We call these fellows "spacemen." That's because they create space between words. All my kids use them at the beginning of the year with some of our handwriting routines. Some kids choose to use them during writing workshop too. As the year progresses, they're rarely used at all. They're quite handy when first growing accustomed to spaces though. I can't take credit for the idea. I borrowed it from a creative kindergarten teacher years ago. Now feel free to borrow it from me.
Thanks Tara for the linky.