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Name Bingo

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - Kindergarten
Standard 2 Objective 1

Additional Core Ties

English Language Arts Kindergarten
Reading: Foundational Skills Standard 1 b.

Social Studies - Kindergarten
Standard 2 Objective 2

Group Size

Large Groups


Utah LessonPlans


Activities focus on the importance of children's names and helps build a sense of community in the classroom.


Instructional Procedures

Part One

Part Two

Optional Center Name game board/"Gathering Letters"

  • Die
  • Game markers
  • Gathering Letters Game Board
  • Markers

Additional Resources


Thinking and Learning Together: Curriculum and Community in a Primary Classroom, by Bobbi Fisher; ISBN 0435088440

Becoming Literate: The Construction of Inner Control, by Marie Clay; ISBN 0435085743

Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes; ISBN 13:978-0688-14732-7

If You Take a Mouse to School, by Laura Numeroff; ISBN 0-06-028328-9

Ashok By Any Other Name, by Sandra S. Yamate; ISBN 1-879965-01-1

The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi; ISBN 0-440-41799-6

My Name is Yoon, by Helen Recorvits; ISBN 13:978-0374-35114-4


The Mailbox, the Education Center, Inc.; ISBN 1-56234-161-8

Back-To-School Book, Preschool/Kindergarten, the Education Center, Inc. ISBN 1-56234-161- 8

The Mailbox, the Education Center Inc.; Aug. /Sept. 2006

Background for Teachers

The first few days of school are crucial for setting the tone and climate in a classroom.

Playing name bingo focuses on the importance of a child's name, and builds community in the classroom. Building community in the classroom is crucial during first days of school in order to provide a class atmosphere where children feel welcome. This is a great way to meet new people and discover new things, it also lays an early foundation for a community to grow in the classroom, which is vital for success throughout the school year.

In this activity the students will listen to a story that focuses on children's names and going to school and discuss the importance of a name. This is a get-to-know-you activity that gives every student a chance to be in the spotlight as they play the Name Bingo Game. The children will need to know how to play the traditional bingo game. In this twist of the traditional bingo game, after each name is chosen, the student responds by answering one of several given questions designed to help students learn more about one another. The excitement builds as each student awaits the call of his or her name.

Intended Learning Outcomes

2. Develop social skills and ethical responsibility.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn

Weave a web filled with fun when you involve youngsters in this Name Web game. To begin have students sit in a circle. Hold the end of a ball of yarn and say, "My name is (Your name)." Toss the ball of yarn to a child across the circle. Instruct her to state her name. Then, have her hold the length of the loose yarn with one hand while tossing the ball of yarn to another child across the circle. Encourage students to repeat this process until every child has had the opportunity to say her or his name and to participate in weaving the web. If you feel your students are ready, you can challenge youngsters to repeat the process in reverse to roll the yarn back into a ball.

Instructional Procedures

Part One

Play school bingo. This is an activity that teaches children how to play the traditional Bingo game. The Bingo game uses pictures of materials the children will be using or pictures of things pertaining to school. For example: A school house, a pencil, box of crayons, glue, a playground, table and chairs, an apple, a school bell, etc., As you play the game you hold up a large picture that matches the pictures on their cards, and they put a marker on their card.

  1. Pass out School Bingo Cards.
  2. Give each child some kind of marker for the game.
  3. Hold up large Picture Cards, talking about each one as you hold it up. For example, if you hold up the crayons, you would show them the crayon box that each of them will be receiving to keep in their cubbies.
  4. The students will put their marker on the bingo card that matches the picture card.
  5. All the cards are the same because everyone will have blackout at the same time. The purpose of the game is not to have a winner but to learn how to play the game, and to be introduced to classroom items.
  6. Gather the School Bingo Cards.
  7. Pass out the blank Name Bingo Cards, and explain to the class that they are going to help make class name bingo cards.
  8. Pass out a baggy with each child's name that was cut from a name grid.
  9. Have the children place each name in a box of their choice on their bingo cards. Please note that names must be put in the boxes randomly to prevent multiple bingos.
  10. Allow the students to individualize their cards by decorating them with markers, crayons, stickers, or other classroom materials.
  11. Collect bingo cards so that the game can be played during the next session. (Before the next session all the cards will be laminated to be used as a class set throughout the school year)

Part Two

  1. Introduce the book to the class and read it aloud. For example, the book Chrysanthemum could be used. Have a class discussion of the story.
  2. Sing a name song. Give each child the opportunity to state his/her name. Several name songs and games follow this activity.
  3. Hand out bingo cards randomly to students. It doesn't matter what card they get, because they decorated them the first session to help make a classroom set. Give a brief review of how the game is played.
  4. Hand out plenty of markers for each student.
  5. Invite the students to brainstorm 5 or 6 personal questions designed to get to know one another and list them on the chart paper (for instance, what is your favorite color? What is your favorite book? Do you have any pets?)
  6. Begin the game by randomly calling a student's name and holding up the large name card with the name on it.
  7. Students respond by placing their markers on the called name.
  8. The student whose name was called stands and responds by answering one of the questions on the chart paper.
  9. Continue to play until someone yells, "Friends."
  10. The Name Bingo twist is to reward the student who calls bingo by giving them the opportunity to think of another question to be written on the chart paper.
  11. You can have several Bingos or play for black-out.

