Pre-schoolers get so excited about recognizing and writing their names, and rightly so! Their name is often the first written word that they begin to recognize, and the letters in names form the “hooks” that children need to recognize all the other letters. Letter and name recognition for pre-schoolers come way before actually writing their names, so dive right in and have fun as you help your little one get to grips with their most important word- their name!
1. Sensory Writing
Little ones learn best when all of their senses are engaged! Involving multi-sensory activities in early name activities helps them to fully embed everything they need to know about writing their names, from the shape of the word to the formation of the individual letters and how those letters sound.
Learn more: Empowered Parents
2. Building Blocks
Get your pre-schooler to build their name using blocks before you get them to write it out. Write the sounds on bricks (Duplo bricks are great), and help them to recognize each sound and the order that they go in to build their name. This activity is great for segmenting and blending words.
Learn more: Frugal Fun 4 Boys
3. Name Puzzles
Name puzzles are another great way of helping your kid to learn how to build their name. They won’t be able to write their names before they can read them, so don’t miss out on the puzzles and name-building fun! Cut them into any shape you like to keep the activity appealing.
Learn more: Primary Delight Teaching
4. Apple Name Craft
This is a fun activity your students will love to complete, especially around Fall! This activity helps kids recognize individual letters before they sequence the letters to spell out their names. Their learning is then extended by getting them to write it out in print or cursive, using the built name for support.
Learn more: The Primary Parade
5. Name Walking
This great activity helps kids to learn how to write their names by using their large muscles first! It also helps develop their coordination, especially if you write their names out for them to “walk” on. Keep it fun by asking them to hop or jump their names instead!
Learn more: Empowered Parents
6. Name Trains
Name trains are another awesome way of helping kids recognize their names’ letters. The name train can be extended by asking the kids to write out the sounds on each carriage before they build the train. Challenge confident kiddos by adding in extra letters they might not need.
Learn more: Teachers Mag.com
7. Beaded Names
This activity is great for helping older pre-schoolers develop their fine motor control while also helping them deepen their understanding of the letters and sounds that make up their names. You can increase the challenge by asking them to make a color pattern too!
Learn more: Powerful Mothering
8. Lolly Stick Names
This super simple activity is a great way of engaging younger or more reluctant kids and getting them to build their names. In drawing a picture of a favorite item, you can turn the activity into a picture jigsaw, gently drawing their attention to their name as they play.
Learn more: Frugal Fun 4 Boys
9. Name Stamps
This activity helps children explore the written form of their own name and enables them to learn more about the letters’ position, order, and pattern. It is important here not to be too concerned about how accurate they are and just let them have fun and enjoy the experience!
Learn more: How We Montessori
10. Playdough Names
Little ones learn to recognize their own name a long time before they start to write it. Let them have fun recreating the shapes of the letters with playdough! This multi-sensory approach helps them deepen their understanding of the shapes and patterns the letters in their names make.
Learn more: Growing Book by Book
11. Road Names
Make a board using recycled boxes, add some black strips for the road and let your pre-schooler start learning how to trace their name by pushing toy cars. With your help, they’ll start to associate those shapes with the sounds they make. Whole-body learning helps to internalize the patterns they see.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy
12. Spell Your Name Game
This is a great way of encouraging reluctant pre-schoolers to get involved with learning to recognize the letters in their names. Write out their name, invest in some letter dice and have them cover the letters in their name with pom-poms as they appear with each roll of the dice.
Learn more: No Time for Flashcards
13. Clothespin Name Game
This activity is great as it can be done in different ways to suit your child’s needs. You could write out their names and have them match the clothespin to the letter, or use a blank lolly stick and have them independently sequence the clothespins.
Learn more: School Time Snippets
14. Q-Tip Paint Names
Providing a mix of tools is a fabulous way of enabling your pre-schooler to develop their fine and gross motor control as they learn to manipulate the different tools. Q-tips are a great way to help them develop that pincer grip which is essential for writing later on.
Learn more: Pocket of Preschool
15. Hidden Name Art
This is a fun activity, especially if you don’t let on about the surprise! This activity is best for pre-schoolers who already recognize their names. Write out their name, on a white piece of paper, with a white wax crayon. Let them paint over the sheet until their name appears.
Learn more: Fantastic Fun and Learning
16. Name Collage
Tear up strips of paper, write their name on a separate sheet and help them collage their pieces onto the letters. Collage is a great way of developing a pincer grip, and it’s an easy activity to personalize as you can provide collage materials in sizes, shapes, and textures that are appropriate for them.
Learn more: Skip to My Lou
17. Name Caterpillars
This activity is great for developing kids’ fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, visual perception skills, and strength! Write out the letters on separate shapes and have the learners sequence the shapes to spell their names. They can then stand their caterpillar creations up using pegs for their legs.
Learn more: The Inspired Treehouse
18. Cardboard Roll Letter Matching
Develop learners’ fine motor and visual perception skills as they peel and match the stickers in this fun activity! Make it easier or harder by adjusting the number of letters you write on the roll or by the number of stickers you provide. Write their name out for additional support.
Learn more: Taming Little Monsters
19. Name Bags
These name bags are a great grab-and-go activity and can easily be adjusted in terms of difficulty in that you provide all the letters of their name written out on the bag, none at all, or just some so that they have to guess what the missing letters are.
Learn more: CKIS Loski
20. Photo Names
This is an adorable take on name puzzles. Print the class names out with a photo of each child, and watch them race to piece together their names! Write out as individual letters or as diagraphs/trigraphs for additional support or challenge. It encourages bilateral movement and pincer grip, both of which are essential for writing.
Learn more: Along Came the Bird
21. Alphabet Squish
Alphabet squish is a great sensory activity for little ones learning their letters! It’s a quick activity to set up and complete, but it can easily be adjusted in terms of difficulty. Make fewer “planets” to squish for younger learners and more for kiddos who are more familiar with their names.
Learn more: I Can Teach My Child
22. Letter Rocks
Incorporate letter recognition with some gorgeous small-world play activities! Make it easier by only including the letters in their names, or make it harder by including additional letters and sending your pre-schooler on a letter hunt to build their names. It’s a great sensory activity with lots of opportunities for discussion.
Learn more: Early Learning Ideas
23. Pool Noodle Name Towers
Kids love to build towers, so get them to recognize and sequence their names whilst they build! This awesome activity also assists with fine and gross motor skills, fist grip, bilateral movement, and visual discrimination.
Learn more: The Educators’ Spin On It
24. Name Rainbows
This activity can easily be adjusted to meet the needs of your pre-schooler. Provide pre-written strips if they are at the recognition stage, blank strips if they can write the letters themselves, or hide the letters they need amongst letters they don’t to turn it into an awesome treasure hunt.
Learn more: We Are Teachers
25. Alphabet Soup
This is so much fun! Your little ones practice their bilateral movement, visual discrimination, and hand-eye coordination as they fish the letters they need out of the bowl before working out where in their name those letters go. Make it easier by providing their name ready-written for them to “copy.”
Learn more: We Are Teachers