I have been using these CVC puzzles for about eight years now. My students adore them (even some of the older ones!) and I love how they are kinesthetic. Here is the old version:
I usually start by giving each student one color that makes a simple word. Once they have decoded it we mix and match with the other students in the group. Sometimes the words are real and sometimes they are not, but it is a great decoding activity no matter what!
They work well for short vowel review, using just one vowel and changing beginning/ending. This is a great way to help students who are struggling with a vowel sound - it keeps their attention while they practice many different combinations!
They are also great rhyming tools. I have found that it really helps my students see how rhymes have the same ending sounds.
They help with focusing on beginning and endings too, for students that might be struggling with one of those concepts.
I love having them near me during Guided Reading groups too - they are easy to use at a moments notice when you have just a few extra minutes (we all know how every minute counts!)
Here is the updated version in colors!