The name game

The name game

You’ve probably all heard of the old song “The Name Game” that goes “Shirley, Shirley, bo birley, banana fanana fo firley, fee fi fo mirley, Shirley.”  Well, this name game is a little different, but just as much fun I assure you!  This simple game is a great way to practice name recognition…

The name game by Teach Preschool

To prepare for our name game, we wrote each child’s name in large letters on a piece of sturdy cardboard.  We wanted our name boards to be sturdy so that they could be used again for other games or activities.  The goal of our game was to promote name recognition by building on fun experiences.  To begin our game, Deborah held up each name board and let the children call out the names as she distributed the boards to each individual child…

The name game by Teach Preschool

The children took their name boards and pointed to their letters, attempting to spell their names.  Our older children know all of the letters in their names, while our younger ones are still working on theirs…

The name game by Teach Preschool

Our name game was fashioned after “Simon says.”  Deborah played Simon and called out directions like, “Simon says stand on your name!”

The name game by Teach Preschool

Or “Simon says hold your name above your head!”

The name game by Teach Preschool

The children loved this new game!  Games like this are a great way to get some large motor exercise while indoors on a cold or rainy day.  And we really just scratched the surface with the name game.  There are so many other ways to use our name boards.

For example…

Students call the shots:  The teacher can hold all the name boards and turn one over.  Whoever’s name is revealed gets to pick an action for the whole class to do like, “Cohan says touch your toes.”

Name relay:  Line up all the names on a wall in a gymnasium or area with a large space to move.  Have the children stand on a line and listen for their name to be called.  When their name is called, they run and touch or pick up their name board.

Friendship swap:  Give each child the name board of one of their classmates, then instruct the children to go find their own name and swap it from their friends.

Practice letter sounds:  We use the Amazing Action Alphabet for learning our letters and sounds.  Each letter sound is associated with an animal action.  Each child holds their name board while the teacher holds up letter cards.  The teacher then says, “If your name has an S in it, slither like a snake.”

The name game by Teach Preschool

Can you think of any other fun ways to use our name boards?  Share them in the comments section below!

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  • Belinda Posted February 9, 2014 1:27 pm

    Hi Deborah.
    I have children that seem to want to play with only certain other children. This inspired me to think about drawing two names randomly from the pile (upside down) and having those two children be partners on the easel, creating a masterpiece with a friend. I think they will have fun. And we can explore the word ‘random’.
    Thank you for all your wonderful ideas!

  • Margaret@YTherapySource Posted February 9, 2014 2:09 pm

    Of course I love this idea. Here is one more to add to it. Use your animal sounds to write a code for the child’s name. So they move through each letter of the name moving like each animal to spell their name. Maybe move through each student’s name together so all are moving at once. Or have them guess whose name you are acting out.

    This will help explain what I mean – here is a similar idea just using different motions –

  • Stephanie Schuler Posted February 10, 2014 5:16 pm

    Love this game! I’ve got a few kids in one of my earlier classes that also doesn’t seem to want to play with others. Any suggestions for allowing him to participate in this game, but not trying to steal other children’s signs?

  • Hillary Posted February 11, 2014 11:37 pm

    I am currently working in a Pre-K 4 classroom and this activity could be really helpful. I think it would especially benefit my students that are struggling to learn social skills. What a lovely blog! Thank you.

  • Stephanie Posted February 15, 2014 8:04 pm

    How about name Bingo for older preschoolers? Give them a sheet with their name on it. Call letters (with a name in mind–of course we teachers manipulate the outcome of games). Children cross off letters that are called. if all the letters in their name are called off, they shout Bingo! Play once or twice a week and keep track of your winners so everyone gets a chance to “win.” Check for understanding during the game. “Who just crossed off the “A” I called because you have an A in your name?” As an alternative to the cardboard, foam sheets work well and hold up nicely. Stephanie, M.A. Ed

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted February 16, 2014 12:36 am

    What a terrific Idea!!! Making notes!!

  • Doreen Posted March 5, 2014 5:19 am

    You can also use it to play musical chair, and they will pick up other child name that they may not normally play with, and this will encourage them to talk

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted March 5, 2014 4:18 pm

    Great idea! I wonder if my kids will be willing to let someone else hold their name! LOL!

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