One of the most empowering things preschoolers can learn is how to recognize and spell their own name. This tape resist name activity combines fine motor skills with phonics to create individualized name booklets that the preschooler can take home and practice spelling their name.
This post is sponsored by The Pencil Grip, Inc, creators of Kwik Stix. All opinions are my own.
Generally, preschoolers learn how to recognize their names long before they learn how to spell their names. Once a kiddo reaches the age of three, name recognition starts to come pretty easily, however if there are two kids in the same class with names that begin with the same letter…well, that makes things a bit more difficult.
That’s because preschoolers typically start learning the sight of their name by learning the first letter. For example, “B is for Brynlee!”
So, when Brett enters the class, he and Brynlee might get their names mixed up because they are looking for the letter B to identify their name, not following the letters grouped as a whole that make up their names.
It was with that in mind that I created this name activity and helped my son create a name booklet. This year, a little boy whose name also begins with K has joined our class, and Kent is frequently confusing that name with his own.
But not only was I looking for a way to teach Kent how to spell his name, but I also wanted to help him add some phonetic elements so that he could also start making associations between the other letters of his name and the sounds they make. Luckily, the name Kent is spelled with phonetic perfection!
Tape Resist Name Activity and Phonics Booklet
This kids activity serves two purposes: to teach a preschooler how to spell his name, and to teach letter-sound association within the name.
Those are the primary goals, at least, but a secondary goal also includes developing creativity, fine motor skills, print awareness and emergent writing skills.
- Kwik Stix
- black drawing booklet (or stapled black construction paper)
- contact paper
Begin by creating your booklet. Just staple a few pieces of cut-down black construction paper together to make a booklet. You want twice as many front to back pages in the booklet as the name of your preschooler. I actually purchased a set of six 16-page booklets from Target’s dollar spot. They have black covers and black paper inside, which was perfect for this activity because the Kwik Stix we used showed up beautifully on the black background.
What are Kwik Stix you ask?
Only the coolest and newest art supply you must have for preschoolers and toddlers!
Now, since my son is only three and his cutting skills are limited, I drew out the letters of his name on contact paper. Be sure to draw out the letters in big blocks, on the paper side of the contact paper (so, not on the actual plastic sticky side). Drawing the letters on the paper side, which gets peeled off the sticky plastic, will ensure that your letters will not be backward when you cut them out.
Next, cut the letters out and place them like giant stickers in the booklet. Place the letters on every even numbered page. So, you want the contact paper letter to be on the left side of the open booklet, leaving the right side free of any letter.
The Name Activity
Once the letters of my son’s name were placed in the booklet, I invited him to join me in coloring the pages. (The contact paper acts as the tape resist).
We chose to use Kwik Stix instead of something like crayons. Kwik Stix are solid tempera paints. They glide on paper like a high-quality oil pastel, but even though they are solid tempera paints they dry in less than two minutes. This allows the colors to be blended some, like paint, but certainly without the mess and clean up of traditional tempera paints.Kent colored each letter in his name booklet, adding layers and layers of colors. If he worked quickly enough the Kwik Stix could be blended, but if he allowed them to dry he could create the most beautiful layering, almost like a watercolor effect.
Kent doesn’t use a modified tripod grasp yet, as he is still developing his hand strength when holding writing utensils, so he found them very comfortable to use as they are a bit chunky, which are perfect for his little hands. In addition to that, Kwik Stix are carried like glue sticks, so preschoolers develop hand strength by pulling off the lids and snapping them back on. Twisting the paint up also develop their fine motor skills.
And when the contact paper is pulled off, you end up with a letter like this:
I adore how vibrant the colors are! You can get Kwik Stix in classic colors, neon, and even metalics. (My daughter’s favorite were the metalics because they give the most rich shine on the black paper).
The Phonics Activity
While my son can readily recognize the first letter in his name, we are still working on learning letter-sound associated with each letter. So after we completed the tape resist name, we went back and thought of something that began with each letter in his name.
For the letter K he drew a kite. For letter e an elephant, and I labeled each picture he drew.
After waiting a short few seconds for each page to dry before moving on to the next, Kent was excited to read his name book.
Our dialogue went something like this.
K: K. My name has a k! Kent!
Me: That’s right! Your name does start with K. What’s this you drew next to it?
K: Kite! I drew kite. Yellow kite.
Me: I like your kite. Kite starts with the /k/, /k/, /k/ sound, just like Kent starts with the /k/, /k/, /k/ sound. Do you hear /k/ at the beginning of kite and Kent?
Kent was so pleased with his book he read it four times before bed, but also carried it around with him the rest of the day. It is easily his new favorite name activity! He was so proud that he could read the book all by himself, making him feel like a really big kid. Like a reading kid. He, like all other preschoolers, are fascinated by his own name, so our tape resist name activity and phonics booklet is an excellent motivator. It is also just one of many ways teachers can make phonics meaningful to their students, which research has shown is absolutely necessary in teaching reading.
This post was sponsored by The Pencil Grip Co., makers of the product Kwik Stix.
I have to admit, my kids loved using Kwik Stix, and as a preschool teacher I love that they are a mess free solution to painting. In fact, my preschoolers used them to paint mini pumpkins for Halloween. They are very affordable and available for purchase at Target, where multiple sets are available. Some sets of just a handful of colors will make a favorite stocking stuffer for the upcoming Christmas holiday. With their ease of use for my youngest toddlers to my older elementary school aged kids, I admit that Santa will be leaving each of my kids with their own set to enjoy.
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