Name Recognition Activities

One of the first skills we work on during the first few weeks of school is name recognition. While some young learners come to school able to recognize their name in print, many can not.  Here are a few of the ways I help my students learn their names.

name recognition activities

Find Their Names Around the Room

When setting up and decorating my classroom I place student names in many places to help them learn to recognize their names in print.

The first things I have students find during Open House and the first day of school is their cubby and desk which are labeled with their names.

name recognition activity cards

Their names are also displayed on classroom displays as well as on our door so I can easily ask them to find their names when they arrive and do name hunts during group times.

Students love having classroom jobs, so using their names on that board gives them incentive to learn to recognize their names so they know if they have a job that day.

dog classroom helpers bulletin board

Spell Their Names with Cards

This is a fun and easy activity that helps students learn the letters of their names and the order of the letters.

I make card holders from pool noodles by cutting long pieces in half lengthwise so they sit flat and then cutting a 1/2 inch slit down the length of each section.

Students use their name plates as reference and find the letters in their names on cards and put them in order in the holder.

name recognition activity cards and pool noodle card holder

Trace It, Build It, Count the Letters, Write It

This is a name recognition small group activity and center that can be used the first few weeks of school.

Students first trace their names at the top of the page.

Then they build their names with magnetic letters, count how many letters are in their names and write the number.

Lastly, they write their names on the bottom.

name recognition activity

Digital Name Recognition

In recent years we have started using iPads, therefore we also practice typing names as well as sizing the text, choosing text color, and moving text. It is a fun, simple introduction to using the keyboard and iPad.

We use the free app Pic Collage (Pic EDU) as well as Seesaw (not pictured) because these are the apps that we utilize most.

Students use their name plates as reference and type their names on the iPad choosing the font and text color they wish. Then they drag and place the text on the line.

Next, they count the number of letters in their names and type the number and place it in the box.

name recognition digital activity

Name Go Fish

This is a fun name recognition / getting acquainted activity that we do on the first day of school. I put student names on one side of a fish cut out and attach paper clips to them. Students use a fishing rod that has a magnet as “bait” to catch a fish. When a student catches a fish, he/she holds up the fish to show the name. The student with that name stands up and tells the class something about themselves or answers a question about themselves.

name recognition fishing activity

Photo Name Puzzles

I found this photo name puzzle idea from Tot Schooling on Pinterest and love it!

Since I take pictures of students on the first day of school, I have pictures to use for this activity.  I use PowerPoint to make the puzzles. Insert the photos, place the names underneath spacing out the text. Print them out and cut them apart.

name recognition photo puzzle


  1. Creative ideas. I like the versatility in these activities. I love that they require kids to really manipulate items to learn their name. I will definitely be using these ideas! Thanks.

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