC words (consonant vowel consonant words) that had different vowels in the middle. If I notice her struggling with a specific vowel or letter sound, I would put more words with those sounds on the Post its.

Hands-On Learning Games + Reading Comprehension:

Whenever I discuss early literacy skills like reading CVC words and sight words, I want to reinforce that all the games and wonderful activities are only part of the reading puzzle. The biggest thing you can do for your child to have success with reading from an early age is read to them everyday.

Guiding questions as you read aloud with your child:

Like teaching your child through hands on learning games? Want to teach you 4-5 year old to read using hands on learning? Check out The Fun Club! Subscribe for a free week of activities right now!

13 powerful letter learning games

Learning letters is the first step in learning to read. Children in preschool and kindergarten largely focus on letter identification and letter sounds.

While some kids are naturally inclined to learn letters from a young age, others take longer and that's okay.

My mission is to making learning letters and how to read fun and hands on. So if you're looking for a letter sounds worksheet or some alphabet flashcards, this isn't the place.

Instead I'm going to show you my most favorite, hands-on letter learning games so that your kid is just as excited about the alphabet as I am (that's super excited...ahem...kindergarten teacher).

Is there a correct order of teaching letters and sounds?

There is not one correct order of teaching letters but instead many different ways to choose which letters to focus on first.

  1. Alphabetical Order - this is often very common in classrooms that have a "Letter of the Week" curriculum.
  2. Learning letters of child's name first - Kids are excited and drawn to learn about the letters in their name, and one of the most important things to demonstrate kindergarten readiness is writing one's name. For that reason, I do recommend we begin letter learning with the letters of your child's name.
  3. Learning letters based on their shape - this method is recommended by Handwriting Without Tears, a writing curriculum. Basically, they recommend teaching letters that are easiest to write first. That would mean letters that are made with straight lines first (L, T, I, H), followed by ones with curves next (D, B, S, C), and finally letters with diagonal lines last (R, Z, K, N).
  4. SATPIN - These are part of a phased learning of letters that recommends teaching SATPIN first. Apparently, those letters are the most common ones that can also make the most words: pin, sat, tin, pat, pan, sit, etc. Learning SATPIN letters first gives kids the ability to work on other reading skills without memorizing all the letters first. After SATPIN comes... m d g o c k  e r u b h f  l   j w  v x y z q

No matter what order of teaching letters you choose, I would recommend only working on 5-7 new letters at a time to avoid overwhelming your child. They'll need lots of repetition for those letters to stick in their minds, so always add in some letters they already know when you're playing these games.

14 Hands-on Games for Learning Letters and Sounds!

1. The Letter Sounds Swat:

All you need are some Post-its, a fly swatter (or a hand), and you're ready to go. Call out letter names or letter sounds and have your little one jump and swat the letters. You can use numbers too!

Swat the Letter!

2. Letter Sounds Toy Rescue!

Hide toys around the house or even just on a door with blue tape. Invite your child to play by telling them that the Toy Thief has stolen their precious toys and they, and they alone must rescue them.

At the rescue station, toys must be matched with their beginning sound, reinforcing the letter sounds while also working on phonemic awareness!

Learning letter sounds with toy rescue

3. Rescue the Letters:

Got salad tongs? Blue tape? Any container? Combine with letters for this fun challenge!

It's simple, really...call out the letter sound and have your child pluck the corresponding letter from the container below, maneuvering through the blue tape.

It's a wonderful chance to practice fine motor skills as well!

4. Letter Sounds Stomp!

Active kids don't like to sit to learn. Try Letter Sounds Stomp to get your child smashing their way to all their letters and sounds.

learning letters gross motor

5. Hidden Object Letter Learning Game:

Got some tricky letters that continue to confuse your child? Pick out those 5 or so letters they're learning and place them on Post-its for this surprising little game that kids love!

Learning Letters Hidden Object Game

6. Pom Pom Toss for Learning Letters

Much like my very viral Pinterest post for teaching Sight Words, you can place letters on Post-its, lining them up with a muffin pan.

Throw the poms poms at the muffin pan and yell the letter name and sound! Kids and adults love this hands-on learning game that happens to also improve your aim.

