Here’s a simple way for parents and teachers to encourage name writing practice and letter formation. Children will practice writing the letters in their name and later practice putting the letters in order to spell their name- perfect for preschoolers showing an interest in writing!
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Theo is now 3 1/2 years old is beginning to show an interest in writing his name. He’s still a bit intimidated by practicing letter formation on plain paper, so I came up with a way that provides more of a guide for him.
This technique gave him more confidence in practicing to write the letters in his name and was super easy to set up. And my favorite part- when your child is done writing, you can use the letters to practice spelling his/her name! (This post contains affiliate links.)
Name Writing Practice for Preschoolers
Directions for Name Writing Practice
1. You’ll first need to type your child’s name and print it out onto white cardstock. (You can use regular paper, but the cardstock is thicker and holds up better as your child is manipulating the letters.) You could also just write the letters yourself by hand.
Tips if you choose to type and print the letters:
Find a font on your word processing program that is an outline so your child can fill in each letter. You can play around with the size until you find one you like. (I downloaded this free font and set my font size to 650.)
If you’re having trouble finding an outline font you like and are using a Mac, you can try this (not sure how to do it on a PC):
- Find a font you like and type the letters in bold.
- Highlight the letters.
- Go to the format menu and select ‘font’.
- Select ‘text effects’ at the bottom.
- Change the text fill to white.
- Change the text line to black. (You can thicken the line by changing its weight.)
2. Set out some markers or crayons for your child to use. (I took out some Pip-Squeaks markers Theo hadn’t seen in a while to make the activity even more exciting!)
3. Invite your child to write each letter inside the bubble letters numerous times with different colors.
- Since Theo is a very beginning writer, I first modeled writing the letter on my own while he observed. I verbalized what I was doing. So, for instance, when I wrote the ‘e’, I said “Go across, then up and around.”
- After modeling the letter, I then helped him to write the letter by guiding his hand with mine.
- After the previous two steps, he was feeling confident enough to do it on his own.
- Pencil Grip: Theo has not yet mastered holding a pencil correctly for writing. Although I tried working with him on correct grip, it increased his stress and frustration when doing this activity. Because of this, I didn’t reinforce it for this particular activity.
4. After your child has finished filling in each letter many times, cut out the letters. (Or invite your child to cut them out if he/she is comfortable with cutting.)
5. Mix up the letters, and help your child put them in order to spell his/her name.
6. To make the name activity more of a game, hide each letter around the room. Your child can search for all of the letters before using them to spell his/her name. As children find the letters, it’s fun to hear them voice which letters are still needing to be found!
Remember: Don’t push your child to the point of frustration. It’s normal for the activity to be a bit challenging, but if your child is beginning to get frustrated, be sure to modify the activity. Some ways to modify the activity:
- Help your child trace the letters with his/her finger.
- Simply color in the bubble letters like a coloring page rather than writing letters within each bubble letter. You can still cut them out and use them to practice spelling your child’s name.
- Use the letters as a playdough mat. Roll up some playdough and place some onto each letter. Manipulate the playdough to look like each letter.
- Use paper clips (or any small part) to fill in each letter.
- Use Do a Dot Art Markers to fill in each letter.