Name Rocks - Make these fun name rocks for your students to use in a writing center! Students will have a perfect model of who to write their name on one side and can illustrate the other side! Simply Kinder shares how we made them, what we learned doing them with first graders, and free printables to use them in centers!

Name Rocks!  How much fun are these?  Rocks are the latest crazy it seems like and so it only seemed like a fun activity to help students learn their own name and the names of their peers!

We wanted our rocks to have a clear name put on them, so we added some lines so the kids can see the correct placement of the letters.  We planned on using them in centers, so I wanted the kids to be able to have that model and not try to decipher other students writing.

Name Rocks - Make these fun name rocks for your students to use in a writing center! Students will have a perfect model of who to write their name on one side and can illustrate the other side! Simply Kinder shares how we made them, what we learned doing them with first graders, and free printables to use them in centers!

But what is super fun is the backs of the rocks. We let the kids decorate them on the back.  They got to draw things that were meaningful to them or things they liked, or whatever!

What you need:

  1. Rocks.  We got ours at Home Depot.  They are small size river rocks.  They are about the size of my hand.
  2. Paint to give them a base coat.  I used both tempera paint and spray paint.
  3. Paint Pens. Red, blue, and black.
  4. Lots of Sharpie Markers.

Prep your rocks:

  • Wash your rocks and let them dry. They will be dirty and you need a clean surface for the paint to stick to.  We just washed them in the front yard with our hose and let them dry!  Very technical.
  • Paint the rocks with a base coat.  We started with tempera paint.  It worked but we needed to do 30 so we ran out and bought a can of spray paint.  It was much faster!
  • Draw lines on one side of the rock.  Blue top and bottom and red dotted line in the middle.
  • Write the kids names in black.

We prepped our rocks and home and headed into Ms. O’Bannon’s (The Kinder Garden on Instagram) first-grade classroom!

Name Rocks - Make these fun name rocks for your students to use in a writing center! Students will have a perfect model of who to write their name on one side and can illustrate the other side! Simply Kinder shares how we made them, what we learned doing them with first graders, and free printables to use them in centers!

Introducing your kids to the activity:

We showed the kids the rocks with their names and they got really excited!  We told them NOT to write on the side with the name but they could decorate the back however they wanted!  They could make it into an animal, a person, draw things they like, etc.  We told them their imaginations could go wild.  We had them think and then started handing out materials.  

Each student got their rock and we put the permanent markers around on all the tables. (I have a class set of permanent markers because we do project with them all year).  I always tell the kids (1) it’s permanent, so be careful), (2) they can’t erase so think before you write, and (3) if they need a color they don’t have at their table they can get up and quietly go get it.

(Be sure to keep reading to see what I would do differently).  

The kids did an amazing job on their rocks still!  Here are a few of my favorites:

Name Rocks - Make these fun name rocks for your students to use in a writing center! Students will have a perfect model of who to write their name on one side and can illustrate the other side! Simply Kinder shares how we made them, what we learned doing them with first graders, and free printables to use them in centers!

Name Rocks - Make these fun name rocks for your students to use in a writing center! Students will have a perfect model of who to write their name on one side and can illustrate the other side! Simply Kinder shares how we made them, what we learned doing them with first graders, and free printables to use them in centers!

Name Rocks - Make these fun name rocks for your students to use in a writing center! Students will have a perfect model of who to write their name on one side and can illustrate the other side! Simply Kinder shares how we made them, what we learned doing them with first graders, and free printables to use them in centers!

Name Rocks - Make these fun name rocks for your students to use in a writing center! Students will have a perfect model of who to write their name on one side and can illustrate the other side! Simply Kinder shares how we made them, what we learned doing them with first graders, and free printables to use them in centers!

(Get it?  It’s a YouTube Symbol and star! LOL)

I have read online that it is best to finish them with a glaze.  But, as busy as we are I didn’t see the need for that.  The permanent markers go onto the rock very nicedly.  You could finish them with a clear glaze or Modge Podge, but we did not it is seeming to be AOK.

What would I do differently?  

  • I would have shown the kids samples of rocks on Pinterest.
  • I would have had the kids plan their rock FIRST.  I gave them the My Name Rocks page after they finished their rock.  In hindsight, I should have given them that first so they could plan.  The markers are permanent, so you can’t undo something so planning is important!

Name Rocks - Make these fun name rocks for your students to use in a writing center! Students will have a perfect model of who to write their name on one side and can illustrate the other side! Simply Kinder shares how we made them, what we learned doing them with first graders, and free printables to use them in centers!

Turning it into a center:  

We placed all of our rocks into a very sturdy bin and they will become a place for kids to practice writing all the fantastic names we have in our class.  (This bin came from Target several months ago).

Name Rocks - Make these fun name rocks for your students to use in a writing center! Students will have a perfect model of who to write their name on one side and can illustrate the other side! Simply Kinder shares how we made them, what we learned doing them with first graders, and free printables to use them in centers!

Students can use the free printable to write the names and record what they drew on their rock!  (Keep reading for the printable).

Name Rocks - Make these fun name rocks for your students to use in a writing center! Students will have a perfect model of who to write their name on one side and can illustrate the other side! Simply Kinder shares how we made them, what we learned doing them with first graders, and free printables to use them in centers!

These free printables are available in our Teachers Pay Teachers store!