Loving learning letters yet?

7. Letter Sounds Post-it Hunt:

Pick out those target letters your child is working on and write them separately on a piece of construction paper. Hide 4 Post-it notes of the same letter around your home and have your child seek out those Post-its.

As your child matches the Post-it letter to the matching construction paper letter, they say the matching letter sounds!

learning letters post it matching game

8. Learning Letters with Bear's Bag:

Surprise! Your favorite stuffed animal is going on a trip, but you need to pack some intriguing objects for it!

Place different letters in a bag. Take turns pulling out different letters and searching around the house that you can pack that begin with that letter sound.

Place the item with the letter and pack them for Bear's trip! Bon Voyage!

Learning letters with Bear

Learn letter sounds as Bear packs for a trip!

9. Toy Rescue by FamilyEdventures.com

In this creative game, kids rescue their toys from under a laundry basket, unlocking the "code" by writing the letters that match the beginning sounds for each item. Genius!

https://familyedventures.com/toy-rescue-preschool-writing-activity/

10. Zig-Zag Letter Sounds Balance:

Got some blue painters tape? Create some zig zags for your child to traverse. Along the way, place some Post-it notes with letters they're learning on it.

Give your child a way they must cross the path: tip toe, jump, hop on one leg, walk, skip.

Each time they come to a letter, they need to stop, name it, and say it's letter sound.

Do your kids love trains and cars? They can even use their vehicles to traverse the zig zag path encountering letters as train stations or stop lights.

Zig Zag Balance for letter learning

11. "Noisy Jump" Letter Learning by Theimaginationtree.com

Take the fun outside with some chalk and play this silly, active hands-on learning game from The Imagination Tree. Draw letters on the ground and have children jump on the letters you name!

12. Alphabet Glow Up

Grab those plastic Easter eggs and get ready for the most epic letter learning experience. Match the letters in the eggs to the mat, and we even added a secret ingredient! WOW!

alphabet learning activity

13. Lowercase Sensory Soup

Practice matching letters with lowercase and capitals in this sensory soup bin that will keep even toddlers engaged!

learning letters sensory soup

14. Alphabet Playdough Mats (they're free!)

The newest addition to this list is a complete set of alphabet playdough mats. This activity promotes learning letters in 4 different ways and includes sensory, tactile, fine motor, and reading/writing in every single mat.

child writing letter Ww on W alphabet playdough mat

Wondering how to teach CVC words to the young learners in your life? Let's do it, the fun way. Instead of using worksheets to teach CVC words, I'll share with you the top hands-on activities that really get kids excited about reading.

*As an Amazon affiliate, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.

What's a CVC word?

CVC words are the building blocks of kindergarten reading and writing. CVC stands for consonant-vowel-consonant. These are the first words that kids read by decoding, otherwise known as sounding out.

CVC words make sense to kindergarten readers, because they are phonetic and don't have any tricky sounds or rules. Examples of CVC words include Bob, mat, kit, peg, fog. As you read these words you'll notice that each letter makes its phonetic sound; there are no long vowels or tricky digraphs like sh/ch/th. That's why CVC words are the words your child should be reading first.

What CVC Words should I teach first?

Most children learn "a" as their first vowel. For that reason I recommend teaching kids to sound out CVC words that have an "a" in the middle first. Stick with one word family like the -am, -ad, or -at word family (you'll want these freebies).

10 Fabulously Fun Ways to Teach CVC Words:

The first 7 activities are best for how to teach CVC words to beginners. Activities 7-10 focus on how to teach CVC word families and are better for children who are successfully sounding CVC words out with independence.

1. How to Teach CVC Words with A Muffin Pan

All you need are letters, a muffin pan, and these epic picture cards for 4 ways to play. You can grab the cvc words list with pictures here.

how to teach cvc words activity with a muffin pan

2. Magnetic Bingo Chip Reading with CVC Words

When I discovered magnetic bingo chips, I nearly lost my mind. This is one of the most engaging ways I have used for how to teach CVC words. Print out the FREE CVC words cards. Then place one magnetic bingo chip on each dot. Finally give your child their magnetic wand to touch each of the chips with as they sound out the word. Viola!

