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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

(Editor’s note: please welcome Elise with a very creative guest post today. Thanks Elise!)

Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language. – Dale Carnegie

The names we are given can be life defining. We may love or hate our names; they may come with family history or deep meaning. But we still react on a visceral level to seeing and hearing our own names. One great way to celebrate our monikers is to use them as art. There are many options for kids and adults to use names as decorations and art projects. Here are only a few ideas that anyone can use make an artistic tribute to their autograph.

Name Their Room – Nothing says ownership like having your name plastered around your room. You can paint it on with stencils, design a banner or get vinyl letters and let kids write their name with those. There are plenty of places to get letters or customized banners at a pretty low price. If you want to go DIY all the way, kids can trace and cut the letters out of construction paper. In any of these projects, kids and parents can do the actual hanging and decorating together.

Wood Plaques – We see them at fairs along with craft and gift shops, but names cut out of wood make a fun keepsake any time. Buying the names in plain wood-grain lets kids and parents add color and artwork later to customize their own piece.

Name Research Projects – For computer savvy older kids you can organize a named based research project. Have kids look into the origins of their name, first and last. They may find cool info like a family crest or interesting name meanings. In addition to history, there are a lot of sites out there offering interesting tidbits about personality traits associated with names. Encourage a child to put their information together on a background which can be printed out in color, framed and hung on a wall. Extend the length of the project by having them do mom and dad’s names too. You might just want to keep an eye on their research though; some sites like Urban Dictionary aren’t always PG-13.

Acrostic PostersAcrostics are good for kids of all ages. For young kids it’s a great way to help improve letter association. For older kids there is the challenge to create a fluid poem. By having a child use the letters of their name to write an acrostic that expresses how they see themselves they create a literary work of art. As a bonus, this project can also give parents an interesting insight into their child’s self image.

Name Rocks – If you want to get outdoors then head to the garden for a fun name art activity. It’s great when you can have kids help with the gardening, but if they have a habit of doing more harm than good, let them assist with something other than weeding and planting. Get some paint and a few medium sized rocks for lining the garden or for strategic placement within a flower bed. Then let the kids draw their names and other pictures on the rocks. Ask them to create a rock for everyone in the family and they’ll have a project to work on outdoors while you do the grunt work.

Name Their Stuff – Kids have a nasty habit of losing things don’t they? We all know that moms like to label everything from lunch boxes to underwear but why not have the kids do it? With a few instructions, a fabric marker or a labeling device the little ones can name their own stuff. They’ll have fun claiming all of their worldly property, while mom can mark something off her own to-do list.

Since there’s nothing more personal than our own names, it makes sense that they are the perfect inspiration for any project. Arts and crafts can be a great way for moms and dads to spend quality time with their kids. They can also be a sanity-saving way to keep curious children occupied. Whether it’s for family fun or simple distraction, name art is the perfect creative adventure. Use any of these awesomely fun name projects or invent your own!

Elise is a writer for Ebuysigns where they have vinyl letters and banners of all kinds. Elise has been writing and blogging for several years. She also loves spending time with her daughter Kaylie and a handful of paint brushes.

Photo provided courtesy of mark.stevenson1983 via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

Earnest Parenting: tips for parents who want to celebrate their children’s names.