These name writing practice ideas are easy to work into the classroom or therapy room for daily practice!
When should Kids learn to write their name?
During the preschool years, kids move through a progression of prewriting and early writing skills, including tracing and imitating lines and shapes. As they become more independent and accurate with these prewriting skills, they begin to learn how to trace, imitate, and copy the letters of their name.
When they move into kindergarten, kids should become proficient with writing their names independently. We see this skill repeated again and again when kids write their names on top of every paper and on every craft they make to take home to show mom and dad!
Skills Kids Need to Write Their Name
As with most skills we address in occupational and physical therapy, when we think about kids writing their names, we can break things down into smaller components. Practicing each of these steps in a progression is a great way to support kids as they learn to write their name.
1 || Letter Identification and Recognition
Kids need to be able to identify and recognize all of the letters of their name as a foundation skill for writing their names.
2 || Name Identification and Recognition
Next, kids need to be able to identify and recognize the chunk of letters together than make up their name!
3 || Letter Sequencing
In addition to recognizing the letters of their name, kids need to know the order of the letters to form their name.
4 || Tracing
Once these early recognition skills are in place, we start working with kids on tracing their names. There are lots of ideas below for this skill!
5 || Imitating and Copying
When kids are comfortable with tracing their names, we move on to imitating the letters after a demonstration and then copying the letters from a model.
6 || Writing Name Independently
Finally, kids are able to write their names independently without a model.
Preschool Writing Activities: Name Writing
Does reading all of the skills above make it seem like name writing is an especially complicated skill? Don’t worry! We’ve got lots of fun ways to break the skills down and give kids much-needed practice with their names!
1 || Name Recognition Activity
Write the child’s name several times in different places all across the piece of paper. Now, mix in several other names in different places on the piece of paper (e.g. names of family members or friends). Depending on the child’s age and ability level, include more or fewer names on the piece of paper. Have the child play “Name Hide & Seek” – finding and circling their name every time they see it on the page and drawing an X over the names that are not their name.
In order to increase the challenge – use only the child’s name as you’re creating the Hide & Seek page, but in some places, spell their name wrong or omit a letter or two. Can they find and circle the places on the page where their name is spelled correctly?
2 || Name Sequencing Car Activity
Gather up some toy cars. Write the letters of the child’s name on a set of stickers (one letter per sticker). Place one sticker on the top of each of your toy cars.
On a piece of paper, draw lines to create one “parking space” for each of the letters of the child’s name. Write the letters in order in each space. Scatter the cars around the floor or table and have your child drive the cars into the correct parking spaces in order from left to right to match the stickers on the cars to the letters written in the parking spaces.
Repeat this several times – you can create ramps and tunnels and other obstacles for your cars to keep things interesting!
3 || Letter recognition
One of our favorite name activities for kids! Try this name activity using the book Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow. This is a great way to build recognition of letters and names!
4 || Rainbow Writing
A classic name writing activity! Write the child’s name (or have them write it themselves) in black ink on a piece of paper. Then, have them trace over their name repeatedly using every color of the rainbow!
5 || Wikki Stix Name Practice
This is one of our all-time favorite ideas for working on tracing your name! Use Wikki Stix to create the outline of the child’s name (like raised bubble letters). Have the child practice rainbow writing their name inside the bubble letters.
6 || Name Caterpillar
We love this fun name craft for kids! It’s a great way to work on a lot of skills at once – bilateral coordination, hand strength, and name sequencing!
7 || Spell Your Name Hopscotch
8 || Shaving Cream
Another tried and true favorite! Kids love shaving cream sensory play ideas. Having kids write their names in shaving cream is a fun way to practice!
9 || Pompom Bag
Have you tried our free printable pompom bags? Use this same idea to create a pompom bag for kids’ names! Print the child’s name on a piece of paper (laminate if desired). Slide the page into a Ziplock freezer bag. Add a craft pompom, squeeze air out of the bag and seal it shut. Have kids use their finger to slide the craft pompom along the lines printed on the paper.
10 || Bubble Letter Tracing
This is the technique that we use for almost all of our preschoolers at The Treehouse who are working on tracing and writing their names. We simply write the child’s name in large bubble letters and have them trace inside each letter. You can also add starting points by drawing dots inside each letter showing the child where to start forming each one. This technique gives kids a larger “road” to trace inside and seems to help kids understand what to do.
11 || Name Tape Collage
We love our tape collage pages for building hand strength. Try this activity to work on practicing kids’ names too! Write the child’s name (or have them write it themselves). Then, tear lots of small pieces of colorful tape and place them all over the table or other surface. Have kids peel up the pieces of tape and cover the lines of their names with the tape! Check the example out here: Collage Art With Tape.
12 || Name Paper Mosaic
Similar to the idea above, this is a great activity to work in some scissor practice too! Have kids snip lots of small pieces of colorful paper. Then, have them glue the small pieces onto the letters of their names to create a mosaic!
13 || Magnet Name Practice
Pick out the alphabet magnets to spell the child’s name. Place them in the correct order on the magnetic surface and then use the dry erase marker to trace around each letter, creating an outline.
Remove the magnets and mix the letters up on the table. Have the child sequence their name from left to right, selecting the correct letter from the table and placing it on the outline of the letter on the magnetic surface. Then, erase the outlines of the letters and have the child arrange the magnets in the correct order to spell their name on the magnetic surface independently.
14 || Name Puzzle
Write the child’s name on a piece of cardboard or card stock. Cut the letters apart, using different types of lines (zigzag, curved, etc.). Mix up the letters and have the child put their name puzzle back together in the correct order!
15 || Sensory Bins
Try filling a tray with sand or dry rice or beans. Have the child use their finger to write their name in the sensory bin! You can also place a card with the child’s name on it nearby so they can see how to form each letter.
Other Name Writing Practice
Looking for another great way to work in some daily name writing practice? Try this name folder from Play to Learn Preschool!
Check out these name tracing worksheets from Create Printables!
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