Editable Ocean Word Building Mats Free Printable

Give your summer literacy lessons and summer word work activities a fun spin with these hands-on, editable ocean word building mats.

Free printable ocean word work mats for your literacy centers.

Ocean Word Building Mats

While it may be summer, that doesn’t mean your students should stop practicing their reading skills and working with words! This fun and engaging ocean-themed word building activity will make learning and practicing skills exciting all summer long.

This free printable word work activity is editable, making it the perfect summer activity to use at school or at home to practice a variety of words.

All you have to do is type in the words you want to practice on the blank slides page of the printable, print, and you’re ready to go! You can even prep several different sets of mats at one time. You can differentiate the mats by skill or level of difficulty. This will allow you to meet all of their needs and the skills you need them to work on.

Each small group of students can work at their level while still using the same activity as their peers. Plus, the directions are the same no matter what skill or level is shown, making it easy to use with students and allow them to do independently.

On each ocean animal word building mat, students will read, build, and write the word. With 3 opportunities to work with each word, they’ll be gaining a ton of great skill practice and will get more exposure to different sound and spelling patterns.

This activity is perfect for practicing any type of word you’re working on in your literacy lesson plans, such as: CVC words, CVCe words, CCVC words, sight words, spelling words, seasonal words, vocabulary words, color words, number words, and more!

With the large variety of words you can practice, these mats are perfect for students in preschool and kindergarten all the way through 3rd grade.

Free ocean theme word work activity for summer literacy centers.

Easy Prep Ocean Activity

In the summer, the last thing you want to do is spend hours prepping complicated activities. This ocean word building activity is so easy and quick to prep. You can spend more time teaching and serving your students then!

To get this activity ready for your students to use, simply type the words you want them to practice on page 4 of this printable literacy ocean themed pack. Print and laminate the word cards and the word building mats. You can slide the mats into write and wipe pockets instead of laminating.

Store the word cards and word building mats together in a large zip-top baggie or a labeled file folder or tote tray for easy grab-and-go access. Be sure to label them so you know which words are included and what level.

To play, each student will need a dry-erase marker and a set of letter manipulatives to use when building the words. I love to use magnetic letters, letter beads, letter tiles, letter snap cubes, etc.

The ocean word building mats come in color AND black and white ink so you can use it even if you don’t have access to color printing.

As mentioned, you can easily prep multiple versions of this activity with different words, skills, and levels of difficulty. Simply change out the words on page 4 of the printable each time.

Tip: save a named copy of each word list on your computer. This makes it easy to find what you’re looking for and will help you create a bank of summer word building activities to reuse.

Free editable ocean theme word work mats for centers, small group lessons and even to take home.

Setting up the Ocean Word Building Mats

Supplies needed:

  • Ocean word building mats
  • Word cards
  • Letter tiles OR other letter manipulative
  • Write and wipe pockets
  • Dry-erase markers


  1. Type the words onto the blank cards on page 4.
  2. Print the word building mats and word cards.
  3. Laminate the word cards.
  4. Cut the word cards apart.
  5. Laminate or slide the word building mats into write and wipe pockets.
  6. Gather letter manipulatives.
  7. Store the word cards in a zip-top baggie.
  8. Store the letter manipulatives, word mats, and word cards in a large zip-top baggie, file folder, or colorful tray.
Free printable ocean word work literacy activity.

Practicing with the Ocean Word Building Mats

It’s so simple for students to practice with the ocean word building mats. They’ll draw a word card and place it in the top space on the mat where it says “Read it.” Then, they’ll use their phonemic awareness or sight word recognition skills to read the word.

Next, they’ll build the word using the letter manipulative of your choice in the “Build it” box. You can also have your students choose their letter manipulative if you’d like.

Finally, the students will write the word using a dry-erase marker in the corresponding “Write it” space on the mat. 

Before moving on to the next word, they’ll read their word again, erase their writing, and discard the word card into the discard pile.

Free printable and editable ocean literacy activity.

Ways to Use this Summer Word Work Activity

With all of the words and levels of difficulty you can practice with this summer word work activity, you can differentiate and use it in many ways. Since the directions remain consistent, your students will be set up for success no matter how you use it.

You may have students working on sight words, CVC words, or alternating between different word lists each day to practice different literacy skills. No matter what skill or level they’re at, they’ll gain meaningful practice with this activity.

These ocean word building mats can be used for:

  • Morning work
  • Whole group practice
  • Summer literacy centers
  • Word work station
  • Leveled, small group practice
  • Independent practice
  • Early finisher activities
  • Summer centers
  • Partner practice
  • Assessment
  • Summer school activity
  • Distance learning
  • At home summer learning activity
Use these engaging fish theme word work mats for your literacy centers.

This ocean-themed word building activity is going to help your students have fun while brushing up on their skills all summer long. With all of the skills you can practice, they’ll be reading like rockstars by the time summer ends.

Click the button below to get the editable Ocean Word Building Mats so your students can have fun working with words all summer long!

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Here are some more ocean activities to check out!

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Editable Ocean Theme Word Work Digital Mats

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