Most children, when learning to write, start doing so by learning to write their name. By doing so, children learn a sense of identity, independence and self-recognition, all of which are very important in creating positive self-esteem.
Providing your child with a variety of writing materials around the home is a great place to start to encourage them to put crayon to cardboard however, there are also some fun, educational and unique ways that may assist you and your little one in spelling it all out.
Start with Capitals
Most pre-schoolers first learn capital letters so it’s nice to start with what they now or are familiar with. They are also easier to write than lower case letter as they have fewer curves, made up with lots of straight lines.
Good ol’ Tracing
With a marker, write letters using dots, like a dot-to-dot picture for your child to trace. You can draw these yourself or print them off the web from various websites. These pages are great for use anytime and can be copied over and over again. Kids also love to erase the pencil out after they write it and do it again which secretly encourages them to keep practicing.
Air Writing (not Guitar)
The large muscle movement of writing letters in the air is thought to help your child process what they are writing making it more likely to stick. Also have them say what they are doing out loud ‘start at the top, then go down’ for example.
Sand or Salt Tray
Head outdoors for a little sand tray play. Cover the base of a large, flat tray or plastic container with sand and have your child write their letters in the sand. Multi-sensory learning is great for small kids and without the permanence of textas or pencils sand play takes away the pressure of making a mistake. Placing a big piece of card with their name printed on it for them to see also helps.
Kids love to paint with their fingers and although a tad messy, finger painting is a great way to encourage them into participating. Use large white sheets of paper is possible so they can do the large muscle movements for memory.
Giving each letter a character is a fun way to show kids the strokes for each letter. For example, the letter B could be described as being ‘one straight line with a round head and a round tummy’. An E could be ‘one straight line with a hat, a belt and a shoe’. Show them each one as you go and they will smile while they do it too.
Help them learn to write their name using one of their favourite things Play Doh! Roll the lines out to thin noodles and spell their name out with them on a non-stick mat. Seeing the letters in Play Doh creates a visual example for them and is a great bonding exercise for the both of you. You can also encourage them to try parts or all of each letter by asking them to roll out a certain colour and help you do it.
Go Around the Table
Multiple stations around the kitchen table make for an intense yet really fun session of letter writing! A range of activities including sculpting with Play-Doh, making the letters with straws or pencils and writing the letters in shaving cream forms a sort of circuit, harnessing all of your child’s senses, mixing messy with clean.
Use the Computer or Tablet
For the tech-savvy families, having your child type their name out on the computer or iPad teaches letter recognition. They learn which letter goes where and pressing the keys is so much fun that they don’t realise that they are actually learning. Seeing the letters in bold, bright print can help with memory when they start to write the letters on paper.
Teaching your child to write their name doesn’t have to be boring or stressful, try some of these ideas and let us know how you go!
We’d love to know how you have successfully helped your child write their name. Do you have another great idea that could be tried at home?