Name Practice with A Giant Push Pin

Push pin Name practice.jpg

Do you include Kindergarten readiness as part of your home daycare program? Many of my daycare parents are eager to have their child exposed to early learning concepts.  Learning how to recognize and print your name is a great skill to have when starting Kindergarten.  However, some children are not interested in learning this skill at age three or four.  Lack of interest and poor fine motor skills often go hand in hand.

One way to help the situation is to build up a child’s fine motor control with other activities before they get to the hand writing stage.  If they have had lots of practice using the muscles in their hands and fingers, they find it easier to grip a pencil.  I have a little boy in my care who enjoys one particular fine motor letter activity–push pin letter practice.  This activity was introduced to us through Rockabye Butterfly’s blog.

It’s very quick and simple to prepare.  I wrote out his name on a plain piece of paper.



Lay the paper on the carpet so the push pin won’t make holes in your table.


I gave him this giant push pin and demonstrated how you poke the pin through the paper.  The push pin is quite large and easy for him to grasp in his little hands. You might be able to find giant push pins at your local office supply store or you can follow my link above to order one online. I made a hole at the beginning point of each letter so he would remember where to begin poking the letter in his tracing practice.


The sound of the push pin poking through the paper is very appealing, as is the concept of making holes. This activity kept him focused and thinking about each letter. Using the push pin gave his finger muscles a work out, his concentration was exercised and his mind had a chance to think about each letter.  The activity was fun for him, he loves piercing letters.  When you hold the paper up to the light, you can see all your hard work!


One of the older children asked to have a turn with the giant push pin.  She drew her own picture, then poked the push pin in to trace the picture and then added a face. This activity could be extended to create works of art or math concepts.  A push pin and a piece of paper, what could be easier?


  1. i like this push pin idea. its quick and easy to set up an my kind of thing. might help with cutting. first push pin then cut it out.

    • HowToDaycare says

      Great idea Joanna! I have a little one right now who is struggling with cutting. I’m going to try this idea this week. Thanks for sharing. The amount of knowledge and ideas we have collectively as a child caregiver group is amazing. I love that we can exchange ideas and make each other’s days easier!

  2. This is a great post. That giant push pin is really a good idea. Thanks for sharing this and keep posting.

  3. That’s So much fun! – We do that here too (I heard of this first at – But I use umbrella toothpicks instead of push pins, still pokey enough but a bit safer. (The kind you see in tropical ‘grown-up drinks’). Super cheap and they all ask to take the little umbrella home, the size is fascinating. Even my son at around 20months would lay on the floor and do it just like the ‘big kids’ for a good 5+ minutes (!).

    • HowToDaycare says

      Umbrella toothpicks, what a good idea! I have a few in my craft bin and now I know what to do with them-Thanks!