One of my goals as a preschool teacher is to teach my little students not only to recognize their names but also to get a feel for how to write their names. As just one way to achieve this goal, I made this hot glue name recognition and writing activity.
What makes this name recognition and writing activity appealing to preschoolers is that is it tactile. But, unlike tracing dashed letters on a worksheet, a very traditional and ineffective way to teach name recognition, this activity is also appropriate for young preschoolers who have not yet mastered the pen…or pencil, crayon, marker or anything else they might be inclined to write with.
Materials to make hot glue names
For this name recognition and writing activity you will need the following materials:
- corrugated cardboard (don’t slack and use anything less thick and durable…it won’t work if you do)
- acrylic paint (a lighter color is best)
- foam paint brush
- permanent marker
- hot glue sticks
- hot glue gun
To make hot glue names for name recognition
Making hot glue names couldn’t be easier. It does take a little bit of time, for drying of the paint during different stages, but it is easy.
- Begin by cutting the cardboard down to size. I think mine are about six inches by eight inches.
- Paint the cardboard your color of choice, but keep it a pastel color. I did two layers, but really no paint is necessary. It is only to make the cardboard more appealing.
- Once the paint is dry, write your child’s name with a pencil. Make each letter big and leave extra space between each letter. This way the hot glue from each letter will not touch each other.
- If you love the way the name looks, as in, you didn’t make any mistakes, write over it with the permanent marker. This will make the name easier to see once the letters are covered in hot glue.
- Finally, very carefully, write over the marker with the hot glue. You will be most successful if you apply even pressure to the glue gun trigger. Don’t let the nozzle touch the cardboard, but you want to let the hot glue drip in a string from the gun. This is exactly like writing with frosting on a cake. Just keep steady and go slow.
- Allow to dry.
Once completely dry invite your child to practice her name by tracing it. The texture of the glue is raised enough to give your child a definite feel for the shape and contour of the letters in her name. Corinne said each letter out loud as she traced them, and now can verbally spell her name. Now, she can also recognize when her name is not spelled correctly. (Apologies to our church nursery teacher who mistakenly spelled her name with two r’s instead of two n’s. Corinne noticed the misspelling and completely melted down).
After I had introduced the hot glue names to Corinne, I introduced the name cards to my preschoolers. As I expected, they have turned out to be an excellent activity for name recognition. For the older preschoolers, they are also learning how to write their names. As an added challenge, sometimes I will give them the wrong name card, ask them to trace the letters, and then try to figure out who the card actually belongs to. We call it “The Mix-up Name Game.” It’s always a success.
If you liked this activity, be sure to check out these other name recognition activities. They are some of our favorites!
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I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction