Name Games for Kids

Name games are the perfect way to help your child master one of their favorite words – their name! Since there is no word quite as special to a child as her own name,  it’s no wonder that many teachers (including me) use a child’s name to introduce the concept of what a letter is, how letters group together to make words, and how a child can use letters to spell.

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5 Fun Name Games for Kids

Although there are hundreds of name games that teach these important ideas, here are my five favorites.

Confetti Letters

Use a white crayon to write the first letter in your child’s name on a black piece of paper.  Cut a pile of small, colorful squares of paper.  Ask her to use a glue stick and attach them to the letter.  I love the way this looks when it is finished and creating a fancy letter is a great way to explain that the first letter in her name is special and, consequently, is the only letter that uses a capital.

Confetti Letters {Playdough to Plato}

First Letter Scavenger Hunt

Give your child a bag and ask her to fill it with items from around the house that start with the same letter as her name.  For instance, if your child’s name was Madeline, her bag might say, “Madeline’s bag of Mm” and she would wander around the house collecting Matchbox cars, magazines, and other M-things.

Top 5 Ways to Teach A Child to Spell Her Name {Playdough to Plato}

Sing a Personalized Song

Create a song your child can use to remember the spelling of her name.  My oldest son has five letters in his name so we changed the words to the popular song “BINGO” and spell his name instead.  For ideas, check out our favorite tunes here.

Name Songs for Kids. Such an awesome way to help kids learn how to spell their names. {Playdough to Plato}

Build It with Blocks

Build her name with blocks.  Dig into your child’s bin of Legos or Mega Blocks and pull out as many blocks as there are letters in her name.  For the example below, I chose five blocks because the name “Peter” has five letters.

Cut labels to fit nicely onto the side of each block and write one letter of your child’s name on each.  I like to write vowels (A, E, I, O and U) in one color and consonants (all of the other letters in the alphabet) in another color so that I can talk about vowels and consonants later.

Top 5 Ways to Teach A Child to Spell Her Name {Playdough to Plato}Now comes the fun. Write down your child’s name on a piece of paper and have her practice “building it” in the correct order.   Mix up the letters and have her unscramble them. Sing your child’s name song and have her stick the blocks together as she sings it.

Count the number of letters in her name.   Hide one of the letters and have her figure out which letter is missing. There are so many possibilities.

Top 5 Ways to Teach A Child to Spell Her Name {Playdough to Plato}

Rainbow Writing

Neatly write down your child’s name on a blank piece of paper.  (Feel free to print it out from a computer if you’d prefer.)

Give her six crayons or markers: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Ask her to trace over the letters in her name using each of the colors.  First, she will trace her name with the red crayon.  Then she will use orange, etc.  When she is finished, she will have created a name rainbow.

Rainbow Names {Playdough to Plato}

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  1. Kim

    Great ideas! I especially love the one with the blocks, since I first want to teach how to “say” the letters, then we’ll work on writing them next. Thanks for sharing

    • Malia

      You’re welcome, Kim! And thank you for commenting. 🙂

  2. Abir

    loved all the ideas will do them with my Jumanah
    thank you for sharing

    • Malia

      I’m thrilled to hear that, Abir! Let me know how they go. 🙂

  3. Beth

    I am teaching kindergarten for the first time this fall. i am looking for name games that i can do as a whole class during rug time. Any suggestions? THANKS

    • Malia

      Hi Beth! Congratulations on becoming a kindergarten teacher.

      I actually used several of the activities in this post during whole group instruction. Each day, I focused on the name of one student in class (I’ll call him the “student of the day”) and spent 15-20 minutes completing the following routine:

      1. Sing the personalized name jingle that teaches the spelling of the child’s name. (I use the tunes linked in the sidebar of this post.)

      2. Use magnetic letters to spell the child’s name on the white board as the entire class sings the jingle several times through.

      3. Invite another child in class to come up and scramble the letters while the “student of the day” closes his eyes. After the letters are mixed up, the “student of the day” opens his eyes and unscrambles them. The class checks his spelling by singing the jingle again.

      4. Invite each child in the class to draw a picture of the “student of the day” on a blank piece of paper and label the picture with his name. (Before the whole group activity began, I would have placed 2-3 index cards on each table labeled with the “student of the day’s” name so that students who needed a visual reminder of the spelling could find it easily.)

      Later in the day, we would spend 5 minutes writing a list of things the “student of the day” loves so that students could see his name again. For example, the list might say,

      Steven loves dogs. (I would draw a picture of a dog next to the sentence.)

      Steven loves pizza. (I would draw a pizza.)


      I hope that helps and congratulations again!


  4. Shannon

    My son has been spelling his name (verbally) since before he was two. He is almost four and attends preschool five days a week. Now it seem that he knows most of his letters visually, but several of the ones he does not know are in his name and he is unable to recall the verbal spelling of his name any more. Is this common and how do we go about “correcting” this backward movement? Any suggestions are appreciated.

    • Malia

      Hi Shannon! Without meeting your son in person and completing a full assessment, it’s hard to know what is causing the backward movement. That said, the behavior is not necessarily cause for concern. Some children take steps back before making huge developmental leaps forward. For example, many of my kindergarteners would be able to write alphabet letters correctly for months and then, one day out of the blue, they would start reversing them. The habit would last a few weeks and then the kids would magically flip them back to normal. Brains do mysterious things sometimes.

      If you are worried, I encourage you to talk with your son’s teacher about the behavior. Hopefully, having seen your boy in action, the teacher will be able to give you insight into what’s going on.

      Please let me know if I can help further!


  5. Markisha

    This website was very helpful! I am in the process of teaching my class of three and four year old’s how to spell their names, and I think the block idea was perfect! Thanks so much.

    • Malia

      My pleasure, Markisha! I’m so happy to hear that the 5 name activities were helpful.

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  7. Sarah Walks

    hi those ideas are great!
    they will help a lot with my daughter Emily!
    i also have a suggestion-
    i taught my daughter Sophie (now 11 years of age) to spell her name with all kinds of creative ways like:

    S- a snake
    O-an orange
    P- a half eaten lollipop
    h-a chair on its side
    i- a line with a dot
    e- a mouse

    thanks once again

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  9. Candice

    Yet another impressive post. These are things that I can actually do! I unfortunately do not have the day at home with my little guy, so sometimes I feel so rushed and like I am not teaching him anything. This post and the “left from right” post are do-able for me!

    I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a bad mom, haha, sometimes we just have to live life on life’s terms 😉

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Hi, I’m Malia.

I LOVE helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers save time, stay inspired and give EVERY student bigger results. I’m so glad you’re here!