Besides telling Terrific Tales to our Twos and Threes, we like to slide in some early literacy skills. So we like to have name tags for the kids that we keep at the library and that the children find before every storytime.
Which brings me to one more thing that they didn't cover in library school: What exactly makes a great toddler name tag? And let me tell you, I totally sweated this one. I could not find any ideas, not even one! Come on now, Internet! Isn't this what you are for? Anyway, we came up with an idea which I present to you, our dear reader.
Step 1) With one 8.5x11 piece of lightweight cardstock, fold lengthwise.
Step 2) Cut this sheet horizontally into 4 equal pieces (see photo below).
Step 3) Let the toddlers use the glue stick to glue the folded paper together. They can look at the texture. They can feel that it is sticky. They can experience how a glue stick works and use their fine motor skills.
Step 4) Let the toddlers decorate the glued-together piece of cardstock with stickers and markers. We happened to get a big donation of color coding dots from someone's office cleanout. They are great! We also use tons of those fun foam alphabet stickers (thank you, Inventor of Fun Foam, whoever you may be!) and I admit to pulling out the inside cutaway pieces and putting them in the sticker tray.
Here's another tip: We put the art materials in desk trays that we bought from the office store. All the bits and bobs fit so nicely in the compartments!
Step 5) After the toddlers have decorated the glued-together cardstock as they wish, it's time for their name. Adults, now you write their name on a sticker label. Talk to them as you are writing about how their name is spelled. Write the letters. Say the name of the letters. When you're done, give them the sticker to place on the name tag.
Step 6) Use your hole punch to make a wide enough opening to fit the clip. We bought these clips at the office supply store and they are not expensive. You don't have to worry about having something around the children's necks.
Before each storytime, we clip the name tags to our easel (which we've equipped with our pretend clothesline) and the children go and find their name tags. Below is one of our friends making her name tag :)