Pumpkin Phonics Work Mat

Practicing phonics skills in kindergarten for October is festive and fun with a pumpkin-themed work mat! In October, most kindergarteners are working on letters, sounds, building, and reading CVC words. They’re also in the full fall spirit with all things pumpkin! That’s why we created this pumpkin phonics word work mat printable for you to use with your students. Keep reading for teaching tips and ideas, and then grab your cute FREE printable at the bottom!

A Pumpkin Phonics Word Work Mat to use for CVC work, letter recognition, and more! Perfect for Kindergarten and First Grade!

It’s October! That means students are getting the hang of all your class routines and centers. Give them a fun theme for the month while you’re seeing pumpkins everywhere!

(Check out this list of teacher-approved pumpkin videos as a great intro to a pumpkin unit!) As the year gets going, students will enjoy having themed activities to work on letters and words. That’s why you will love using these simple and differentiated word work mats. Grab your free printable at the bottom!

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This activity goes well with these resources:

Pumpkin Phonics Word Work Mat:

Prep Work:

Once you download the work mat, you’ll be able to use it all month long, and for years to come. Here’s how to prep:

  • Print the pumpkin work mat (can be printed in color or black and white!) and the pumpkin word printable.
  • Laminate both pages to keep them in good shape or use the printable as a consumable page.
  • Grab plastic sleeves and dry-erase markers for each student to be able to re-use them again and again.
  • Use any letter manipulatives you choose! Try magnetic letters, playdough, letter erasers, or word tiles.


You’re ready to go! Give each student a set number of letters to place along the bottom of the large work mat. You can choose the amount based on student levels. For an added element, grab some mini pumpkin erasers, too! Then, the fun and learning begin!

  • Ask students to practice their letter sounds for each letter they see on the bottom. Example-
    “This is the letter A, and A makes the sound /ă/. To create the /ă/, the jaw drops, and the tip of the tongue presses into the bottom front teeth. The body of the tongue rounds upward.” (Tip: Read all our Science of Reading articles here, and make sure you have a sound wall in your classroom for real photos of each phoneme.)
  • Once students know the letters, have them move letters up to form words! They can practice saying the sounds and words out loud with the finger-tapping technique! Give one tap for each sound on your finger from left to right. Thumb: /c/, pointer finger: /ă/, middle finger: /t/. Keep in mind, if you have a student using their left hand they would go pinky to thumb.
  • Write each word in the larger pumpkins! That’s it, it’s so simple and fun! They can erase and do more words with new letters until time runs outs.
  • Use the mini erasers for extra practice! Students can place one eraser per syllable they hear, or for each sound the word makes. For example, the word fed has one syllable so they would place one eraser. If practicing sounds, you will hear three separate sounds in the word fed, so students would place three erasers on the word.


At Simply Kinder, we know that not every activity is “one size fits all”, so we always want to provide you with different options! You can do this activity-

  • Whole Group: Use the “I do, we do, you do” model to teach and check for understanding.
  • Small Group: Use it during centers or in small groups for students who need extra practice.
  • Intervention: Pull students one on one for some additional intervention work
  • Accelerated: Have some students who are flying past CVC words? Great! Add in additional letters and have them practice CVC-e words, blends, rhymes, and more!
  • Different Subject: Hoping to use the work mat for more than just phonics? Great! Try using it as a counting mat! Or have students drag up different erasers while they do addition or subtraction problems.

Pumpkin Phonics Word Work Mat Freebie:

Now that you have some amazing pumpkin work mat activities for kindergarten planned, grab the free printable of your own! 

PRO TEACHER TIP: You don’t have to just use this for phonics, it’s great for any concept where you want students to have a dedicated workspace. Try it with adding or subtracting!

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A Pumpkin Phonics Word Work Mat to use for CVC work, letter recognition, and more! Perfect for Kindergarten and First Grade!

This post was written by Johanna, an experienced early elementary teacher who loves learning about new teaching ideas for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade!

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