Typically, all kindergartners will arrive on the first day of school knowing at least their first name. Some of them know how to spell it and a few can write it, too. Planning a lot of different name writing activities for kindergarten to help them recognize, read and write their name is essential during the first days and weeks of school.
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Name Writing Activities for Kindergarten
Integrating as many different skills into these activities as possible-from counting and sorting to building muscle memory and fine motor skills- is a great way to see where your students are at with their skills and offer more practice. These activities are a gentle way to start the school year and students will love them because they are meaningful (after all, our names are one of the first things we own), hands-on, and fun.
These activities would be great during independent stations, centers, or small group time. Rotate through the name writing activities each day so students can try out every station. Teacher Tip: Provide each student with a laminated index card with their name written on it to serve as a model.
#1: Stamp It
Students will love this activity because it uses play dough! Have students use plastic letter stampers to form their name in play dough. Teach them how to use the palms of their hands (or a rolling pin, if you have one) to flatten the play dough before they begin stamping. You can find my favorite uppercase letter stamps and lowercase letter stamps on Amazon.
Provide a cookie sheet or placemat as a work area to make clean up a snap. This activity helps them build fine motor strength as well.
#2: Build It
Set up a station with a collection of colored craft sticks, pipe cleaners, or wikki stix. Model how to use the sticks to form the letters in your name. Show them how to make curvy letters like C and D.
To take this activity up a notch, you can show students how to lay out the letters in a crossword-style layout. For example: spell the name TOM horizontally. Then, use the T to spell the name vertically and build off the M to spell the name horizontally again.
#3: Stick It
Give students a sheet of card stock paper, either white or colored. Have them write their name in large letters, big enough to fill the page. If needed, you can write their names and have them trace over them. Next, show them how to use a glue stick to trace their name, one letter at a time. Finally, give them a strand of yarn (I like to use the fat, fluffy kind) to apply to the gluey letters.
As a bonus, this activity will help students practice using glue sticks and going over the proper way to use them. The finished product is a fun, name craft! You can hang them in your classroom or hallway to give students a sense of pride!
#4: Spell It.
For this station, you will need a large bucket of letter blocks. Let your students search through the bucket for the letters in their name. Their challenge is to see how many times they can spell their name out with the blocks they have found. Once they cannot spell their name anymore, you can encourage them to help a friend look for the letters in their name.
#5: Count It
Using a ten frame is a great way for kids to not only learn the letters of their name, but to work on number sense. Show students how to use the boxes of a ten frame to spell out their name. Once they have their name written, have them point to each letter and count up how many letters are in their name. Have them write that number in the margin of their ten frame.
Next, have them count the letters again, this time placing a plastic math cube or mini eraser on top of each letter as they count. This simple technique incorporates one-to-one correspondence.
#6: Make It Colorful
There are a couple of different ways to create rainbow names. Students can write their name using a different colored marker or crayon for each letter. Another way to do this is to have them write their name in one color, then trace around each letter, forming a bubble letter, with a different color. Then trace it again, a little bit bigger this time, with a different color. Show them how to trace closely so they can fit many colors into their rainbow name.
#7: String It
This activity requires plastic letter beads and pipe cleaners or string. Cut the pipe cleaners or string, if needed, into 6-12 inch strips. Put out a bowl of alphabet beads. First, students will search for the letters in their name. They can lay out the beads in front of them as they find them. Then they can string the beads, in the proper order, onto the cording or string to make necklaces, bracelets or bookmarks. You might need to help them tie the knots for their creations. This is awesome fine motor practice!
Additionally, students can use name writing mats in which they will build their name with magnetic letters, string their name together using alphabet beads, and build it using play dough.
#8: Roll It Out
This is another fun name writing activity for kindergarten using play dough! Teach students how to roll play dough into “snakes”. Show them how to make them long and skinny, as opposed to short and fat. Model how to use the play dough “snakes” to form the letters in their name. Do this activity on a cookie sheet or placemat for easy clean up.
#9: Dish It Up
This is a super fun activity for students and incorporates sensory materials. Stock up on pasta noodles next time you see them on sale. Macaroni and penne noodles work particularly well for this activity. Show students how to use the noodles to spell their names, combining curves and straight lines to form the letters. You might also want to have orzo or dried beans to use for dotting the i’s. You can even dye the pasta to make it colorful!
#10: Collage It
Collect magazines from around your house or ask families to send in (appropriate) used magazines for this activity. Show students how to be letter detectives and search through magazines to find the letters in their name. Once they find a letter, they can cut it out and set it aside until they have all the letters. Once they have them all, they can glue them onto an index card or piece of card stock. This name writing activity exposes students to different forms of text and environmental print.
#11: Dot It
Provide students with a piece of construction paper. Have them write their name large on the paper. For longer names, you’ll want to use extra large pieces of construction paper, cut in half length wise. Then have them use a bingo dabber to trace each letter with dots. They can use a different color for each letter or for each line. To learn more about using bingo dabbers in the classroom, check out this blog post!
#12: Piece It Together
Let students practice spelling their names by creating colorful mosaics. Created a name card for each student and laminate it. Have a supply of tiny items such as pom-poms, mini erasers, dried beans, etc., available. Students will spell their name out, laying the mosaic pieces on top of each letter on the laminated card with their name written on it. This activity is fun because students can build and dump their names in many different ways. They get to be creative and express themselves with this name writing activity.
#13: Magnetize It
For this activity, you will need alphabet magnets. You can often buy them in large tubs, such as these magnetic letters. Let students explore in the container to find the letters in their name. Give them a cookie sheet to stick the magnets on to practice spelling their name. They can also stick the letters to a magnetic whiteboard.
14: Spin It
Adding a spinner game to your name writing stations is engaging for kids and incorporates fine motor skills. For this activity, students will spin the spinner or use a pencil and paperclip to make a spinner. Or use pre-made plastic spinners from Amazon – I have these and LOVE them. They will identify the color that the spinner landed on and write their name in that color. You can check out this activity here!
The more opportunities you give students to practice writing their names, the better! Use these ideas to change up your stations often to keep the activity fresh and allow students to try each station.
For fast finishers, you can have supplies available for students to practice writing their names using small dry erase boards and markers, chalkboards and chalk, or paper and markers, pencils, or crayons. If the weather is nice, head outside and practice name writing with sidewalk chalk. Kids love that!
Be sure to set aside some of your students’ name creations to send home. They’ll be so proud to show their families the works of art that they’ve made while practicing their names. But it’s also a good idea to keep some activities at school and have students complete them throughout the year to see how they are improving.
Do you have awesome name writing activities for kindergarten that you use each year? Share them with me!