This week the Early Childhood Educational Team has compiled awesome activities for learning names in Preschool and Kindergarten! With just a few simple supplies, parents, childcare providers, or teachers in the classroom can offer name explorations through playful learning!
LEARNING NAMES IN PRESCHOOL with ALL 5 SENSES
Some of the first letters preschoolers begin to know are the letters in their own names! Exploring the letters in names through engaging ALL 5 SENSES is not only FUN play for preschoolers, but the sensory layers help encourage name and letter recognition skills.
In order to explore all 5 Senses, preschoolers need to know what primary body parts provide sensory information: Hands, Nose, Mouth, Ears, and Eyes. In many sensory activities, more than one body part will provide information. Activities that provide learning opportunities that engage more than one SENSE will help young kids retain information for longer periods of time. Come explore all the sensory ways to encourage name and letter recognition in Preschool and Kindergarten through playful learning!
DIY Name Rubbing Plates
- Liquid Glue
- Heavy Paper (cardstock or cardboard)
- Unwrapped Crayon
- White Paper
Invite the kids to “write” their names with liquid glue on a sheet of heavy paper. Glue bottles are great fine motor work, but younger children may need assistance (some bottles are easier than others to squeeze)! Allow the glue to dry overnight. When thoroughly dry, have the kids place a clean sheet of white paper over the name. Rub the raised letters with the side of an unwrapped crayon and watch the letters appear. Preschoolers think rubbing plates are a bit magical! The dried glue template can be re-used over and over for name and letter practice!
- Liquid Glue
- Dry Cornmeal
- Heavy Paper
- Small bowl and spoon
Have the kids use liquid glue to make the letters in their name. For younger children, write the letters of their name on a separate piece of paper and see if the kids can copy the letters with the liquid glue. Before the glue dries, the children can use a spoon to sprinkle cornmeal over the letters. Show the children how to dispose of any leftover cornmeal by holding the paper upright and shaking it gently into a tray or garbage can. Allow the cornmeal letters to dry overnight. Invite the kids to trace the cornmeal letters with their fingers for tactile letter and names play!
Disclosure: this post and others within this blog contain affiliate and/or distributor links. Please see the ABOUT US Page for full disclosures.
- Any spices the children might like (our kids used pumpkin pie spice, cloves, and nutmeg).
- Liquid Glue
- Heavy Paper
- Small bowls and spoons (one per spice used)
Have the kids write the letters of their name with liquid glue – assist younger children as necessary. Place a small amount of the chosen spices in small bowls and invite the children to carefully smell each one (supervise so the children do not inhale the spices, but gently smell them). Before the glue dries, have the kids sprinkle a different spice onto the various letters in their name. Dispose of any extra spices on the paper by lifting the paper and carefully shaking the excess into a tray or garbage can. Dry the spicy names thoroughly. When dry, invite the kids use their sense of smell to determine which spice was used on each letter. Do the children remember the scents from the smell alone? The sense of smell is powerful learning for children and it gives the room a delightful fragrance, too!
Sensory Scented Names
- Scented Markers
- White Paper
Scented Markers make letters and name writing a sensory exploration for kids! Our kids love the Mr. Sketch markers with all the various scents! For a playful learning game to try, make random letters on a page with the scented markers (include the letters that make up your child’s/student’s name). Invite the kids to circle all the letters that form their name and see if they can tell which scented marker was used to make the different letters. Once the children locate the letters in their name, see if they can write the letters in the correct name order with a marker of their choice (see photo above).
Sugar and Mirrors Name Writing Trays
- Granulated Sugar
- Acrylic Mirrors
- Writing tools (paintbrushes, Q-tips, craft sticks)
Allowing kids the opportunity to use various writing tools helps promote fine motor control for letter formation skills. We use sugar on mirrors for writing (and playing) as it’s a great visual activity for gaining important sensory information. Provide index cards with the names of each child for practice with letter formation and transferring skills!
For another way to play with visual transferring and sensory names, see Chalk Dust and Feather Writing in Preschool!
- Any flavor of pudding (homemade or commercial)
- Various Writing Tools (fingers, paintbrushes, small sponges, or Q-tips)
Beware: Messy Play!:) Pudding Painting and Writing is a hands-down favorite activity for our own kids. Pudding writing is a great way to encourage letter formations with a “taste-safe” base for kids that still mouth materials. Our Pre-K and Kindergarten kids still love to practice pudding writing with our preschoolers! Set out a variety of paintbrushes and small sponges and invite the kids to create the letters in their name! Be sure to take plenty of messy pictures as the kids will LOVE looking at themselves when the activity is finished! The pictures make a great class book idea for the kids to read the names of their peers throughout the year!
Cool Whip, Sprinkles, and Whipped Cream are also fun for doodles, painting, and taste-safe letter/name writing!
Learning Names: The Sense of HEARING in Preschool!
The sense of hearing is crucial when learning the names of peers in preschool! Kids love hearing their own name and those of the other children. Children learn to discriminate sounds and gain literacy skills when they have plenty of opportunities to enhance listening skills. Our own kids love playing with digital voice recorders! We have recorded parents at the beginning of the school year and played the game – Who Does That Parent Belong To? We also voice record our kids saying the names of their peers. We play the recorder back at another time to see if the kids know who is speaking by voice alone.
For a fun free voice recording app to try, see Voice Changer Plus by Arf Software, Inc. on iTunes for iPad and iPhone.
The Name Train Welcome Song
As our preschoolers come together for circle time in the morning, we sing the Name Train Song. It’s a simple song that calls each child by name to form a seated train on the floor. We choose the “caboose and engine” as part of our weekly classroom jobs list. The song goes like this:
Alan (student’s name) is here today, here today, here today.
Alan (student’s name) is here today, we’re glad to have you here.
As we sing each child’s name they sit in a line (one in front of the other) to form a train. As the last child (the engine) is called, we call out, “ARE YOU READY?” and “GO!” The children scoot forward on their bottoms yelling, “CHUGGA, CHUGGA, CHUGGA, CHUGGA, CHOO-CHOO!” It is one of our favorite name greeting songs to sing!
Learning Names using ALL 5 Senses will allow preschoolers opportunities to practice and play with names while encouraging the growth and development of important early learning skills!
For even MORE ways to play with ABC’s and names, check out our newest title published by Nuturestore UK! ABC’s and 123’s contains 40+ ideas for sensory learning with letters and numbers. It’s a MUST HAVE resource book for your home or classroom library!
The ABCs and 123s ebook is published and sold by Cathy James at NurtureStore.co.uk. Please direct any customer service queries regarding purchases of the ebook to [email protected] or refer to the NurtureStore FAQ
The 5 Senses Thematic Unit comes with 100’s of activities for playful learning. The Unit is an instant download with Literacy, Math, Science, Arts/Crafts, Pretend Play, and Gross Motor ideas for home, childcare, or the classroom.
For MORE great NAME ACTIVITIES, please visit some of the articles from the dedicated Early Childhood Education Team below:
Erase Me Rhyming Activity via Growing Book by Book
Spell Your Name Sensory Bin via Mom Inspired Life
All About Me Early Writing Activity via The Educators’ Spin On It
All About Me Booklet via Tiny Tots Adventures
Scratch and Sniff Names via Fun-A-Day
Fun Kindergarten Math Activities Using Their Names via Capri + 3
All About Me Math Race via Still Playing School
DIY My Name Puzzle Printable Template via Learning 2 Walk
Name Recognition Snack via Munchkins and Moms
Build my name via Rainy Day Mum
All About Me DIY Puzzles for Preschoolers via Life Over C’s