Two pages of Bingo Chip Wand CVC Word CardsDownload
teaching cvc words with bingo chips and wand

3. The Hidden Object CVC Words Game

Where could it be? Read the word and lift the cup. This hands on reading game is perfect for beginners, since you can play with as many or as few CVC words as you'd like, preventing visual overwhelm!

teaching cvc words with the hidden object game

4. Crack the Secret Code with CVC Words:

KindergartenWorksheetsandGames.com brings this hands on game where kids have to find the beginning sound for each picture to crack the code. Once the pictures are complete, they reveal a CVC word at the bottom. How fun!

5. Real or Silly: Making CVC words

An important part of how to teach CVC words is not just blending the words but for children to understand the word they just read. In this magnetic letter game, kids will make their own CVC words and determine whether or not they're real words or silly words.

The Coogam magnet letters are perfect to use when teaching CVC words, because the vowels are red and the consonants are blue, making it really easy for children to make their own CVC words.

how to teach real and silly cvc words

For additional practice with nonsense CVC words, you have got to check out this video version of the Real or Silly word game by the extremely silly Mr. B's brain.

6. Splat the CVC Word Gross Motor Game

Got a wiggly kid in need of reading practice? They'll love this SPLAT the CVC word game as you call out CVC words and they make them go SPLAT! Use 5 words with beginners and increase as they build fluency (that means are able to read faster).

How to teach CVC words to wiggly kids

7. Match the Picture and CVC word game

Rather than matching CVCs on a worksheet, let's make it FUN! Grab your free CVC words with pictures HERE and play a classic game of memory or give each student one card and have them find their partner! There are so many ways to practice reading CVC words with these pictures and words.

cvc word and picture matching cards

8. Post-it Matching Game: How to Teach CVC Word Families

Kids love any kind of activity where they get to go on a "hunt," right? So if you've got an active kiddo, this is JUST how to teach CVC words so they'll be super into it. First hide the Post-its around the house or classroom; then have your child find them and return them to the home base.

how to teach cvc word families with post its

9. CVC Word Families Duplo Sort

Write CVC words in from 3 different word families on dot stickers, then place the stickers on the Duplos. Next, hide the Duplo bricks around the house and have your little one find them.

Then comes the reading part. Each brick must be sorted with the ones in its word family. Once all the bricks in the family are reunited, build a tower with them to complete the game.

using duplos for how to teach cvc word families

10. Word Family Snowball Toss by Icanteachmychild.com

This fun game is ICanTeachMyChild.com's take on how to teach CVC words, and it is ridiculously fun. You're going to need some ping pong balls and containers to try to match the words on the ping pong balls to the word family cups.

When is my child ready to start reading CVC words?

Children usually begin reading CVC words in kindergarten, when they are 4-6 years old. If you're looking for a program that WILL teach your child to read with hands-on games and activities, that's easy for parents and fun for kids, check out our signature program The Fun Club.

The Fun Club

Here are the skills your child should be able to do in order to begin reading CVC words:

What are good books for how to teach CVC words?

My favorite book series for beginning readers that I recommend to every family are the Bob books. Their books are truly decodable, so there are no tricky words that make kids confused.

I cannot recommend the BOB series enough because the books are simple, short, and not too many words on the page. They combine CVC words and sight words to create fun and easy to follow stories kids enjoy.

I use these books for all my kindergarteners and my own child. You betcha I cry every single time one of them reads a whole book for the first time!

Teachers begin teaching CVC words in kindergarten, once children have learned their letters and sounds.

CVC stands for consonant vowel consonant. These words are the simplest words to sound out aka decode.

Here are four CVC word games for kindergarten from least to most difficult. All of them use a muffin pan and CVC words with pictures.

*As an Amazon affiliate, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.

Want a CVC words list with printable pictures?

Check out my shop to get my CVC words with pictures.pdf.

Printable CVC words with pictures pdf

Supplies you'll need...

