How to Make Name Activities with Free Printable Name Cards


Name activities can help kids get to know each other at the beginning of the year. Use my templates to make your own name-matching game and use them for a variety of literacy activities with your kids.

A set of name matching cards is a great tool to help kids become familiar with each other at the beginning of the year. You can also use them for many sorting and letter activities.  Make your own set of name matching cards for name activities for preschool using the two templates below.

Make a name matching activity.


To make name matching cards you will need the following supplies:

  • square digital photos of each child
  • white printing paper
  • colored paper or card stock
  • square picture template document (Word file)
  • name grid template document (editable PDF)
  • laminator

The Picture Template

If you want to include photos of your kids for this activity, I have created a template that easily prints the pictures in the correct size.   But….before using the template, you will need to have square pictures of your kids.  I set my phone to take a square picture, then I transfer those to my laptop via Dropbox.

The square picture template is a Word file.  When you open it up. you will see a bunch of smiley faces on a grid.  Right-click on a smiley face, select the “change picture” option, and then select one of your square pictures from your Dropbox or from the files on your computer.  Once you make the selection, the smiley face will automatically (or magically) switch to your selected picture.

Use square pictures of your kids for this name matching activity.

When you are done adding all of your pictures to the template, print two copies and cut out all of the pictures.

The Name Grid

The name grid for your name matching activity.

Next, you need to print squares with each kid’s name on them.  Again, I made a template to help you out.  The name grid template is an editable PDF file.  You can add names to the document by clicking on the blue rectangle in the middle of each square and typing in the names of your children.  Again…print two copies and cut them out.  I like to print the names onto cardstock so that sneaky kids can’t see through the paper.  To get your copy of the name grid and the square picture document, click on the link below:

Name Matching Activity Download

Occasionally, people experience trouble with the editable documents.  Most of the time, those issues can be resolved by using the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  If you experience a problem, check out this troubleshooting guide.

Assemble the Name Matching Activity

To complete the matching cards, attach a picture to the back of each name square with a glue stick or double-stick tape.  Laminate the cards for durability and cut them out.  You may also be able to attach the name squares and pictures to blocks or other items to make name matching blocks.   A few years ago I used solid surface countertop sample squares to make name matching blocks.  If you have connections to get some of those….they were awesome!

Name Activity Ideas

Name matching activity ideas.

Simple Picture Matching – Kids enjoy looking at pictures of themselves and their friends.  Spread all of your cards out on a table or on the floor with the picture sides up.  Ask kids to find the picture pairs.

Simple Name Matching – Spread the cards out with the name side up and ask kids to find the matching names.  They can turn the cards over to look at the pictures to check their match and to help them read the name on the card.

Sorting by Picture–  Kids can sort the pictures by boys/girls, hair color, or clothing color.

Sorting by Name – Kids can sort the names by the first letter, or by all the names with a particular letter.  If you focus on a particular letter each week, sorting the name matching cards by letter could be a great way to reinforce the letter of the week.

It is definitely worth the time to make a set of name matching cards because kids enjoy using them again and again.  I would love to hear how you use the cards for name activities in your home or classrooms.

More Name Activities From the Store

Find additional hands-on name activities in my store.  Click on the images below to check them out.

name activity for preschoolers
name activities bundle
printable name puzzle activities bundle