At Project Kid, we love bringing you fun crafts with easy steps for holidays, birthdays, and every day. Sometimes though even simple steps can feel overwhelming when your goal is quality family time (not prep time). And while we pride ourselves on offering new ideas, there’s something to be said for unplugged activities that are classic. There’s a reason after all, that “Throwback Thursday” and “Flashback Friday” are some of the most popular tags on social media. Instead of showing kids your memories through a screen, share in person the things you used to love. This is the first post in an ongoing series where we’ll talk about ways to slow down, as a family….
Around the Project Kid household, letter-writing has become a very popular pastime. Oliver has been slowly working his way through his birthday thank-you notes (two months and counting!), and since starting kindergarten, Sommer can’t put down the pen and paper, drawing pictures and sounding out words.
Living in an age of instant gratification where communication is sent and received within an instant, it can be hard to convince kids that some things are worth waiting for, and that anticipation itself can be part of the fun! Before your kids are old enough to dread email, engage them in letter writing.
A few ways to get the ball (-point pen) rolling:
1. Make Postcards
Print out this blank postcard design from Kate’s Creative Space, complete with address lines and a square for the stamp, and let your child create a masterpiece on the front. Or, we love this idea by Yesterday on Tuesday of whipping up a stack of postcards from scratch by reusing cereal box cardboard.
(image via Kate’s Creative Space)
2. Learn about Pen Pals
It might be hard for your child to imagine that there was a time before skype, or even phones, when to talk with a far-away friend you had to send a letter. Pen Pals originally referred to people from different backgrounds writing to each other to learn about other cultures, countries, and even languages (via Albert Flynn DeSilver). Pen pals don’t have to be international though! One famous pair of pen pals was President Ronald Reagan and six year old Rudy Hines from Washington DC who exchanged letters for five years. The picture below shows the President and First Lady eating with Rudy at his home in 1984.
(image via Reagan Library)
Your kids can be pen pals with relatives, friends who’ve moved away, or even friends who live down the block—hand delivered mail still counts! If they are feeling a little more adventurous, sign them up for Mr. Boddington’s Secret Society of Letter Writers. Can we join too?
Here are a few easy pen pal prompts from Making Mondays to help your kids introduce themselves (or update relatives about evolving tastes)…
3. Send Something Unconventional
Getting personal mail you weren’t expecting is always a treat, getting personal mail that is actually surprising is even more fun! After exploring 2D options, blow your kids’ minds by showing them how to send some extra special snail mail. As long as the item is under 13 oz you can use first class stamps. Frisbees, flip flops, plastic eggs, or plastic bottles filled with art supplies – there are so many possibilities. For bigger items (i.e. coconuts, pinatas – yes it’s possible) you’ll need to have a postage label printed.
Fun Fact: For nine years Wired magazine held a “Return to Sender” contest during which they asked readers to send in the strangest “permissible objects of postability” they could get through the mail.