Recognizing our Names
We start with our own names at the Literacy Center. First, the children receive index cards with their names printed on them. Using a magnetic board and letters, the kids match the letters of their names, in order. (You can use a cookie sheet for this activity!)
Next, we form the letters using play dough on top of a laminated sheet with their name on it. They love this exercise!
Next, we match letter tiles to a paper with their picture and name on it.
We also make rainbow names by tracing over our names in different colors and piece cut-apart name puzzles together. Check out some other activities on this Pinterest page!
Getting to Know Each Other
I have also introduced the Word Wall. We always start with recognizing our friends’ names. (This activity doubles as a math activity when we count how many kids’ names begin with the same letter, which letter begins the most names, how many letters begin zero names and how many letters are in our friends’ names).
On the carpet we play games like rolling the ball to a friend as we say the friend’s name. We sit in a circle and I call on two children who then high-five each other as they say their names. We sing Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? We sing Hickety Pickety Bumble Bee, Will you say your name for me?
We talk about names in religion too! We receive our names from our parents when we are born, and again when we are baptized into God’s family. We talk about how it is important to welcome each other (here’s some Benedictine hospitality for you!). We talk about how much better it feels to be welcomed by name. We talk about how God welcomes us by name, and that God knows all about us.
I tell them it is now our turn to get to know each other better, the way God knows us! We take turns tossing a bean bag or Koosh ball at the Smart Board. When we hit a dot, we have to answer a question about ourselves. I found this activity on the Smart Exchange and changed a few questions to fit my preschoolers. The children love it!