  1. CVC words with pictures - get mine above
  2. 12 Cup Muffin Pan- we use this GoodCook one for all our CVC word building + baking needs
  3. Magnetic letters -Coogam makes our favorite soft foam letters that come with a white board and carrying case

Teaching CVC words: 1 Setup 4 ways to Play

1. Missing Beginning Sounds - Early Kindergarten Level

teaching cvc words with pictures

For this activity in particular, I recommend using words from the AT Word Family for the most beginning readers. The AT Word Family is one of the very first word families children are taught to read.

Not only do kids practice their beginning sound knowledge with this game, they also are building awareness of the other sounds in the word.

The beauty of the muffin pan is that it breaks down each word into 3 components: the CVC -consonant, vowel, consonant parts. Similarly to a story, each word has its beginning, middle, and end.

To play, place each CVC word's picture by the corresponding line on the muffin pan. Point out how the middle and ending sounds are there, but the beginning sound is missing.

First have your child choose a beginning sound matching the picture.. Then model how to sound out the word: /b/ /a/ /g/. Finally, blend the sounds together to make the whole CVC word.

It's okay if your child cannot yet blend the sounds together.

Having you model pointing to each letter from left to right while saying the sound will greatly enhance their understanding of the steps it takes to read a word.

2. Teaching CVC words with Missing Ending Sounds-Middle Kindergarten Level

In this version, everything is the same except the ending sounds missing from the CVC words.

It might seem we have gone a bit out of order by skipping the middle sounds. However, middle sounds are the most difficult to isolate since vowels are similar in sound.

Have your kindergartner isolate the ending sound of the word, then find the matching letter and complete the word. Don't stop just there! Point to each letter from left to right and sound out the word before blending the sounds together to make the complete CVC word.

Teaching CVC words in kindergarten is a snap when you break it down letter by letter.

In the example, kids are given the four letters that are the correct ending sounds. But, if you're child is ready for a challenge, you can include more letters (up to 10) for them to choose from!

If you're looking for more ending sounds activities that kids will love to get their hands on, try these.

3. Teaching CVC words with Middle Sounds- Middle to End Kindergarten Level

teaching cvc words middle sounds

Isolating middle sounds to complete the CVC words is a trickier skill to practice. This is because vowels have multiple sounds and often sound similar for young learners.

Accordingly, we stick to teaching CVC words with short vowel sounds: bat, rat, dog, fog first. Kids wait until first grade to practice words like car and for (where the vowels don't make their short vowel sound.)

In kindergarten we teach kids two ways to isolate and listen for the middle sounds in CVC words:

  1. Segment the word aka break the word into parts: /c/ /a/ /t/
  2. Lengthen the word by stretching it to hear what's in the middle: "CAAAAAAAAAT"

One of my favorite strategies for stretching out the word is to speak "Whale" like Dory in Finding Nemo. Certainly, if your child has seen that movie, they'll know just what to do. Really stretch out the CVC word and listen for the middle sound.

Like with ending sounds, you can offer just the 4 missing middles or give them a chance to pick out the right ones out of all the letters!

To learn more about isolating beginning, middle, and ending sounds, check out these sound isolation activities.

4. Independently Build CVC words

spelling cvc words independently using muffin pan

In my house, I'm known for sitting around with my Cup Of Noodles. So my kids' dubbed this version of the game: Cup of Wordles.

This activity is the culmination of teaching CVC words in kindergarten! The kids have to build the entire word themselves. It's still very simple since there are only 4 words to build at a time, and the kids have the letters to choose from.

In 4 cups, I put the letters needed to make each of the words. Then I place each cup in the beginning sound spot of the muffin pan.

Kids choose a cup and unscramble the letters in it to make the word on the matching CVC word picture card. Then, they check their work by sounding out the letters to read the CVC word.

The Cup of Wordles title is just another engaging way to engage the kids in play. They could be bakers, chefs, or home cooks in the kitchen using their letter ingredients to make delicious words.

Teaching CVC words in kindergarten is easy with these hands-on games...

Now that you have your CVC words with pictures, why not practice some more reading? Your kindergartener will thank you for playing these simple and fun CVC word games.

How to teach CVC words
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