Popcorn Word Families

Jul 11, 2018

Activity for ages 4 to 7.

Are you looking for a fun way to make word families POP… literally?! These popcorn sorting centers work on 10 different short vowel word families and are sure to keep your little readers engaged.

Scroll below to grab your freebie then pop over and snag our CVC Word Games too!

Getting Ready

The prep for this word center was simple!

I printed the activity on cardstock, laminate the sheets for extra durability and then cut out the popcorn buckets and popcorn.

Finally, I decided to print the record sheets on bright paper for a fun extra pop of color.

The Activity

Since this was our first time sorting word families, I decided to start with only one vowel: A.

I placed the popcorn buckets at the top of the table and sorted the words into -AT and -AN families.

Then the first student drew the word “cat” and held it up for the group to see.

The children read “cat” out loud together.

I asked them which family they thought the word belonged in.

They determined that it would fit best in the -AT family and placed it on the -AT popcorn bucket.

As we worked our way around the circle placing the words in their proper families, I had the children fill out a record sheet.

It was a great way to check comprehension and practice a little spelling.

Small Group Centers

Once each small group had gone through the activity and understood how it worked, I moved the activity to a small group literacy center.

I walked around the room as they worked and had each group read me their words and explain why they chose to sort them into that word family.

I also quickly peeked at their recording sheets to check for understanding.

Grab Your Download

Ready to get poppin’ on a fun reading activity?

Scroll down and click the dark blue download button below to grab your set and then pop over and snag our free rhyme slime games for more reading fun!


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  1. Hope M

    Great resource, thank you!

    • Kimberleigh

      Thank you, Hope!

  2. Brittney


    Your download is currently not working, but I would love to download this activity. If there is an alternative, please let me know.

    • Ashley

      Hi Brittney,
      Thanks for reaching out. I’m sorry you’re having trouble downloading. We never want that. Please check out our troubleshooting video HERE for help. You’ll also want to make sure you have the most recent version of Adobe Reader Other and that you’re allowing pop ups from our site. If you still can’t get it to work, you can email me at hello@playdoughtoplato.com
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  3. Maria

    I have been in a slump for bit feeling like my materials are not as fun nor challenging to my little learners. The other sites are not as effective or simple for ESL learners, sadly. Then I discovered your site and it’s like opening a new toy! Thank you so much.

    • Ashley

      Thank you so much Maria!
      That just makes our day!
      We are thrilled you’re enjoying the materials!
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  4. Camille cristobal

    Can you please share this with me?this would really help my daughter

    • Ashley

      Hi Camille,
      Thanks for reaching out!
      You can download this free printable resource by clicking on the blue Download Now button at the bottom of the post.
      Let me know if you need any further assistance 🙂
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  5. Charo

    Thank you so much! It helped me a lot.

    • Ashley

      You are very welcome!
      We’re thrilled you enjoyed it!
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador



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  2. The Activity Mom - Free Printable Sorting Activities - The Activity Mom - […] Word Family Sorting (Popcorn Themed) from Playdough to Plato […]

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Hi, I’m Malia.

I love giving Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers easy-to-follow systems for getting EVERY student bigger results.

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