Summer is coming and hopefully that means beach time for everyone! If not, using a beach theme to teach can be just as fun. Whether your preschoolers are digging through a sensory bin of play sand, exploring with seashells, or painting ocean animals on the easel, the beach or ocean theme are fun to focus on with young learners. Our build a sandcastle word mat shifts the focus from just letter sounds, to building CVC words, which is perfect to practice for preschoolers heading to kindergarten (or even in kindergarten!).
Build a Sandcastle Word Mat
This printable set of free build a sandcastle word mats includes 10 short vowel CVC words. Each set has a sandcastle card with a picture on it and 3 sand shovel cards that has one letter on each card.
To prep this activity takes no time at all. I love printable activities that only have straight lines to cut with my paper cutter!
Print the file and cut the cards apart on the gray dotted lines. Laminate the pieces or print them on cardstock. I usually print on cardstock and laminate my printable pieces. This just keeps the cards and pieces of learning centers durable and sturdy for little hands who end up being rough or bending pieces.
Lay the sandcastle cards on the table and start building words! It may be easier to split up the words and letter cards by short vowel. This way the practice with the short vowel sound does not get as confusing.
The object of the build a sandcastle word mats is to identify the picture on the sandcastle card and then find all 3 sounds in the word. With CVC words, it is easy to hear 3 distinct sounds. The vowel in the middle is the trickiest!
Working with Different Learning Levels
When creating words using letter sounds with the build a sandcastle word mats, there are a few ways to play. There are probably more than a few ways to play, so if you think of a new idea for a specific preschooler or small group, that is perfect too!
I just think working with current learning levels and building on from them is the way to go when it comes to older preschool and kindergarten skills. And it absolutely depends on how independently your class can work if you will use this printable literacy activity on its own.
New activities are usually introduced in a whole group setting. I tend to introduce our new learning games on the carpet at circle time.
We will play together after we have already practiced the CVC word skills needed for the activity. This helps get them warmed up to play!
For your beginners, print 2 sets of the file. Cut one apart like in the photo above and leave on set intact. For example, cut AROUND the entire sandcastle and 3 letter cards, but don’t cut them apart.
This allows your preschoolers to build confidence with their letter sounds and still build the word because they are working on matching and letter sounds instead of trying to come up with the sound and then the letter on their own.
You can also put the CVC words in a pocket chart. If your preschoolers are working on beginning sounds, fill the chart with the short vowel and the last letter in each word. Have your preschoolers fill in the first letter.
After the beginning sounds are mastered, leave the beginning and ending sounds out of the chart, but leave the short vowel. The first short vowel we work on is short A, so those words may be good ones to start with when practicing finding the short vowel card.
Working with letters and letter sounds takes lots of time and practice. Be sure to set up your preschoolers for success by keeping their learning on their individual levels. This will make your life easier too!
This is why I love printable activities like the build a sandcastle word mats. Adapt them to work with your current preschoolers and there are so many options and way to play!
Your preschoolers may also enjoy our ocean emergent reader and our summer 10 frames!
Grab your copy now!