Family Mail

by Amy on April 16, 2010

{Originally posted November 2009 at Early Bird Homeschool}

I like to provide my girls with lots of “real-life” writing opportunities – helping with the grocery list, writing letters, making signs, etc.  They draw pictures, scribble-write, use invented/phonetic spelling, or copy words from a variety of sources.  I have been wanting to set-up a family mail center for a long time and we finally did it!

I think I have had all kinds of elaborate ideas in my mind, but I decided to go super-simple and use some white mailing envelopes we had on hand.  I cut off the flap and cut a semi-circle on the front half for easy mail delivery and retrieval.  I pulled them out one evening after dinner and we all sat and decorated our own envelope – the girls loved this part!  We should definitely be doing more family art projects.  I taped them up, set out a stack of paper, and we were all set!

We have been enjoying all kinds of letter-writing and reading.  Daddy can write notes if he leaves for work before the girls are awake.  He likes to give them riddles, codes or math problems to solve.  I can leave a note telling about something fun we will be doing.  The girls write lots of lovey notes, plus requests for playing games, making a special treat, or going to the park.  So, the girls are getting practice with writing and reading — plus, who doesn’t love getting mail?

This week I am going to set-out a stack of notes with the words, I am thankful for you because…., printed across the top.  I can’t wait to tuck some of these notes into their pockets and read the ones they write for me!

Why did I wait so long to set this up? :)

April 2010 Update: Our family mail envelopes are still going strong! Some of the girls’ favorite kinds of mail to receive are:

  • a piece of a board/card game as an invitation to play (one Uno card, for example)
  • secret codes to solve or rebus-type messages
  • “You made me smile!” notes
  • Pictures from Daddy – he draws great pictures of characters they love (Smurfs!)

Do you have a mail center at your house?


Kim April 16, 2010 at 7:37 am

Love this idea! Thanks for sharing.

Stephanie April 16, 2010 at 8:06 am

I am so doing this project this weekend, heck tonight! My daughter would love it and it would also help with the bonding between her and her step dad!!! this is great!!

amandab April 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm

We made a letter box for Princess’ room about a year ago, but as it is in her room I kind of forget about it. This system looks much easier, it would fit in a location that everyone can see, and everyone gets mail, so I think it would work much better.Thanks for sharing!

Debbie April 16, 2010 at 2:16 pm

What a great idea! My husband usually leaves early for work, so my kids would love to get their own mail. My daughters are forever writing too, so they would think this is fantastic!

jeana April 16, 2010 at 2:16 pm

LOVE. love, love this! We will definately be adding this to our home too. Thank you so much for the idea!

jenny @ let the children play April 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm

What a wonderful idea – nothing beats real life, meaningful reasons to write for young kids and these must really inspire them.

Amber @ Because Babies Grow Up April 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I’ve made a few attempts at mail centers and had visions of sweet notes. Sammi, 3, loves to find envelops and stuff toys in them and put them in different mail boxes. But since she’s the oldest, we haven’t really moved into communicating through the mailboxes.

Until now. This is a fantastic idea! I’m excited to do this. My husband is also awesome at drawing characters and it would be so fun for the girls to get little pictures from him since he’s gone at school so much. I also love the idea of a piece of a game as an invitation to play.

Amy April 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Thanks for the great feedback, everyone! I hope your families enjoy exchanging mail as much as we do! :)

Julia April 22, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Hi! Great Idea. I’d love to post on Ohdeedoh tomorrow at noon.

Aimee August 11, 2010 at 7:14 pm

I love this idea. I’ll be linking up. I can’t wait to share this idea with my readers…I’ll send them your way. Now, I’m going to take a look around.

Kim LaCroix November 12, 2012 at 5:32 am

I love this idea! I think we will do this for Thanksgiving this year! May I re-post this on my blog? My mission is to provide parents with authentic writing activities to inspire their kids to write from an early age and this fits right in!
Thanks for sharing:)

Felicia June 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

What a fantastic idea! My daughter would love this as she already loves to write notes to everyone in the family but these mail envelopes are just gonna take it to another level of fun for her!

Noob Mommy June 25, 2013 at 9:33 am

Thanks for this awesome idea! Noob Baby is always busy writing and drawing us special cards and letters. I can’t keep up with all her “special correspondences” so eventually they get tucked away in my secret file (re: trash). Well, I love that she can redirect her creativity towards something more meaningful and even make her little sister feel special by sending her letters too. Noob Daddy also loves to write her little notes or draw funny pictures for her before he sneaks off to work in the morning. Now she’ll have a special place just for those love notes!

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