Writing on the Wall is Great For Kids! |How to teach a child to write their name|

how to teach a child to write, learn to write your name, name writing activity for preschooler

Ok, hear me out.. We think of writing on the wall as taboo but the activity is so beneficial to development. I had my head start students learn to write their names upright every day during our arrival routine. Currently, the preschoolers I babysit have name cards for my home and a set for theirs to double the their exposure to the great skill builder!

Should they actually write on the wall itself? Of course not, they should write on paper, a dry erase board or chalkboard. The medium used for production can be whatever you have available to make the activity possible. I prefer laminated paper held to the fridge or front door with a magnet and dry erase markers. When we need to use paper I prefer to back them with a clip board or poster board to prevent any bleeding or bumpy surface issues from the walls or fridge. When we were in an apartment with a tiny space and tiny budget I thumbtacked a thin poster board to the wall for an upright drawing station. We taped paper to it and it served as a scribble catcher for upright coloring and drawing.

Great job little one!

Won’t this encourage coloring the real walls? Nope! I do not believe for one second that they wouldn’t have tried writing on the walls had you not introduced this activity, they all do it. I also believe that it has more of an opposite effect in that it scratches that curious itch. I even consider that the compulsion to write upright is driven by their natural drive to grow and strengthen their muscles and refine their abilities. I had a classroom with 16 students ages 3-5, an open art center and white walls. The students had fulltime access to paper, tape to hang it and tools to write with and they learned very quickly what the expectations were. On the other end of that spectrum, if they can not access art supplies they can not use them incorrectly. In my home we have a happy middle ground, the supplies are accessible but the children need permission to start a project.

Why upright? When the child is standing and writing at eye level their back will be upright and not hunched like at a table top which strengthens the core muscles, especially those that that support the arm. They also must hold their entire arm up as its not being rested on the table top which strengthens the whole arms muscles. Then the writing itself strengthens the hands and fingers.

Great job officer!

Best practice is to provide this type of writing daily, add this 2 minute exercise to a current routine and stick to it! Beginners should start with tracing their name, you can write it in highlighter on a piece of paper, hung at eye level. If you have access to a lamination machine you can write their name in a light color or highlighter and then laminate the paper and use with dry erase markers and a magic eraser. Once they have mastered tracing their name you can change the activity to copying their name, provide a copy of their name to look at and a blank space to write on. Next you can take the copy name away and encourage them to write the letters as you spell them verbally. The key to this activity being a success in the positive feedback you provide towards their efforts! Little Suzie drew a circle on each letter? Great try big girl!! Never tell them, that’s not a letter or you’re not doing it right. This will only stunt the potential benefits of this activity. We want them to beam with pride from their efforts and they will try every day to earn that praise and feel that feeling.

This activity also teaches letter recognition when an adult or older child stands by and verbally identifies each letter, one by one, as the child writes them. Build these identifiers into your praise for a complete and easy experience; “First we will start with your R, it says /r/ in Rylee”, “I love the way you’re making your y”, “wow that is a great l”.

This is, by far my favorite first step and most important routine in teaching a child to write their name. The letters of the name are always the first letters I teach a child to recognize and write, so this is a perfect first step all around! If you have a schedule to follow, place it near an already established routine and add it right in; near the door before you leave in the morning, on the fridge while dinner is made, next to their bed whatever works consistently for your family is what is best!

Six months ago I introduced the activity, around her 3rd birthday. She attempted to write but got discouraged and said “I can’t” so I guided her with my hand on hers and helped her write the rest of her name and the letter A. She then explored with making marks and various grasps of the marker until she told me she was done.
I introduced the activity to him six months ago, around his 4th birthday. He knew the letter words that spell his name and can verbally say them in order but he was not yet recognizing them all in print. So to make this activity more meaningful for him I ask him to touch each letter on the paper in order as he says the letter names that he has memorized. He enjoys this so we do it once before he writes them and then once after.
I support the development of a tripod grasp by helping them latch on, first I place the cap under their two small fingers then I place the marker in their hand, between the thumb and first finger and tell them to grasp it with only the 3 remaining finger. We also use chubby markers which are easier for the child to control. If they break the hold and want to use a wild 2-handed handed grasp, I let them explore that method too and just set their tripod grasp again the next day.
She wanted me to assist with hand-over-hand right away without trying and said “I can’t”. I told her I will absolutely help her but I need her to try First. I repeated “FIRST you try, THEN I can help” and she did try to write 1 letter and with lots of praise over the first few weeks she gained confidence to try her whole name without asking for help.
She is typically left dominate but she likes to switch hands while writing sometimes.
Their names get better with every practice and with the end goal being kindergarten readiness, I have no doubt they will both be writing their names independently when they walk through the classroom doors.