Noah is three and a half and he started kinder (preschool) this year. He only goes for a couple of hours, once a week, but he loves it and thinks he is all kinds of grown up!
One thing that has become very important since starting kinder is his name.
“Does that say me?” he asks constantly.
They put your name on everything at kinder… on your locker, on the hook for your hand towel, on every painting and drawing and collage you do, it’s everywhere! Suddenly learning your name has become an important skill to master, so we’ve been playing with his name a little lately and have had lots of fun with a simple name card.
To start, I printed out his name in nice, big, clear letters on an A4 piece of paper and laminated it (you could use self-adhesive paper if you don’t have a laminator).
Here are three simple learning your name activities we’ve done with his name card to help him learn his name.
Drawing on your Name
This is a super easy activity to set up, but lots of fun and with lots of opportunities to learn to recognise his name, and even begin to write it. All you need is your name card, some whiteboard markers and something to wipe the marker off when you are done and want to start again.
Noah has fun drawing on and colouring in the letters in his name he is beginning to be interested in naming each letter, and sometimes trying to trace/write over the top of them in a beginning attempt to practice forming the letters in his name.
Your Name and Loose Parts
Using the name card as a pattern card, Noah has lots of fun arranging various small items along the lines of the letters that make up his name. Using fairy small items like beads, small gems, or small mosaic shapes will make it easier to keep to the lines.
He is learning that the capitol N ‘goes up and down’ and that the O is just like a circle.
Hidden Name Salt Tray
I popped Noah’s name card into the bottom of a small tub and covered it with coloured sand, then I asked him to find his name. You could also use sand, or even shaving cream to cover your name card.
He had lots of fun revealing one letter at a time, then covering them all up again, and even traced his fingers over the letters, a great way to begin to learn how to write them.
Because Noah is only three, and you’ll notice from the photos that he is still developing his pencil grasp, these activities are not about teaching him to form letters correctly and actually write his name. They are all about playing with his name to help him remember and recognise it.
A happy by-product of these play-based, name recognition, activities is the more he plays with his name, and the more interested in learning it he becomes, the more he is attempting to write his own name. At first they are just marks in the corner of his drawings, but he is now just beginning to try to make letter shapes and he is becoming interested in copying his name and trying to make the letters look right. These are all great pre-reading and pre-writing skills, but he has plenty of time and lots of play to develop them.
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Match magnetic letters to the letters on his card, team playdough with the card, tracing paper, another name card that is not laminated could be used for collage with little pieces of shiny paper. You could also print lots of little labels of his name that he can stick on artwork etc as a way of naming his work without having to write it all by himself. You could make them for all the children in your family and he can start to recognise which name is his (and all the others)
Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!
We have plans to make a matching game with the names and photos of all his siblings!
Natali Mckee says
I love working with the 3 and 4 year olds on their name. I haven’t tried the sand yet. I think the kids would love it. We tried doing cut pieces of paper on the letters to work on cutting practice as well.
Love it, he seems to be having a great time learning his name. We not at the name recognition yet, i think i will try out your card idea doing squares, circles and triangles and see what my little ones think. Thank you Kate
We had lots of fun with wavy lines and other patterns on a chalk board with loose parts… so many fun ways to play!
Kate Lloyd says
I read somewhere (?) that a child needs to see their name 400 times before they even begin to recognise it. These are fabulous ways to helping children do just that. Can’t wait for my little girl to give this a go. :)
Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky says
Awesome ideas, thanks!
Thank you for the Great ideas. Our students love to trace with wax strings or Crayola magic clay . However, we are concerned for the beads. At that age kids are curious and like to explore. Even under supervision we had experience of taking students to emergency to pull out the beads from their nose or ear.
Oh wax strings would be great fun with a name card!
If you are worried about the beads by all means, avoid them and use something else. You know your students and the level of risk you are willing to take better than anyone… just like I know my son well and know that he is not likely to do anything with the beads other than play with them, and since it is just me and him I am able to supervise closely, and am willing to take the risk… Of course use your common sense and make your own decision on this! Scraps of paper would work just as well as the beads.
It’s not using a name card but for my 4 year old, I cut out the letters of his name out of kitchen sponges so he can play with them in the bath. The letters stick to the side of the bath and every bath time, he likes to find the letters of his name, puts them on the side of the bath and spells it out.
We haven’t got a name card but I am doing one today and I thought of playdoh, rolling logs and shaping them to the letters. Thanks for the inspiration Kate :)
oh sponge letters are a fab idea!! They’d work just as well in the shower as we are still waiting for the bathroom with the bath to be built! LOL
Lisa Butler says
Great job and I’m so happy that you realize the importance of just learning to recognize his name and not stressing on writing it “perfectly.” I found another fun way is to write the child’s name with a yellow highlighter then they can trace over it. The kids love it.
Which font is that?