Name activities are super important to complete with kindergarten students at the beginning of the year. Not only do name practice activities build early writing skills, but they are a great way to introduce classroom routines to students at the beginning of the school year too.
There are loads of easy ways to practise writing names, so here are just a few great ideas and name writing practice activities that kindergarten teachers may like to use in the first few weeks of school. If you are lucky enough to have your class list before the start of the school year, you can get many of these activities prepped ahead of time for your little learners!
Enlarged Name Tracing Cards
One of the first things that I do is print each of my students' names in a large font size (I use NSW Foundation Print). I print the name cards on thick card to reduce laminating. I then provide students with half a blank exercise book (I’ve included the exact books I use) or a cheap notepad- anything with thin pages.
The kids can then place the name card underneath a page, and trace their first names over and over and over again! They can use different colours or rainbow colours- I don’t mind! I just want to get them practising their name. In particular, I want them to practise only using uppercase letters at the start and lowercase letters for the rest. For an extra extension, add a student's last name too.
There are loads of different ways to use name worksheets, and they can be a great activity for the first day of school. Name worksheets make a great activity to reinforce the order of the letters in your name, the number of letters in your name, the use of capital letters as the first letter, and also reinforce automatic name recognition.
Here are a few first name worksheets that I have used over the years. They include:
- Using a different writing utensil to write your own name on each line
- Name puzzles - put the letters of your name in the correct order
- Read, make and write your name
You can find these name worksheets at Mrs Learning Bee – they are editable with all Australian state fonts.
Coloured Square Name Crafts
This is a fun name craft idea which can build fine motor skills and also create a great display for your classroom bulletin board - you could also add students' pictures for the display as well.
Write student first names with lead pencil on black paper. Students stick squares of different colour paper on top of each of the letters of their name to create a name artwork. For children with longer names, they might need to use a larger piece of paper.
Write or type each child's name in large print and they then trace over each letter of their name with cotton tips and paint. As an extension, they could also have a go at dotting one of their friends' names too.
Similar to above, but students use pins to prick the individual letters in their name. This can be another fine motor activity or used to set up literacy rotation expectations.
These were a craft from Stay Classy Classrooms that we did a few years ago- they really brightened up our classroom welcome space! You just need to type out each of your student names and print them out ready for the kids to cut and glue together!
Name Tracing Booklets
I make up some little booklets or name folders with pages like these for each of my kids, and use these as a fast finisher activity or for morning work. The name book contains arrows to show the kids how to form their names, names to trace, and then some simple number formation practice too. Not only do these encourage proper letter formation, but they can be a great way to encourage the use of correct pencil grip. The kids have these in their chair bags and can do them as a fast finisher activity.
You can download this free editable name tracing worksheet from Mrs Learning Bee- it is one of my Transition to School freebies. You will need to add student names yourself with your own fonts.
Alternatively, children could place in write and wipe mats, and use dry-erase markers to write their names.
Other fine motor activities
There are loads of name writing practice ideas which can also double up as fine motor skills practice! Here are a few suggestions:
- Chalk writing - students could write their name on a chalk board or on outside surfaces using sidewalk chalk
- Salt Tray - place the salt in a sensory bin. Students will love the sensory feel of tracing their name in the salt. You could also do this with sand or rice.
- Pipe Cleaners - students could manipulate different pipe cleaners into each of the letters of the name
- Shaving cream - students will have so much fun writing their name with shaving cream!
- Play dough - another fun idea. You could create a student playdough name mat (download this free version from Mrs Learning Bee).
Name Building Activities
There are lots of fun ways for young learners to build their names. Some examples could include:
- Magnetic letters
- Letter beads
- Unifix cubes with letters
- Sensory stones
Name Writing Activities
Another name writing activity could be to encourage students to explore writing their names in different styles. Some examples could include:
- Bubble letters
- Rainbow writing
- Writing with their non-dominant hand
- Writing with a dry-erase marker on a whiteboard
Letter Recognition Games
Whilst letter recognition is an important early phonics skill, letter recognition games can also be a fun way to reinforce letter names for young children. One example could be these uppercase/lowercase letter rainbows.
Whilst a writing center will often include simple decodable words and high-frequency words (sight words) which can be used with a sentence strip, you could also include name cards with student names. Here are some examples of my Writing Station.
Look at the difference a year can make
I outline this activity in more detail here. But essentially, this is my favorite way to track student growth from the beginning to the end of Kindergarten. Students complete the first half at the start of the school year, and the second half at the end of the school year. There are lots of different skills that you can track growth in e.g. colouring in skills, writing skills, drawing skills. But you can also record how students write the NAME at the start of the Kindergarten, and then record how they write their name at the end of Kindergarten. Students will love seeing their progress when it comes to writing their name!
These templates are available at Mrs Learning Bee - they include editable versions so that you can adapt the wording.
Looking for more? Download my FREE Kindergarten Guide
This free Handbook is your ultimate resource for the Start of Kindergarten. Packed with over 60 pages of ideas and suggestions, it equips kindergarten teachers with everything they need to prepare for those crucial first few weeks of Kindergarten. Get ready to dive into a treasure trove of tips, ideas and activities that will set you up for success from day one.
If you'd like to take a closer look, this FREE handbook includes:
- SECTION 1: First Day Activities
- SECTION 2: Fine Motor Activities
- SECTION 3: Colour Activities
- SECTION 4: Name Activities
- SECTION 5: Literacy Activities (including a list of recommended books)
- SECTION 6: Numeracy Activities
- SECTION 7: Establishing Expectations & Classroom Routines (including a list of recommended books)
- SECTION 8: Simple Art and Craft ideas
- SECTION 9: Well-being
- SECTION 10: Sample timetable for creating your lesson plans
There are loads of freebies included throughout the handbook too. Download your free copy today.