Are you looking for a fun way to make CVC words POP… literally?! These playful popcorn sorts work on 10 different short vowel word families and they’re so motivating, kids will actually ASK to repeat them.

Grab your copy below and then hop over and snag our mega pack of print-and-play word work activities in our shop!

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.

CVC Word Families

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.

Word Families Small Group Centers

Once each small group had gone through the activity and understood how it worked, I moved the activity to a literacy center so they could complete it more independently.

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 record sheets to check for understanding.

Grab Your Download

Ready to get poppin’ on this motivating sort?!

Click the blue “download” below to grab the freebie and then hop over to snag more word work activities kids will beg to repeat in our shop!


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    1. I can’t get the link to work for this popcorn activity. It looks like a fun activity. I have clicked on the blue button, made sure my ad blocker is off and checked my software. None of it helped.
      I appreciate you sharing your ideas and activities.
      Thank you.

      1. Oh no! I am so sorry about that, Emily! If you would like you can send us an email over at and send it over to you! I just double checked the download and it seems to be working on my end, so I am happy to send it over!
        Chat soon!
        Kaylee // Playdough to Plato Team

  1. Hello,

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

    1. 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
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

        1. Hi Pamela,
          Thanks for reaching out. I’m sorry you’re having trouble downloading. We never want that.
          Please check to be sure you’ve enabled pop-ups from our site. Even if you’ve been able to download before, the site was recently updated and you may need to do so again. We also recommend using the Chrome browser. For instructions on how to enable pop ups in Chrome, you can check out THIS ARTICLE.
          You can also check out our troubleshooting video HERE for help. If you still can’t get it to work, you can email me at and I will get it to you.
          Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  2. 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.

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

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

    1. 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

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

  4. I have been trying to download this activity but I haven’t been able to, even after attempting the troubleshooting. I tried to email as well, but my email was pushed back.

    1. Hi Rachel,
      When you click the blue “Download Here” button, a pop-up should open. You can try checking to make sure your browser isn’t blocking pop-ups from the site or try using a different browser. If you happen to be attempting the download at school, your district’s web filter may be blocking the pop-up. Let me know if you’re not able to get the activity!
      Sarah // Playdough to Plato Team

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