Remember the feeling of anticipation when the mail carrier would arrive and you knew there was a special envelope in the mailbox? Remember taking your time to carefully open the treasured envelope that was addressed with your name? Remember reading and re-reading the contents and excitedly grabbing your own pen and paper to quickly respond? We thought we would bring back the lost art of letter writing, and the joy of snail mail, to our preschoolers. This fun process is applicable to those who are yet to know their letters and to those who are already proficient writers. It is the meaning behind the pictures or writing that is the most important. You will definitely feel proud when you see the excitement your little pen pal feels delivering his very own piece of mail!
Here are a few tips on how to help your little one participate in the hands-on and meaningful process of letter writing and mail delivery.
Explain to your child why people write letters and a little about how the postal system works. Give him examples of mail he has received such as birthday invitations or thank you cards so he has something tangible to relate to this new information. Read about mail carriers to give some context. Then, read a fun book about a mail carrier that has never received a letter!
Let your child chose a friend or relative who lives nearby to receive his letter. Be sure to ask him why he has selected this particular person to receive his letter or picture. You might be surprised by his explanation.
Help your child chose to make a card, a letter or to draw a picture depending on his abilities and preferences. Choosing special paper for this project will add to the excitement and feeling of importance.
Set aside a sufficient block of time and a creative space for your child to make his mailing masterpiece. Offer him plain paper and crayons or set him up with glue, stamps and stickers galore. Either way, the project will be fun and fulfilling. Don't forget to help him include a "Please write back" note on the bottom to ensure he will receive something special in his own mailbox.
Next, show your preschooler how to address an envelope. He may be able to help with this task or might just get the idea from your example. If the latter is the case, let him go to town "addressing" the other side of the envelope however he sees fit. Show your child how to fold the letter and fit it into an envelope. This may take a few tries, but each crease just adds to the time and love put into the note.
Take your child to hand deliver the specially created piece of mail. Make this a fun outing by reinforcing how surprised the recipient of the letter will feel when he or she finds the envelope in the mailbox.
If your child exhibits special interest in this project, be sure to look up organizations in your area that send mail to soldiers abroad or to children at your local hospital. This can be a creative way to introduce your writer to community service, too!
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