Snail Mail for Kids: Stationery, Stamps and Other Relics of the Non-Digital World

Julie Pippert
September 8, 2009

My kids love things with their names on it. It makes it special, theirs. It makes them feel important, recognized, and gives that stake of ownership kids so crave. What better way to indulge that than through stationary, letters, cards, and other "old-fashioned" niceties?

In kindergarten, my daughter began a snail mail pen pal letter exchange with a friend from out of state. Although we keep up with this friend online, too, there's something special about a private letter between the two girls and even more special about the mailbox containing something just for my daughter.

Not only was this a good way for her to practice her writing, but it also taught her the proper way to address a letter. We talked about how to address an envelope and the different styles of letters, depending upon who you are writing to, and why you are writing.

But even more exciting than that to her (and me, too, I admit) were the materials. In craft stores, we'd scan clearance racks for cheap stationary, paper, or accessories such as stamps we could use to decorate the cards.

We could take plain printed paper, fold it into a card, and she'd draw, color, stamp, decorate, and even glue feathers on it. Then she'd write a note and send it on to her friend. We found cute stationary cards with her initial on it, and for a while that was her favorite. We pressed flowers, and ironed wax paper over them onto paper for pretty flower cards.

Get creative with the message, too. Try rhyming poems, fictional stories, cartoons, graphic novel style letters, and even for extra fun some "mad lib" style letters. I'd ask my daughter for the traditional noun, verb, adjective, etc. and we'd create one for her friend to fill out, too. (Good grammar lesson!)

She loved going to the post office and choosing special stamps for the envelope, as well. We talked about postal employees, the jobs they do, and the process of sending mail through the postal system. Our post office employees patiently answered her questions about what happened "behind the curtain." She found the pretty packing envelopes at the post office and shipping store, and saved her allowance to buy fancy packages to use.

It became so much more than just writing and mailing a letter.

It's quick and easy to send an email, and often that's the best way to communicate. But when you pause to create a personalized handwritten note, it's so very special both in the creating and the receiving.

Some good online resources for kids' letters:

Free printable stationary

Free printable mad libs from Classroom Jr.

Make your own Personalized Stationery, Notepaper, Cards, Place Cards using Pressed Flowers and Leaves

How to make and design your own envelopes (a video)  (look at the other links for other fun homemade ideas!)

From the Parents

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