Last week Lindsay emailed me and asked if I could test out her new “create your own name finger tracing page” before it went "live". I did. It worked perfectly. And as I printed out my name I started thinking of all the different ways you could use this page.
With both my kids we always tried to do the basic letter formation activities in as many different ways as possible as repetition was key when it comes to early letters, and we always tried to include a tactile element.
So my first thought was playdough – yip good old playdough – when in doubt get the playdough out! I always loved the idea of getting the kids to try and form the letters with their playdough and I remember with my daughter it was one of those lightbulb moments – when after she had formed a few playdough letters her hands seemed to just get the shape of the letters.
Name tracing page completed with playdough
If you are using playdough, laminating the page or slotting it into a write-and-wipe-pocket prevents the playdough from sticking to the paper.
My second easy tactile activity was finger painting. Both of mine loved tracing letters, over and over again as long as they they got to do it with finger paint!
Finger tracing the finger tracing worksheet with finger paint! (sorry - not the best photo quality on this one)
And then letter formation in flour – just spread some flour out on a kitchen surface and the kids can trace a letter first on the sheet, and then try and recreate it in the flour.
Trace the letters on the page and then in flour
I also liked using our sensory tubs for activities like this. We always had a mixed dried bean tub and a mixed button, beads and crafty gem-type tub. Let the kids decorate the letters however they like as it is just a fun way of getting them familiar with the formation. Dried pasta, coloured rice, wool, anything goes - you could even cut up old magazines and the kids could do a name collage.
Covering the letters with beads and buttons to help learn their shapes
When it comes to collage-type activities mine always liked tissue paper. They loved scrunching it up and then sticking it down! With tissue paper we always find applying the glue to the page is better than trying to apply the glue directly to the tissue paper. Glue directly on tissue paper gets very messy and I found the kids would end up get getting frustrated.
When they are younger one of the key things parents/teachers are often trying to develop is hand and finger strength. So combine the two. Get some puffy paint or glitter glue – something that they need to squeeze out of plastic tubes - and let them trace the letters with those. That way they are working on strengthening those little hands while still practising letter formation.
Squeezing out glitter paint or puffy paint to trace the letters
I love this idea of create your kids name tracing page. I think it is great way of getting the kids to practise their letter formation, practise writing their own name and practise recognising their own name all in one - plus it can be extended into a bunch of tactile activities. And of course you don’t need to just stop with your own child’s name: you could print off pages for the whole family and they can learn how to write their siblings' names, parents' name and even friends' name – great for when comes to writing in birthday or Christmas cards!
Puffy paint squeezer in action!
This is a guest post from Shelly. Shelly is a home educating parent of two children aged 8 and 10. She blogs at ofamily learning together where she shares ideas on the different learning activities that they do including lots of hand-on maths, arts and crafts and anything else that is part of their home educating lifestyle.
You can find more guest posts by Shelly, and a list of all our guest posts, here.