At the start of the year, one of the main literacy goals I have for my PreK students is to ensure that they recognize their names in print. This isn’t just about letter recognition; it’s also about making classroom procedures go smoothly. If a child recognizes their name, they can find their cubby easier, they can tell if the Paw Patrol sweatshirt that everyone seems to own has their name in it or not, and then, of course, it also helps make letter recognition meaningful. Making learning meaningful and personal is a must for preschool and is a large reason I have stayed teaching preschool my whole career. I love being able to really focus on each child and teach the child in front of me. This comet name recognition activity can be used for your students’ names, or as they master that, they can work on classmates’ names. When children are ready to build basic words, you can use this same idea too, but for PreK right now, let’s stick to names!
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Comet Name Recognition Activity
Gather your materials. You will need some black beans or black rice ( I used both), some star and alphabet beads ( dollar store find), sparkly pipe cleaners, some black paper, a tray, and a metallic marker.
Start by pouring the beans, rice, and beads on the tray.
The next step is writing your students’ names on the black paper with the metallic marker. I write mine out with one upper and the rest lowercase even though the beads are all uppercase. I teach that letters come in two sizes, and while doing this activity, I will explain to my students that their names are written with upper and lowercase, but the beads are just uppercase. This creates a secondary upper/ lowercase matching activity. If this poses too much of a challenge for your students, simply write their names in all uppercase.
Now attach a pipe cleaner to the paper. Thread it through and use a star bead to secure it. Thread the end through the star bead and then twist.
It’s ready for your students to search for their names among the stars!!
This activity has wonderful sensory elements to it with the beads, beans, and rice. Also, your student will need to use some fine motor skills to find the beads needed and thread them on.
Add a second star at the end after they do bend the end and grab another name!
Books About Stars & Comets
Comets by Melanie Chrismer surprised me. This little book was not only full of facts about comets. It’s also super engaging for even young preschoolers from cover to cover. The facts are simple and presented in small bits with illustrations. The straightforward approach was perfect for supporting an introductory activity about comets.
Stargazers by Gail Gibbons is a good choice of book to teach about stars, constellations, telescopes, and more. My son sat listening to this book, and every now and then was engaged, but it was a bit lengthy and a little too in-depth for him ( he was almost three at the time of reading). However, the book is great. It explains complicated scientific information in a really accessible way. I even learned a few new things about telescopes! Since the first time I reviewed this book almost 11 years ago, I’ve used it in preschool classes annually. It’s a great book.
Our Stars by Anne Rockwell is another wonderful nonfiction book from this author-illustrator. The book shares the most basic facts about stars with the reader, as well as more complicated facts about constellations, comets, and meteors. I love that the facts are shared pretty independently on each page, so if something is above your toddler’s head, you can simply skip that page until they are ready for more facts. The illustrations are fun enough to grab attention but detailed enough to help explain the facts being presented.
Need more activities that are even easier to throw together for your preschoolers? Check out Everyday Preschool!
HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO FIND INSIDE EVERYDAY PRESCHOOL:
- Over 170 simple preschool activities that use everyday materials. You don’t need to invest a lot of money to teach your child at home.
- Activities are short, with minimal prep so that you can fit some learning into your busy day.
- The book is organized into nine categories of learning; literacy, math, science, sensory, art, fine motor, gross motor, social-emotional, and bedtime reading tips.
- Everyday Preschool activity book was created using various state standards for PreK and has tips for making activities easier or harder to fit your child.
- An Appendix filled with an extensive book list links to free printables, song lyrics, nursery rhymes, my favorite playdough recipe, and more.
HERE IS A SNEAK PEEK INSIDE EVERYDAY PRESCHOOL