Name Cards: Make Name Cards for Your Word Wall

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Kids love seeing their name cards up on your classroom word wall. Use the free updated templates to make your own name cards. Use them for your word wall and for a variety of literacy activities.


Do you add your students’ names to the word wall or alphabet wall in your early childhood classroom?   Adding names to your word wall can generate a great deal of excitement from the kids in your class.  Here are instructions for using a free template to make name cards for your classroom.

Use this free template to make name cards for your preschool, pre-k, or kindergarten word wall. The free printables are great for your writing center, circle time activities, literacy centers. Great for name spelling, name recognition and name writing, and phonemic awareness activities when teaching in an early childhood classroom. Use the fun name cards in pocket charts, on bulletin boards too. Children will especially love that they can see their pictures and names on your word wall.

Why I Made the Template

When I made the name cards at my former preschool, I created them using my Adobe Illustrator program.  This was great at the time because I was there to do it.  But when I moved across the country, my co-workers didn’t have the software to make more cards.

So, I created an editable template for them and they were able to make name cards on their own. My first template involved a 2-step process.  Teachers had to print photos out separately and cut and paste them onto the name cards.  Some of the photos in this article still show the cut and paste versions.  I will update them soon.

I’m excited to tell you that I recently updated the template files.  Now it so much easier to make name cards because you can easily add a child’s photo directly into the name card documents before printing.  No cutting and pasting are required!  The name card templates are included in my Early Childhood Word Wall resource, but you can get them free by subscribing to the Early Learning Ideas newsletter.

System Requirements

Please note that you will need to open the editable document in the newest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  When people tell me that the document isn’t working correctly or that the fonts don’t look like my examples, it is because Adobe Acrobat Reader is not being used.  Please see my troubleshooting tips to learn where you can get the free program and to solve any printing problems that you might experience.

Prepare Square Photos

The first thing that you need to do to make your custom name cards is to prepare a square picture of each child in your class.  This is pretty easy to do if you take your pictures with an iPhone.  Set the phone’s camera to take a square picture before you take the shots, or use the edit mode after you take the shot to crop it into a square.

*Note:  A few people have experienced problems with images loading into the document sideways.  It doesn’t happen on my computer, but my husband and I were able to duplicate the problem on his computer. It seems to have something to do with the orientation of your camera (usually an iPhone) The phone automatically rotates the photo to the show it correctly, but not all applications do this. To fix this problem, make sure that the volume buttons face down when you take pictures with an iPhone. If you have already taken photos….. We were able to fix ours by opening them, rotating them, and then saving them or exporting them as new images. We used the new image in the name card and it worked.

Once I have a square photo I send it to my dropbox so that I have access to it on my PC.  If you use your digital camera instead of a phone, you can use your photo editor to crop pictures into a square.  Save the cropped photos in a file where you can easily find them for the next step.

Get the Name Card Template

Next, you will need to get my Name Card Templates.  I will send these to your inbox.  Click on the link below to let me know where to send them.  You can also use these name cards to make environmental print word cards!

Name Card Template

When you get the document, you will see that I included three different color options (green, red, and black) in the document.  The template colors and fonts are the same as my Printable Early Childhood Word Wall so that the name cards will match that set perfectly.

Be sure to save the templates on your computer and open them in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Add Names to the Name Cards

Open one of the template documents and scroll down to the page with the name cards form on it. Click on the first blue rectangle and type the name of a student.  Then, you can tab down through the rest of the rectangles to add the rest of your kids’ names.

As you add names to the form, they automatically transfer to the name cards in the document. Add all of your names and then browse through the document to make sure all the name cards look okay. Don’t worry; the blue rectangles will not print.

If the text on the name cards does not look like the text pictured below, you probably aren’t using Adobe Acrobat Reader. Please see the troubleshooting tips.

Add Photos to the Name Cards

Now it’s time to add a photo to each name card. Your square images should be prepared and ready in a file on your computer. Click on one of the photo icons on the left side of a name card. This action will open up a  box on your screen. Click on “Browse.”

Locate a photograph in your computer files.  When you select the image, it will be inserted into the form.  It’s pretty cool…huh? Add images to the remaining word cards, then print, laminate, and cut them out. Now, they are ready to cut out and add to your word wall.

*Note:  A few people have experienced problems with images loading into the document sideways.  It doesn’t happen on my computer, but my husband and I were able to duplicate the problem on his computer. It seems to have something to do with the orientation of your camera (usually an iPhone) The phone automatically rotates the photo to the show it correctly, but not all applications do this. To fix this problem, make sure that the volume buttons face down when you take pictures with an iPhone. If you have already taken photos….. We were able to fix ours by opening them, rotating them, and then saving them or exporting them as new images. We used the new image in the name card and it worked.

Use this free template to make name cards for your preschool, pre-k, or kindergarten word wall. The free printables are great for your writing center, circle time activities, literacy centers. Great for name spelling, name recognition and name writing, and phonemic awareness activities when teaching in an early childhood classroom. Use the fun name cards in pocket charts, on bulletin boards too. Children will especially love that they can see their pictures and names on your word wall.

You can also use the free printable to make some environmental print word cards for some additional literacy activities for your kids.

Here is a Video Tutorial

I’m a visual person and sometimes it’s easier for me to understand when I watch a video tutorial.  I created this video to help you out.

Additional Ideas for Using the Name Cards

You may want to make several sets of name cards for your class.  In addition to using them on your word wall, here are several other name activities for preschool:

  • Use them for a sign-in procedure at the beginning of class.
  • Add them in your writing center.
  • Use them with magnetic letters for an alphabet sorting activity.
  • Place them at a table or on the floor show kids where to sit at circle time or snack time.
  • Attach them to the kid’s cubbies.
  • Bind them together to make a little book for your reading area.
  • Laminate a name card without pictures and laminate the individual picture squares separately.  You now have a cool name matching game.

Purchase the Entire Word Wall

Do you want the complete early childhood word wall pictured in this post?  Click the image below to purchase it from my store today.

word wall resources
alphabet activity bundle for preschool and prek
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