Name Puzzles

This is another favorite name activity.  By now, the kids have become familiar with the letters in their name, but they are often used to seeing it written in all uppercase letters.  This activity is a great way for them to notice features of lowercase letters, and to notice how many letters they have in their name.

In order to prepare this activity you need envelopes and sentence strips.  Write each child’s name on an envelope, and again on a sentence strip.  Cut apart each child’s name on the sentence strip, putting all of their letters in their envelope.

I usually begin by “borrowing” a child’s name and demonstrating how to put together the name puzzle.  Some kids can do this quickly and easily, but for others it is a real challenge.  I demonstrate how they can use their envelope  (where their name is written) as a guide if they need to.  We also talk about double checking to be sure letters are facing the correct way (not upside down).

I then have the kids practice their own name puzzle several times, before trading with a friend to practice a friend’s name.  This activity gives me some great insight. I can see which kids are truly comfortable with their own name.  I notice kids who organize their puzzle backwards, and who still need practice with reading left to right.  I can see who is familiar with lowercase letters and proper orientation of letters.  Finally, I can see who is comfortable using a reference chart (the envelope) to help them.  This is particularly evident when the kids are working on a friend’s name, as they are not necessarily familiar with how it should be spelled.

This is great practice on and off over the week, and the kids are not only thrilled to have their own puzzle, but they truly LOVE learning how to put together their friends’ names!


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