Learning to write your name: Fun activities and tips
by Krystal Warburton, from Sweet Elephants (retailers of exceptional educational games for kids)
Before children should be expected to write their own names they need to establish several print concepts.
- Can my child recognise his name on items?
- Can my child distinguish between most if not all letters?
- Does my child work from left to right (or right to left in some cultures)?
- Does my child have good fine-motor skills (control over small muscles) in order to manipulate a pencil?
- Is my child interested in learning to write his own name?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then your child is ready. If not, working on some name recognition activities will help make the process a little easier and still keep the fun ball rolling.
Concepts to consider when learning to write your name
Unlearning incorrect habits is a nightmare. A large percentage of Australians are known to have poor posture. It takes on average 12 months of consistent thought and exercises to reteach your body to hold itself correctly. It seems so much easier to learn the skill correctly in the first place right? The same applies for writing.
Here is what you must bear in mind:
- Correct position of the body
- Correct pencil grip
- Correct letter formation. For instance, handwriting taught in Victoria is different to New South Wales. Be selective with the materials you purchase. I highly suggest downloading your state’s font and making resources where possible.
- Names are proper nouns therefore the initial letter is an uppercase letter whilst the remaining letters are lowercase.
- Employ the senses and trace letters with your finger using sandpaper letters or write them on gel bags, sand, salt or shaving cream trays.
Use different colour markers to create a rainbow name.
Print, laminate/place inside a clear pocket sleeve your child’s name and use a variety of materials such as dot markers, buttons, beans, playdough, Cheerios and string to trace the letters.
Pin prick the letters to form a stain-glass decoration. Try this with pictures too! The final product is fabulous and great for fine-motor skills! Tape a template on top of black paper. Make holes along the lines and remove the template when finished.
Stamp the letters with stampers and trace.
Stamp the letters in sequence in Play Dough or clay and use loose parts to trace the letters.
Create a themed name and complete the course.
Design a name collage using a variety of scraps from home or trinkets on a nature walk.
Produce a name explosion by writing your child’s name in bicarbonate soda and have them trace the name with vinegar. Always a favourite!
ABC Reading Eggs “Eggy Alphabet”tracing app.
Step 2: Going it alone
The time has come to combine several skills to achieve one very special outcome; writing one’s name. Your child is now fully aware of directionality, the appropriate posture for writing and correct letter formation.
Don’t be surprised to find your child’s name everywhere!
Encourage your child to explore with writing with different mediums (Spielgaben Blocks, letter blocks, bath
paint, sticks, chalk, paint, pastels, water, pencils and pens).
Remember it is perfectly normal for children to mirror letters from time to time in the early stages, so there is no need to panic if this occurs. Just sit back and be super proud.
What is your favourite trick or activity for learning to write your name?