I love making seasonal sensory bins to keep kids interested in concepts well beyond their introduction. This CVC Word Building Fall Leaves Sensory Bin is a fun way to keep kids excited about forming CVC words.
*This activity pairs perfectly with our Fall Centers for Pre-K and Kindergarten!
For those new to the “CVC” concept, a CVC word is a three letter word formed by a “consonant-vowel-consonant” such as “red,” “cat,” or “tip.” CVC words are often the first words taught to children learning how to read and write. I’ve written extensively about CVC words here (which includes a printable list of CVC words) and within my Montessori Pink Boxes post (which is how I teach CVC words to my Montessori kids).
In Montessori, vowels are red and consonants are blue which provides a great visual cue for emerging readers about the special properties of vowels, and helps them with building those fundamental CVC words.
This Fall Leaves Sensory Bin has an easy visual cue for the C-V-C structure – I made the vowels red and the consonants orange. This makes it easy to spot vowels in the bin, and also is a great way for kids to visually determine if their word is structured properly.
How to Make a Fall Leaves Sensory Bin
You will need:
- 2 bags of fake leaves (depending on how many kids will be playing)
- Permanent marker
- Large container
You can also add additional fall items – I added some felt leaves for contrast and to help fill up our bin. Mini rakes, little bins to organize letters, or cards with example CVC words would all be great additions to this bin.
Start off by separating the leaves by color – my bags only had red and orange, so I used a black permanent marker to write vowels on the red leaves and consonants on the orange leaves.
I choose to use capital letters as my children all can identify capital letters – some struggle with lower case. I wanted this to be an inclusive activity, but technically, lower case letters would be preferable.
CVC Word Building
I placed all of the leaves in the bin and shook them up so they were all good and mixed.
I encouraged the kids to play and explore without any agenda first and it was interesting to see them start practicing concepts on their own – matching like letters, trying to find all of the vowels, trying to find significant letters (“L” for leaf, or the beginning letter of their names), etc.
After about 10 minutes of playing like this, I asked the kids what they remembered about CVC words and encouraged them to try to build some CVC words with the letters in the bin.
We saw a variety of words being formed – but what was interesting is that they initially reached for words related to our activity and what was in the room around us – red, sit, bin, etc.
Whenever a child formed a word, I asked them to spell out the letters and then say the word. If it was a made up word, I would ask what the word meant which allowed them to consider on their own if it was a real word or not. (For the most part, they were pretty good at identifying the fake words.)
This is a great sensory bin to leave available for kids to explore and come back to, strengthening their awareness of word building in a fun and approachable way. It’s mess free, so it makes a great independent play activity.
Grab the Printable Recording Sheet
In the classroom, it can be great to have recording sheets available for these types of activities. This allows kids to build words and be accountable for their work. Plus, they may enjoy writing down their favorite words to take home and show their parents!
You can grab the printable recording sheet shown below by scrolling and clicking the blue download button.
Then, be sure to head over and grab 23 awesome fall math and literacy centers!
More Fall Fun
Looking for more fun fall activities for kids? Here are some of our favorites!