Alphabet Activity: Cut It (Your Name) Out!
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Sorry to disappoint you Juliet, but names are quite important to our children. It’s true, our children are the sweetest things ever no matter what we call them, but they love their names. And who can blame them? Children feel like their names are part of their identities and they are mighty proud of who they are. They love saying their names, sometimes so much so that they talk in third person (“Zoe wants milk.”). And while they may not be super interested in learning the alphabet in general, they are interested in learning at least the alphabet in their names. Therefore, besides safety reasons, we decided to teach our children their names before other letters in the alphabet.
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Here is a quick and simple name activity that also works on a very important fine motor skill – using scissors! You will need:
- Blank paper
- Pen (if not using the computer)
- Glue stick
- Construction paper
To start out, I typed out my children’s name in Microsoft Excel and made boxes around each letter. Then after printing out the letters, I cut around the outline of the entire name (see picture). You don’t have to do this; you can simply cut out a strip of paper and write out the letters and make a vertical line between each letter.
Give your child the strip of paper and a scissor (check out these learning scissors) and have them cut out each letter. You may need to show them first that they need to use the lines as a guide to cut. And here is the important part… DON’T HELP. If you are OCD like me, this will be difficult. As neat as my 2-year-old is, she could not cut directly along the lines no matter how hard she tried. Just breathe in deeply and remind yourself that they are only toddlers and they need to learn how to use scissors by themselves.
After they are done cutting out all the letters (hopefully they didn’t cut THROUGH any of them), have them sort the letters so that they spell out their own names. Then give them a glue stick and a piece of construction paper so they can glue the letters to the construction paper. Again, STEP BACK AND RELAX. You finally get a few minutes to sit and drink your coffee while your kids are preoccupied doing something productive. Enjoy the moment. Don’t stress out about how the letters are not straight or there is way too much glue than necessary.
Ta-da! So simple, yet such a fun activity for them to learn their names. Sometimes the simpler the activity, the more effective since there are fewer distractions. Plus, it’s something you can whip up last minute in case you need something to keep the kids busy while you load the washing machine or go to the bathroom. To pee, or not to pee, now THAT is the question.