The FUNNEST Preschool Name Activity – Sandbox Name Treasure Dig!

Is your toddler about to enter pre-school, and you want to start working on practicing his name… but NO activity seems to hold his attention?

I have an EASY, DIY game that your pre-schooler will love!

Teach your preschooler how to spell their name with this fun, easy DIY name practice activity! It'll actually keep their attention (who doesn't love to dig for treasures?!), it helps toddlers and preschoolers alike learn how to spell their name, and this fun name practice activity is easy for home or at school!

It’s a known fact that kids learn through play and fun! How many useless songs do you remember from 10 years ago (I know way too much Backstreet Boys!) but you can’t remember important things like historical facts or directions?

It’s because the singing was fun, and reading from books wasn’t (as much)!

With that in mind, I wanted to hone in on what my toddler enjoyed, and turn that into a learning activity.

Every morning, after my twins first nap of the day, we have outside time. It’s great for them to burn energy, and it’s great for me to clean up a little bit while keeping an eye on them around the porch and yard.

I have a sandbox right outside our door, and it’s ALWAYS the first toy all 3 kids go to!

My toddler absolutely loves digging, burying toys, and then digging them back up!

Seeing how much he loved that, I decided to add a learning factor to it…

I created some simple “treasures” that spelled his name, and a “guide” of sorts so that he could match each letter to where it belongs!

This has been a great way to familiarize him with his name, as well as the letters in it and the order they go in.

At some point in the future I may add other letters to throw him off and really test his knowledge, but for now, he is working on matching just the letters in his name!

Anyways, here’s what I did – there’s plenty of ways to jazz this up that I will mention, but I’m going to give you the bare bones of it because everyone likely already has these items in their house!

Materials needed to create name game

  • Cardboard
  • Tinfoil
  • Sharpie
  • Sandbox, or other bin that you can hide the letters in!
diy preschooler name game
Only 3 things needed for this easy pre schooler game… and I bet you have them!

How to Create the Sandbox Name Learning Game!

As I mentioned earlier, I’m going to show how to make the simplest version of this fun game.

You could easily add some extras to it, and I’ll mention those options as they come up!

Step 1: Cut out “treasures” from cardboard

I decided to use circles, as those were easiest to cut out. You can use whatever you like!

Using a cup, trace the number of letters needed to spell your child’s name.

Cut them out and set them aside.

Step 2: Cover in tinfoil and write one letter of your child’s name on each piece

This is pretty self-explanatory! However, if you wanted to make it look more treasure-y, you could get gold shiny spray paint and make them really look like gold coins!

It would also prevent sand from getting stuck in the tinfoil, or the tinfoil just degrading and being ripped off over time.!

Step 3: Create a “guide” so that your toddler can match the letters to it

I just wrote his name on a piece of cardboard, leaving room to put each “treasure” letter in front of it.

I liked that he could match up what he had, and see what was left to find!

Here’s the “guide” at the top, and the “treasures” below, ready to be hidden!

How to practice name spelling with your pre-schooler

Hide the pieces before hand (it may be helpful to leave a little bit showing so that they get a hint!)

Set up the guide nearby, and ask your toddler or preschooler to find each letter!

They’ll love having to dig around!

Each time they find one, tell them what letter it is and ask them to put it in front or on top of the letter it matches.

Once they finish… do it again!

I did this 5 times in a row with my (as of next week!) pre-schooler in one sitting!

easy activity for toddlers to practice letters of their name
Step 1: Ask them to find the treasures! Step 2: Let them match each letter “treasure” they found to the guide!


Do you feel a little less intimidated trying to think of a FUN way to teach your preschooler?

To be honest, I’m not a very patient person, and I was pretty overwhelemed with trying to familiarize him with such a new concept as letters and spelling.

BUT he has such a blast playing and learning that it doesn’t even feel like work!

I hope you enjoy!

Here are more preschooler craft ideas you’ll love!

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