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Have you ever watched preschoolers in the classroom during free play? You may see children tapping each other to get their attention or they may just say, “Hey…” Additionally, little ones might refer to you as “teacher”. Now is an important time to stress the skill of learning the names of the teacher and fellow classmates. It’s good manners! It makes a person feel important when you call him or her by name.
Enforcing the use of names does not have to be done in a drill-sergeant sort of way. After all, this is a preschool classroom! Make name learning a game for great results. Here are some game ideas including, “Guess Who!” Name games for preschool children are entertaining and stress an important skill.
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At first, during circle time everyday, ask students to shake the hand of the person on both sides of them and introduce themselves:
“Nice to meet you, Jason. My name is Matthew.”
“Nice to meet you, Matthew.”
When names become familiar, change the routine to:
“Good morning, Jason.”
“Good morning, Matthew.”
It’s a great way to warm them up with smiles and giggles.
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What's Your Name?
Even though these activities are encouraging reading, the students are still being exposed to everyone’s name.
1. To begin, you need to introduce everyone’s name. Sit in a circle. Hold up a card to see if the student whose name is on the card recognizes his or her name in print. Then say it aloud and give it to the student. Continue until all names are passed out.
2. Study the name cards together to see if any of them are the same. Then look at the beginning letter. Ask the children with the same beginning letter to stand together. Which beginning letter is used the most? Which is used the least? Which alphabet letter is not used at all?
3. Toss the name cards in the center of the circle and mix them up. Can the students find their own name cards? Can students find someone else’s card?
4. Use these nametags or other permanent ones at the place where the child sits. Curious children will begin to study other classmate’s written name.
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Game#1 is a listening game. Can students hear a voice and “Guess Who” is talking?
Ask a student to sit on a chair in the middle of a circle of classmates. You may blindfold the student or ask that they cover their eyes, whichever way is comfortable to the student. Point to a student in the circle. That student should say, “Guess Who I am!” The child in the chair has three guesses to say the name of the student.
Game #2 is a guessing game. Sit the students in a circle. Choose one student to be “it”. That child should stand in another part of the room with his or her back to the class. Pass an object around the circle while the music is playing. When the music stops the child holding the object keeps it hidden. “It” has three chances to guess who is holding the object. They must call the student by name.
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Were you able to “Guess who?” Name games for preschool children are entertaining and help to build a specific skill. Name games and activities continue into kindergarten and beyond, so it is important to start now. Reading names and preschool name writing practice can begin when you feel the children are ready for this too!
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