The following post is by contributor Amy Anderson of Let’s Explore.
Every day, my daughters excitedly walk to the mailbox and check to see if they received any letters. There is just something special about receiving a hand-written note in the mail. I love it, too!
Writing letters is a wonderful way to maintain connections with family and friends. And, letter-writing provides meaningful reading and writing practice.
To make letter-writing a regular part of our weekly routine, I put together a kit with all the supplies we need. Toddlers and preschoolers can use a kit like this alongside mom or dad, and older kids can develop independence with all the helpers and fun inspiration.
We keep our letter-writing kit in an inexpensive plastic envelope from the office supply store. I added a ribbon handle, just for fun. It’s portable, so the girls can take it to their desks, or we can throw it in the car when we’re heading out on vacation. A basket, caddy, or small suitcase would work as well.
Here is a peek at all the goodies in our letter-writing kit:
Photo by Amy Anderson
First things first – stock your kit with a variety of paper, cards and envelopes. Replenish and add new choices often.
• Envelopes – My kids prefer the peel-and-stick envelopes to the ones you have to lick. Save reply envelopes you get in the mail. Include a couple large manilla envelopes for mailing artwork to special people.
• Cards – I like to include a selection of postcards, extra greeting cards, and colored construction paper folded in half. We often make our own postcards using large index cards and note cards using paintings or other artwork.
• Stamps – You can include both postcard and first-class stamps. If your child might mistake postage stamps for stickers, you might want to keep the stamps in a separate location!
A few special supplies can make letter-writing even more fun. Try adding some of these extras to your kit:
• Special pencils and pens, such as gel pens and mechanical pencils
• Stickers, especially all-purpose stickers (dots, hearts, stars, happy faces), as well as birthday or holiday-themed stickers
• Stamps with sayings, such as Thank You, I Love You, or even your child’s name
• Date stamp (my girls love turning the dials to set the date!)
Photo by Amy Anderson
Who should I write to? How do I write Grandma’s name? Does anyone have a birthday soon? Answer these questions and more by adding some kid-friendly helpers to your kit:
• Photo address book – We made simple cards with photos and names for a kid-friendly address book. The back of each card has the person’s address. Keep your cards on a binder ring, or put them in an inexpensive photo album.
• Birthday calendar – A list of our nearest-and-dearests’ birthdays helps us remember to send birthday wishes on time!
• Address labels – For younger kids, print address labels for grandparents, friends, and other people you often write to. Then, it’s just as simple as sticking a label on an envelope! Personalized return address labels are fun too – order them or print your own at home.
• Letter words – The back of our plastic envelope has a list of often-used words, such as Dear, Love, and From.
Photo by Amy Anderson
We like to make our letters extra-snazzy with fun add-ins.
• Artwork – I often tuck extra pieces of the girls’ artwork into the letter-writing kit so they are ready and waiting to be sent off.
• Photos – I like to print a sheet of small candids (usually 2″x3″) showing things the girls have been up to. I cut these apart and the girls can tuck one into a letter or even glue it onto a piece of artwork.
• Jokes – A riddle or knock-knock joke is a fun thing to include in a letter. The girls’ cousins and friends especially like sending jokes back and forth.
• Quizzes – There is just something about little fill-in-forms that appeal to kids. My girls love making and answering quizzes with questions like, What is your favorite ice cream flavor? or What do you like to do outside?
• Activity Pages – Sometimes we include a coloring page, maze, word search, or other activity we know the recipient would enjoy.
Wouldn’t these letter kits make excellent birthday gifts?
You can download a pdf that includes my letter kit label, birthday calendar, and helper words to get you started on your own kit. Enjoy!
More Letter-Writing Inspiration:
Family Connection Letter Writing Center :: Craftzine
Family Mail :: Let’s Explore
Letter Writing with Young Children :: Playful Learning
Mail Kit :: good + happy day
Quill Pencils :: The Write Start
Do you and your kids write letters to friends and family, or do you mostly communicate via e-mail? What kinds of things would you put in a letter-writing kit?