Name Recognition Activity with Cutting Practice for kids

Mar 1, 2015

My baby is now 3 years old and this year is attending a 3 year-old preschool group, twice a week for 2.5 hour sessions (total of 5 hours per week). He is just loving the socialisation, play-based curriculum and the fact that it's practically like being at home, but instead of one activity at a time, he can race around from activity to activity doing whatever tickles his fancy at the time. 

It's no surprise that in a 2.5 hour session he finds the time to do rice play, painting, playdough, water-play, building, sand play, reading, pretend-play, cutting & pasting and a whole lot more!

One of the things that is important for him now that he is playing and learning independently outside of the house, is being able to recognise his own name. Each child at preschool has their own locker to put their bag and each has their name on it. As most children this age are pre-literate, they also include a photo of each child next to their name so that they can make the connection between their own face and the combination of letters that makes up their name. He also has things like drink bottles and hats that are now labeled with his name, so there is a lot of chance for exposure and it's something that he needs to be able to recognise.

Learning to recognise, read and write your own name is predominantly a matter of being exposed to it and having experiences with it, a number of times. Children are all different when it comes to how quickly they are able to learn something. Some children are able to have very few experiences with their name before they are able to recognise it for the word that it is, and some children will need to be exposed to it hundreds of times before they are able to have consolidated the learning. Most children sit somewhere in the middle of a bell curve graph of learning abilities and will pick up some things quicker or slower than others. We're all individuals.

So, in order to learn our name, we need to be exposed to it and have experiences with it. There are tons and tons of different ways that you can get children writing, reading and playing with their name. Here is one simple activity.

Materials: plain paper, coloured paper, markers, glue and scissors

Divide your paper up into however many sections you would like by drawing on it with a marker. These are the lines that your child is going to cut. You can use a ruler if you like but it's not essential to have completely straight lines.

Write a name in each section on the paper. Include a number of copies of your child's name and then other names to fill in the gaps. You might like to use names of your child's friends.

Have your child cut out all the names. Can they cut on the lines? What is the best way to cut them out? Assist as needed.

Now for the name challenge part. When all the names are cut out, have your child pick up each name individually and decide whether it is their name or a friend's name. Use this time to talk about the beginning letters and their sounds, the number of letters in a name, compare how they look, look for similarities and differences.

"Their name" gets stuck on their coloured paper and "their friend's name" goes on the side or in a little tub.

Our activity was finished when all of the names were sorted and all of his name were stuck on his paper. He proudly displayed his finished work in his bedroom.

Handy Tips

- Simplify this activity by starting with just 4 names on the paper. 3 of your child's name and 1 of another name and encourage cutting the paper into the 4 sections and finding which name is different.

- Extend this activity by:
  • Encouraging children to write the names in themselves or to trace over the names for some handwriting practice
  • Using more names that are similar to your child's name for a greater challenge. This will make them look closer at each individual letter that makes up their name.
  • Dividing the different names with curvy, zig-zag and other lines for a more difficult cutting challenge.

- Demonstrate and discuss particular skills if your child is new to these techniques. Such as how to hold the paper and move it or the scissors to achieve the desired cut.

- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it. Discuss the beginning letter and sound of each name as well as the subsequent letters to help with letter recognition.

More Activities for learning your name:

More cutting practice:

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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