Name Recognition & Writing

Name Recognition & Writing

Name writing and recognition is something we work on a lot. As not all of the children are developmentally ready to actually write their names in my class, we do all sorts of activities to help them recognise what their names and the letters ‘look’ like.

There are lots of ideas online for ways to work on name recognition, and I thought I’d gather together some of the ways we’ve done it over the years (you may have seen some of these pictures before in previous blog posts)…



The children find their name and place it in the ‘here’ basket when they arrive.

Name Stones & Shells 

Name stones - from Rachel (",)


Names on shells from Rachel (",)

Question of the Day

We’ve also had a ‘question of the day’ as a way of self-registering – a question with a yes/no answer is displayed and they put their name in either the yes or no pot. This is a great way to introduce the idea of ‘voting’ too…

Answering yes or no questions - from Rachel (",)


Using Fingers

… in sand / salt / glitter / rice / shaving foam / on a drawing app etc. It is easier to control the tip of a finger than a pencil, so this is a great confidence-builder for practising the formation of letters…

Writing Letters with fingers - from Rachel (",)


Building Names

Letter Stones 

(Letters written on with permanent markers or chalk markers)…

Name recognition activity from Stimulating Learning with Rachel (",)

Name activity with letter stones from Rachel (",)

Letter Shells

Creating names with letter shapes - from Rachel (",)

Wooden Letters

Names with wooden letters - from Rachel (",)

Magnetic Letters

Hunting for letters from their names - from Rachel (",)

Alphabet Tiles

Working on names from Rachel (",)

In Play Dough

Names with play dough stamps - from Rachel (",)

I think the stamps were from Cosy or TTS (in the UK) a few years ago, although I’m not sure if they still do them…

Play dough alphabet stamps shared by Rachel (",)

Butter Beans

Using butter bean letters to create names - from Rachel (",)

Bottle Tops

Bottle top names from Rachel (",)


Matching the letters – great for fine motor skills too!

Name recognition and fine motor work with pegs - from Rachel (",)

Craft Sticks

Building names with craft sticks - from Rachel (",)

Alphabet Beads

These beads have capital letters on, so there was an extra dimension to this …

Creating names with letter beads - from Rachel (",)

Glass Pebbles

(Letters written on the back with a permanent marker – clear nail varnish over the top.)

Creating names with glass pebbles - from Rachel (",)


Tracing Names & Letters 


Tracing names with pebbles - from Rachel (",)


Tracing initial letters from our names - from Rachel (",)

Glass Pebbles

Name recognition & fine motor fun from Stimulating Learning with Rachel (",)

On Chalk Boards

– with loose parts…

Tracing names with loose parts from Rachel (",)


Tracing names with stickers - from Rachel (",)


Tracing names with buttons from Rachel (",)


Creating Letter Shapes 

Play Dough / Clay

Play dough names from Rachel (",)


Push Pins

Letters and push pins - letter recognition, fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination from Rachel (",)


Name Puzzles

(Idea adapted from @MmeKathleen on Twitter)…

Name puzzle - from Rachel (",)


Writing the Name

As well as the usual pencils / crayons / felt tips / paint / chalk etc, it is also lovely to have a go at writing the name with water. Chalkboards are perfect for this…

Tracing over names with water from Rachel (",)


Using Books

We’ve enjoyed using the book ‘Chrysanthemum’ when talking about how many letters we have in our names. I don’t even know if this book is still in print as I bought it when I first started teaching, but it’s great for talking about names (and also starting school)…

Using the book 'Chrysantheum', when counting the letters in our names - from Rachel (",)


We started back to school last week (Inset days) and the children begin this week, so you might not hear from me for a couple of weeks while we start to settle them in. Wish me luck – September is both challenging & tiring!


Thank s for reading!

Don’t forget that you can also find me on FacebookInstagramTwitter &  Pinterest

Would love you to come & say hello! 🙂 

– Rachel (“,)


  1. What a lot of fantastic ideas! I will definitely use some of those when we start next week. Thank you

    • You’re welcome, Alison! 🙂

  2. Wonderful as always…an inspiration. Thanks for sharing and all the best for the start of term 🙂

    • Ah, thank you Susie! You too, if you’re back to work 🙂

  3. I always love looking at your creative ideas Rachel and shall be incorporating them into my practice at the start of term.
    Thank you for sharing them.

    • You are very welcome, Sarah! Hope the start of term goes well 🙂

  4. Thank you Rachel for another set of fabulous ideas. I wish you luck with your newbies as I hope for a great start myself. ☺️

    • Thanks Sharon. Lots of luck to you too! 🙂

  5. What age groups are you working with?

    • 3 and 4 year olds. I’ve taught up to 7 year olds, but 3 & 4s are what I’m best at 🙂

  6. These are great ideas that I can’t wait to try. Where did you find your loose parts?

    • Thanks Belinda! My resources come from a variety of places – school catalogues, house shops like Dunelm, eBay, charity shops, car boot sales, pound shops etc

  7. Hi there,

    Could you kindly explain how you implement the various name building stations? Do you model how the materials can be used to build names first, or simply leave out the materials at a centre as a provocation?
    You have so many different ways to build names here. How often do you switch up the different materials?
    I understand there’s no “right way” to do this, but am just seeking your expertise 😉


    • Hi Kelly,
      These invitations are things that have been done over the years I’ve been teaching, certainly not all one one year. I just wanted to share some of the ways we’ve worked on name recognition & writing. Some will have been out for a week, some longer.
      Some may have been set up for an individual or specific children, who’ve been invited to work with an adult & some have been set out for all children to have a go, if they wish.
      All will have been introduced by an adult, to explain how to ‘do’ the activity.
      Hope that helps! 🙂

  8. I’m always inspired by your creativity, Rachel. Thank you for sharing. I implemented the Self-Regulation idea today with my Kindies on the first day of school, but I wrote the children’s names on wood cookies instead. Can’t wait to incorporate some of the other ideas as well.

    • Fantastic, Rosa! 🙂


    • De rien!


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