I’m going to have that Taylor Swift lyric stuck in my head the entire time I write this post…
I wanted to share a few creative twists on teaching children how to write their names, but I might ruffle a few feathers with this post because the first thing I am going to say is: Kids learn how to write their name BEST by writing or tracing it.
Because forming letters is actually a muscle memory skill, not a memorization of the letter’s form. While it is fun to do stamping, or roll out play dough snakes and form them into letters, or do letter crafts (which we do plenty of), those activities are teaching recognition of the name or letters, but they aren’t actually teaching children how to write their names.
So, while I definitely still encourage you to try out all of those fun, hands-on ways to explore their names, keep in mind that writing is a skill that must be developed by actually writing, or at least tracing, letters.
1. Montessori Sand Tray
The Montessori Sand Tray is the first step to writing in Montessori. Normally, children are introduced one letter at a time, but I like this twist for teaching how to write your name.
2. Q-tip Tracing
This is a simple & easy way to incorporate craft time and learning to write your name. Write your child’s name for them and have them trace over the lines with a q-tip dipped in paint! You could use a paint brush, but I find the q-tip a bit easier to control and it’s less confusing for children to understand that this activity is different than free-form painting.
3. Gluing and Adding Texture
By tracing over their name with glue, then added a textural element – like sand or salt – and tracing over their design with their fingers, kids can make their own “sandpaper names” (similar to the Montessori sandpaper letters).
This method of writing their names will provide sensory feedback to develop a deep awareness as to the form of their names.
4. Moveable Alphabet
We used a Montessori moveable alphabet, but you could use alphabet magnets or even reading rods.
Help your child spell their name out with the letters, and then encourage them to try to write the words. Some of my kids tried to trace these letters, some traced the surface of them with their fingers, and some moved the letters closer as they were writing each letter.
If you can find a stencil that doesn’t have too many “breaks” in the letters that would interrupt the flow of your child’s pencil or marker, a stencil can be a great way for a child who lacks confidence in free form writing to get started with writing their name.
6. Chalkboard Painting
A twist on tracing, try writing your child’s name for them on a chalkboard and encourage them to “paint” over it with a wet paintbrush. It is incredibly satisfying, and they can then use the dark, wet outline from their paintbrush tracing to then trace with the chalk, and repeat the whole process over again!
Similar in the line of the stencil, writing your child’s name out for them in highlighter and then having them trace over it is a great way to practice writing their name, and it’s a big hit with my perfectionist kids. I use a highlighter so that the kids can see their own work more easily.
We love our Magnatab (read our review here), which is a magnetic tracing activity that is mess-free letter writing
What do you think? Which of these methods of teaching your child to write their name would you try? Any other suggestions?
This post is part of a series of blog posts on Name Recognition and Writing hosted by Preschool Powol Packets. Check out the other posts by clicking on the image below: