Sunday, August 26, 2018

Easy Name Sensory Activity and Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Why is it important to teach kids about their names?

Names are really important to kids! They love hearing their name, saying their name, and learning to identify it, read it, and spell it! One of the best ways for children to get started learning about the alphabet is through exploring letters that have meaning to them. Often the first letters a child will learn are the ones that are in their name.

Kids are excited to know more about the letters in their name, so they are motivated to learn about the letters! We really enjoy finding simple name activities to help kids explore their names more.

Here is a simple Name Sensory Activity to help kids hunt for the letters in their names and then match them to the letters on a whiteboard.

This activity is shared to go along with our Weekly Virtual Book Club for Kids Name theme week. You can read more about our Weekly Virtual Book Club here. 

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Featured Book for Name Week

We are kicking off this week by reading Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. It is a darling story of a little girl who loves her name until the first day of school when she is teased for having being named after a flower. The story shares messages about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance. This book is great for preschoolers and older toddlers to read together with parents.

Along with reading Chrysanthemum, we set up a super simple name sensory bin to explore.

Materials Needed for the Name Sensory Bin:

  • stale cereal 
  • large pan
  • mini magnetic whiteboard
  • whiteboard marker
  • alphabet letter magnets (for the letters in your child's name)
  • little scoop or mini shovel

Ideally it would be awesome if you have a capital letter magnet for your child's first letter of their name and lowercase magnets for the rest of your child's name. If you are like me and are never able to find the right magnets when you want them, just use what you have! :)

Name Sensory Bin Set Up:

To set up the Name Sensory Bin, add cereal to a large pan. Next, add the letters from your child's name into the bin and bury them!

After that, write your child's name on the whiteboard using a whiteboard marker.

Encourage your child to scoop the cereal and move it while they hunt for the alphabet letters. Instead of dumping the cereal out of the pan, I encourage my kids to scoop and pout the cereal back in the pan. It worked for awhile! There was definitely some mess out of the pan too.

One way to contain the mess is by putting a vinyl tablecloth under the activity so that it is easy to fold up and shake off when you are done.

After your child finds all the letters, help them match the letters to their name on the whiteboard.

Younger toddlers may just be more interested with playing with the letter magnets on the whiteboard than matching. That is totally fine!

Once you are done, bury the letters and play again!

Additional Book Suggestions for Name Week

I haven't read that many name themed books for toddlers, but her are three additional books that your child might enjoy reading this week!

1) Elmer by David McKee

This book is about a colorful elephant named Elmer that all the animals laugh at. It explores how he learns to be more confident and grateful for what makes him special.

2) A My Name is Alice by Jane Bayer

This book is a silly alphabet book that goes through each letter of the alphabet and introduces readers to a variety of animals and names.

3) Andy That's My Name by Tomie DePaola 

This book helps make words fun. It is the story of Andy who has a wagon full of letters that spell his name, and he takes it with him wherever he goes.

Do you have any other favorite name themed books? Please share! We'd also love to see what name themed sensory activities you do today! Please come share them in our Weekly VBC for Kids Facebook Group.

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