Teaching Preschoolers to write their name can be a super fun activity. In fact, at our preschool we use a variety of ways to keep children excited about name writing. The first stage of learning names occurs when children start to recognize them! Young children begin to recognize the shape of their initial letter and often identify that first letter as “MY NAME!”
To teach a 3 or 4 year-old how to write their name, you need to first understand that children’s names are very special to them. Yet, when a preschooler looks at a written name, the letters look like pictures to them. At this age there is not an ability to understand the letters as separate pictures that need to be sequenced. Playing name writing can be a more effective way to teach them how to write their name. With practice, children begin to understand that the letters that first looked like a picture to them, come in a sequence to create their special name.
1. My favorite name game is called "Name Pinching". Not only do the clothespins build hand strength, but pinning matching letters to a child's name helps them to understand the letter sequence of their name.
2. Let children use their imagination to decorate their name. You can use stickers, cut-outs, foam shapes, just about anything to make writing a child's name memorable and colorful!
3. Play a game of matching with magnetic letters and the child's name in written form. Ask your child to match the correct letter to each letter in his or her name. Place the name sheet and letters on a cookie sheet, to have several minutes of magnetic fun.
4. Create a magical game using resist. Print the child's name on white paper using a white wax crayon. Allow your child to use water colors to reveal each magical letter of their name! Shh! Play a top secret super cool kid game with this wax copy of invisible ink!
5. You can make a name game from just about any household item. Create a name game using water or pop bottle caps. Print one letter of your child's name on each cap. Encourage your child to place the caps in the right sequence to spell their name.
6. Don't let a little mess frighten you. Children love to write their names in a variety of sensory substances such as whipped cream, shaving cream, salt, sugar even sand! If it's slippery and moves around, it will keep your child's attention long enough to learn how to write every letter in their name.
Learning about names is an essential part of learning about letters and literacy in preschool. Practice recognizing, spelling and writing those names in a variety of fun and playful ways!