Use name kits to help teach young children their name. They are a simple and easy tool that I love using every year!
Related: 15+ Name Activities for Preschool
Name Kits for Preschool Name Practice
I like to work a lot with students’ names when I’m teaching. Their names are incredibly important to the children, as are their friends’ names. If it’s meaningful to them, the kiddos are much more active and involved in the learning process!
Four and five year old children are learning how to write their names, so this is a logical offshoot of that.
At the beginning of the year, my students and I make these “name kits” to keep in their book boxes for the year. I include a few different items in each child’s name kit, and each can be tailored to the specific needs of individual children. These are perfect for preschool and kindergarten name practice, and of course homeschool!
Materials Needed for the Name Kits
You can make adjustments to the name kits based on what you have on-hand or what you’d rather include in them.
Here’s what we used:
- Sentence strips
- Magnetic letters that spell their names
- Small zipper baggies
- Name Books
- Small manila envelopes (6 inches x 9 inches)
Parts of the Name Practice Kit
Related: 10 More Preschool Name Activities
First, neatly write the child’s name on a sentence strip and laminate it. The student uses this as a reference for how his name should look. Laminating it helps it to last all year, and it allows the child to trace over my writing using a dry erase marker.
Next, make a name puzzle. This is basically the child’s name written on a sentence strip, laminated, and cut apart into individual letters. This allows the student to explore name practice by putting her name together in the correct manner.
The next “ingredient” is magnetic letters. I love to have the students pick these out themselves. These are the letters in his name, of course, and go into a baggie for the name kit. I find that snack-sized bags are large enough for most children’s names, but sandwich-sized would work well, too!
Magnetic letters are just a different take on the name puzzle. The letters are a bit more tactile, and they allow for use on magnetic easels/boards.
Lastly, the students also make a name book for inclusion in their name kits. These books are simple to make, but are very engaging to the kids! Their name is written on the cover, and then each letter of their name gets its own page in the book.
You can make the name books yourself or with your kids, or you can grab our printable version! They are entirely editable and customizable, and each letter gets its own fun picture for reference. Thanks to my friend Jamie of Play to Learn Preschool for making these with me!
Storing Our Name Practice Kits
To hold all the pieces of the name kits, I use a small manila envelope. I cut off the metal tab on the back, then run it through the laminator for added durability (this works with my school’s big laminator but doesn’t always work with a small home laminator).
Then I use scissors to gently cut through the laminate on the back of the envelope, thus opening it up. A simple, unlaminated, envelope would work just as well!
Don’t miss the free printable (found below) for a cover for the kit! It includes the words, “My Name Kit” and the child’s name. It’s completely editable and customizable.
I use the name kits as a fun way for teaching young children about their names, their friends’ names, letter names, and letter sounds. Do you use name kits with your students?
Additional Name Practice Activities with the Name Kit
There are so many opportunities for hands-on learning with the name kit!
You can pair the sentence strip name with kosher salt poured into a tray to make a sensory writing tray!
This is super easy to set up and a great way to practice early writing skills in preschool and kindergarten. It’s also another great way to practice the letters in their names.
Additionally, you can make a name practice sensory bin. Colorful dyed scented rice is fun to use if you have some on-hand, or plain works just as well.
Dump the rice (or corn or chickpeas) into a basket or bin. Then add the pieces of the name puzzle and the magnetic letters from the name kit. Add cups, scoops, tweezers, or other fun tools as desired.
Encourage the children to sift through the rice to find each of the letters in their names! Can they match the letters to the example on the sentence strip and put them in the right order? As they add letters underneath their name, talk about the letter names, sounds, and formation.
There are a ton of other ways to play with this sensory bin! Check out some additional ideas we explored when we used an Earth Day sensory bin for literacy practice.
Done-For-You Preschool Resources
Let Preschool Teacher 101 make your teaching life easier with fully fleshed out lesson plans, math activities, literacy plans, and even more.
Click on the images below for more information about each resource. Be sure to check out the membership options while you’re there.
Free Printable Name Card and Cover
Members of Fun-A-Day’s free email community can grab the name kit cover, as well as a name card/puzzle. They’re both editable so you can make a set for each of your students. Fill out the form below and get the printable sent to your email.
If you’re not a member, no worries. Add your information to the form to join, and you’ll get the printable as a welcome gift.
If you can’t see the above form, click here to access it.
Originally posted July 5, 2012. Updated to include video, new images, and a free printable.