Do you remember how excited you were to get mail as a child? The mail system seemed magical and mystical. You might get a package from Grandma, an invitation to a birthday party, or a letter from a secret admirer. The possibilities were endless! In these days of email and text messages, children still love to get mail! Here’s a great mail activity that will give them the opportunity to get and send mail while also getting some practice with recognizing and forming their written names.
Here’s what you do:
Prepare envelopes for each child. Write the child’s name across the front of the envelope. Inside, place the letters to the child’s name (print in a large font and then cut into individual 1 inch letters).
Let the children know that they are going to write a letter to someone very special…..themselves! First, give the children the opportunity to find their envelopes by reading their names on the front. Along with the envelope, give each child a piece of paper. Have them dump the letters onto the paper and form their names. If they need help, point out their names on the envelopes and help them match, letter by letter.
Once their names are arranged correctly, place a strip of double-sided tape across the top of their papers and have them stick the letters to the tape in the order they have them arranged. Provide materials such as crayons, markers, and stickers for them to create a picture on the paper as well. You may even want to let them dictate a letter to you to be written along with it.
Help the children fold up the letters and seal the envelopes. Point out the parts of the addressed envelope, and explain that because it has their name and address on it, the post office will know right where to send it! Slap a stamp on the top (or, if you’re working with a big group and are leery of cost, have the parents send self-addressed stamped envelopes a week ahead of time) and gather up the mail.
If you have a mailbox nearby, you could take a walking field trip to drop them off, or if you’re taking a field trip to the post office, you may want to let each child deposit them there and then watch where they go once they’re dropped in the slot! (Or, you could promise to send them yourself, if neither of those options work out!) Talk about the mail system briefly and have the children guess how soon they will receive their letters. (“The mail carrier will pick it up from here and take it to the post office. At the post office, they’ll look at your address and give it to the right mail carrier to bring it to your house.”) Your children will bound in the doors as they return to report they got their mail!
This activity (in addition to making the children feel like they just won Publishers Clearinghouse) encourages language and literacy skills, name recognition and formation, as well as social conventions and procedures for sending mail.
Use this as activity along with Nancy Poydar’s Mailbox Magic for a great book activity!
For more mail themed activities, check out the Valentines, Friends, and Communication Unit here!
Top photo by jenme.