Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fun Ways to Teach Your Child how to Write their Name

The first step to teaching your child how to write is strengthening the small muscles in the hands and wrists that are used in handwriting. This process is often referred to as building fine motor skills. You can encourage fine motor development by having your child use art supplies like crayons, paints, markers, glue and scissors. Lacing activities, stringing beads and cheerios, playing with playdoh, scooping sand or rice, and activities like pouring and stirring are also great fine motor activities.

When you feel your child is physically ready to write, why not try some of these creative ways to write the letters of their name - Remember to keep it fun! Young children learn best when they are taught using a multi sensory approach, involving as many senses as possible. Try a few of these hands-on letter formation and name writing activities for beginning writers and your child will have all the skills she needs as a beginning writer.

  • Write the letters and ask your child to copy them.

  • Let your child practice writing on a dry erase board, chalk board or Magnadoodle.

  • Use special crayons and markers designed for use on windows and in the bath.

  • Make Alphabet Cookies using the letters of your child's name

  • Write your child's name with large letters on a piece of paper. Give your child a variety of dry pasta such as macaroni, shell pasta, wheels and alphabet pasta and a shallow dish of glue. Have him put glue on the pasta and place it along the lines of the letters of his name. Spray it with spraypaint when it is dry.

  • Have your child use fingerprints to trace her written name. Give your child a variety of finger paints and have her put her fingertips in the paint. Then she can do a succession of fingerprints along the lines of her name.

  • Using old magazines, go through the pictures and headlines with your child. Have him find and cut out the letters of his name. Also have him find and cut out pictures of objects that start with each letter of his name.

  • Put some shaving cream or whipped cream in a shallow pan or cookie sheet. Have your child trace the letters of her name in the dish using her fingers. Use sand, salt, flour or paint for a different effect. When your child is in a bubble bath or helping you to do the dishes, have her write her name with her finger in the soap suds.

  • Air Writing. Have your child write letters in the air first. These large muscle movements will help your child process what she is writing and make it more likely to stick. As she writes the letter, have her say the letter name or the directions for writing the letter. For example, for the letter T, she might say, “Start at the top, go straight down. Pick up your pencil and cross it.”

  • For a non-messy alternative to finger paint, put a bit of finger-paint inside zipper bag. Remove the air, seal the bag and double the seal with some masking or duct tape. Your child can practice tracing letters on the outside of the bag, manipulating the paint with no mess or cleanup!

  • Cut letters up with Play-Doh

  • Write your child's name on a piece of white paper using a white crayon. Watercolor the entire paper and their name will "magically" appear on their paper!

  • Line a box with plastic wrap and fill with soil ( a tissue box). Sprinkle grass seeds to spell your child's name. Keep them in a sunny spot, water, and watch them grow! Let your child trim the grass with scissors as the letters grow.

  • Print letters of their name onto card stock and have your child trace or color it, cut it out, and string it onto a necklace.

  • Sponge paint with the letters in your child's name. Encourage your child to say the letters as they stamp them on the paper. Repeat the letters several times during this activity. Very young children just make their first initial, older children stamp all the letters in their first name, and older children who have mastered their first names do their last names as well.

  • Have children cut out the letters in their names(we used our sponge paint letters). String them to a paper plate that has been cut in half and decorated.

  • Have your child cut several circles out of construction paper. On each circle, write one letter of the child's name. Mix up the circles and let your child practice spelling their names. Glue in place onto construction paper to create a caterpillar.

  • Write child's name on heavy cardboard or craft foam. Write the letters of child's name on clothespins. Store clothespins in a Zip lock bag for children to practice the letter order in their names.

  • Write the child's name in black marker on a piece of sentence strip and then staple a few sheets of tracing paper (cut to the same size) over top the of it. The children can see their name written in black marker under the tracing paper and can trace over it onto each sheet of paper.

  • Pre-program paper with each child's name. Cut apart names and have child glue letters back in order on a sentence strip.

  • Rainbow Tracing: I used my computer, set print color on grey, and printed in large print each child's name. Child traces over name several times using different colored markers or crayons.

  • Toss Name Plate Game: Tune( Muffin Man.) Do you see your name on the plate, your name on the plate, your name on the plate. If you see your name on the plate - pick it up. You're great!

  • Picture/Name Match: Match each child's picture to the printed name. Start with each child identifying their own name - then have them move into identifying and matching friend's names.

  • Pre- programmed your child's name using the computer with print set to 200 and decorate with crayons, color, glue, glitter, pasta, cereal, stickers, etc. They turn out really nice.

  • Tactile Names: Using fabric paint, paint your child's name on a felt strip. Your child can finger trace name, pencil rubbings, etc.

  • Bottle Cap Names: pre-program individual bottle caps with each letter of child's name. Place in zip lock baggie with child's name written on each baggie. Child spills out contents and arranges bottle caps to spell out name.

  • Have your child make either hand print, or footprint on a coloured piece of construction paper. Place a small picture of the child on the paper and write the child's name in large letters in the bottom center of the page. Then cover with clear contact paper and you have their own individual place mats.

  • Name tray puzzles are good fun. Each puzzle is individually made in the name of your choice. They have easy to grip handles and are a fun way for children to learn how to spell their names. They are also a great learning aid for teaching colours, letters and developing hand-eye coordination.


  1. I love the list! So many wonderful ideas...I teach Pre-K and we've been working at it for a few months using some of the same techniques but you have soo many more than I'm excited to try. Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Hi Centers and Circle Time thanks for the feedback. Have fun!

  3. Wow you really want us to get busy don't you! What a fabulous list. Nate is now writing all the names of the people in our family and beyond so I am going to extend recognition with some of your ideas. Maybe a memory/match game with the name printed on one and their photo on the other...hmmmm love love love the list you're a star

  4. Thank you for the comprehensive and well thought out list!

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  6. Thanks for so many great tips. I often see kids write their name and their parents' name on sand when we go to the beach. It's fun for them and it also helps them learn too.

    Liem from