Updated: Oct 10, 2020
Digital Name Tracing Practise for Kids
It is very common for kids three years and up to begin to practise tracing their own names at school. It doesn't matter if kids haven't yet covered the sounds in Phonics or if they aren't picking up pencils and writing legible letters on their own yet - name tracing is a great way to get kids strengthening those hand and finger muscles that will allow them to form recognisable letters and for them to learn to recognise their own name.
This past year, my FS2 class traced a laminated name each morning using whiteboard marker as they arrived at school and then cleaned it and put it away. By the end of term 2, all of them were able to write their name well enough to be read by an adult, even without the tracing sheet there to help them.
Digital name tracing just means that kids trace over the letters of their name on a digital device. This is a great activity for kids to be doing at home, plus it's so easy to set up and it's free! Once you download the sheet your child can do the activity over and over again and will soon be writing their name accurately just like the kids in my class were!
This activity is suitable for kids who are starting school soon as well as kids in the early years, reception and even Kindergarten.
How to get a free digital name tracing sheet for iPad
First, open up this page on the iPad you'd like to use and then open this link in a new tab.
Next, click into the first text box (where it says "Enter First Name / Last Name / Full Name) and type in your child's name.
In the second box, you can choose how many repetitions of the name you entered you'd like to have. I usually choose to have just one because then the letters come up bigger and are therefore easier for kids to trace. If you'd like your kids to trace their name more than once you could choose to have more than one copies on the sheet or you could just let them erase their first attempt and then redo the tracing again.
Switch the orientation to Landscape - again this will make the name come up larger and fill more of the iPad screen.
Choose A4 for the paper size and then click on Next.
On the right-hand side, you'll see a box for Main Font Options where there is an option called Dotted Guide. Click on this and the name tracing sheet will reload in dotted letters that are clear and easy for kids to trace.
Now click on View/Print/Download.
On the page that comes up, click on the Download button beneath the name tracing sheet thumbnail.
You will now be prompted to confirm that you want to download with a pop-up box. Click on Download.
The sheet will now be saved to your iPad as a PDF file which you can open by clicking on the downwards arrow icon in the top right of your browser toolbar (next to the address bar).
You should see your download listed - the name of the file will begin with CreatePrintables.com. Click on the magnifying glass icon to open your downloaded name tracing sheet.
Now take a screenshot of the sheet on your iPad by pressing the home button and the lock button at the same time. The screen should flash and you might hear the camera sound and then your screenshot popup in the bottom left-hand side of your screen.
Click on the screen-shot pop-up and then click on Done > Save to Photos.
Your child's digital name tracing sheet is now saved and ready for daily practise!
How to use your name tracing sheet on iPad
Press the home button to go to your iPad's home screen and click on the Photos app icon.
Find the screenshot you took of the name tracing sheet and tap on it to open it up to fill size.
In the top right-hand corner of your screen now, tap on Edit. If you can't see any menu items at the top of your screen, try tapping once on the name tracing sheet to make the toolbar appear.
Next tap on the icon that looks like a circle with three dots in a horizontal row - this should be in the top right-hand of your iPad screen. In the menu that appears, choose Markup.
Your child can now use the pens and the eraser to trace the letters of their name. I usually use the pen that is furthest to the left and I like to set it to a thicker width by tapping it and adjusting the thickness. Kids can select the colour that they want to write in and then use their finger to trace over each letter.
Use the eraser (next to the three pens) to rub out your child's work when they have finished, especially if you'd like to use this activity over and over again.
Video Tutorial: How to Make Digital Name Tracing Practice Sheets on iPad
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