Optional Center Name game board/"Gathering Letters"

  1. Give each twosome one die, two game markers, and one copy of the game board and a dry erase marker.
  2. Each player writes his name with a dry erase marker on the graph that is part of the game board, writing one letter per box.
  3. Players place their game marker on the starred game board space.
  4. Player 1 rolls the die and advances his marker the corresponding number of spaces.
  5. If the letter he lands on is in either his partner's name or his own name, he circles the corresponding box on the graph paper.
  6. If the letter is not in either name his turn is over. Player 2 takes a turn in the same manner.
  7. Alternate play continues until both names are completely colored.


Curriculum Extensions/Adaptations/ Integration

  • If you find that this activity is too hard for some children, you could have the students work in pairs.
  • Later in the year the bingo cards could be used again, but this time the names are only read and the children have to find the names themselves.
  • If this was done later in the year, you could hold up names and have the children write the names in their boxes.
  • Have the students do a journal page following the activity. They could write their name and then draw something about themselves. For example, they could draw a soccer ball because they like to play soccer.
  • Instead of a journal page, you could do the same activity but make a class book.
  • Research the meaning of the names in the class. Have the students create a page in their journal where they write their name and draw a picture telling the meaning of their name. Example: Hellstern means bright star; I could draw a picture of a star along side my name.
  • The Name Game could be put in a learning center and the students could work cooperatively in small groups to play.
  • The bingo cards could be used later in the year as a phonics game (for example putting markers on beginning sounds, ending sounds, names that rhyme, etc).
  • Have the students write their name with markers making colored patterns out of the letters.
  • Have the students draw a picture or write a word that starts with each letter in their name.
  • Have the students draw a picture of themselves and then use a descriptive word that begins with their name (example: Silly Sally, Beautiful Bailey, Happy Heather, etc).
  • If you had pictures available to duplicate, you could copy the pictures and give a copy of everyone's picture to each child in a bag. You could use the pictures to put on the cards instead of names.
  • Have the students sit in a circle and play the "Who Are You Game". Select one student to skip around the outside of the circle as the student and his classmates help sing the following song, completing each line with his name:

    (Sung to the tune of "Skip to my Lou")

    My name is (Child's Name), Who are you?

    My name is (Child's Name), Who are you?

    My name is (Child's name), Who are you?

    I'd like to know your name, too!

    On the last line the child stops and gently taps a classmate on the head. That child will exchange places with the first child then skip around the circle singing the song again. Continue the game until every child has had the opportunity to circle around the group and sing the song.

  • A Focus on Favorites -- On a designated day, have each youngster wear is favorite color of clothing to school. Take a photo of each child. Then mount each photo as desired on separate sheet of paper programmed as shown. Help each youngster write his name in the first blank and the appropriate color word in the second blank. ( likes ) Put the students completed papers in a class journal. Title the book "Colors We Like".
  • Play a "Getting to know you game", to help the students build their classroom community. Sample games are listed.

Family Connections

  • The students could be asked to find out why their parents chose their name. For example, were they named after someone, was the name found in a name book, were they named for a character in a movie or book, etc. Write the special story of how they got their name and then bring back the information to share it with the class.
  • Share a web site and invite families to learn more about the popularity of their names. The site includes names rising in popularity, those being used less, most frequent boys' and girls' names by year and state, etc. The web site is

Assessment Plan

  • Did the students actively listen to the book?
  • Did the students actively participate in the discussion of the story?
  • Were the students able to randomly put the labels on their bingo cards?
  • Did the students listen to and follow directions when filling in and decorating the bingo cards?
  • Can the students match the names being held up to the names on their labels?
  • Did the students actively participate in answering the questions during the game and/or creating new questions to add to the list?
  • Did the students actively listen to the responses of others during the game?


Research Basis

Clay, M., (1991). Becoming Literate: The Construction of Inner Control, Heinemann, a division of Reed Publishing (USA) inc. Portsmouth, NH. Retrieved Dec. 2007 from

Marie Clay states, "Children will use their knowledge of letters in family names or classmates' names at later stages as part of their analysis of new words." This classroom activity focuses on the beginning of that process of analysis. Clay explains the reason that such activities engage learners. She goes on to state: "A child's name has singular importance as he embarks on learning about literacy, both for the child's management of his own learning about print and for the observant teacher trying to understand his pattern of progress... It enhances his security and his self-image, giving him a feeling of importance...The use of the children's names in a class activity is a useful way of developing letter knowledge."

Fisher, B., (1995). Thinking and Learning Together: Curriculum and Community in a Primary Classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Retrieved Dec. 2007 from,

Bobbi Fisher notes, "Community is the entire orchestra playing in harmony, with each musician contributing his or her best to the piece. Just as the conductor is responsible for the quality of the music, we as teachers are responsible for the quality of community that develops in our classrooms. What we expect, model, and create becomes the reality. Children will rise to our expectations of the kinds of caring and learning that should go on."

Created: 07/02/2008
Updated: 02/04/2018