Make an easy, textured homemade name puzzle! It’s a fun way to help your child to learn to spell his or her name, and to aid letter and name recognition!
Every September, I make these easy homemade name puzzles for kids in my daycare. Playing with their name puzzles is a great way for the preschoolers to focus on letter and name recognition without it feeling like “work”.
To a child, the most important word in the whole, wide world is his or her name, and there’s no greater pride for kids than learning to recognize and spell their name.
Name recognition usually begins with a child learning which letter their name starts with. Sometime later, a child will learn to identify other letters in their name, and before long, they know which order the letters go in to spell their name correctly.
By the time school starts, a child is expected to know how to recognize and spell his or her name, which is why, in the year before kindergarten, I make these name puzzles for each of my preschoolers.
We know that children learn best when several of their senses are engaged, so I like to use textured, patterned wallpaper samples when I’m making a name puzzle. I cut each letter from a different sample of wallpaper. This patterns and colours of the paper add visual interest and the different textures of the paper add a sensory element to the activity.
Wall paper samples are great in the kids’ craft room! Use them for any crafts that you’d normally use scrapbook paper. Wall paper is much sturdier and less likely to rip than scrapbook paper is.
Where can you get a wallpaper sample book?
Getting your hands on a wallpaper sample book is as easy as asking at your local paint and wallpaper store. They often have outdated wallpaper sample books that they’re happy to part with. I love books with heavily textured samples in them. Some are puffy and bumpy. Some feel like suede or tweed. You can get all kinds of patterns and colours, and I think that really helps to identify with and remember their letters.
What can you use instead of wall paper samples?
Construction paper, scrapbook paper, fabric or card stock can also add colour and interest to your puzzle pieces.
Making your name puzzle:
To make your name puzzle, simply cut out the letters of your child’s name to trace onto your coloured paper. I drew my letter free-hand but if you’d rather use a template, you can visit Quality-Kids-Crafts.com and print your letters off.
Once you have your letters cut out, glue them to a sturdy piece of cardboard (like a cereal box), leaving a generous amount of space between each letter. Then cut the letters apart in “jigsaw” fashion.
Now, hand the puzzle over to your little one and let them have some fun, piecing their name together. I love watching the Hooligans try to figure their puzzles out the first time. There’s lots of twisting and turning and re-arranging of letters. The second time is usually a bit easier, and by the time they’ve done their puzzle a half dozen times or so, they’re old pros!
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.