I’ve had penpals since I was about 11. Some times many, sometimes just one, but I still keep in touch with a couple, even after 30 years. Today it’s so easy to connect electronically, but I still like the personal feeling of putting pen to paper and writing. My children have seen me write letters, think about special little items to include from time to time, and the excitement of getting a ‘real’ letter through the post box in the morning. As a part of the Pen Pal Blog Hop, Kallista has corresponded with a girl her own age, and she’s been thrilled with her experience.
It can be tough to know what to say in that first letter to someone you don’t know. What do you talk about? You don’t want to give away too much information and not have anything to talk about later, but you don’t want to say too little, either. To help Kallista out, I created a first letter template for her to use. You can download a copy by signing up for our emails.Before the actual writing of the letter, P’s mom and I set up their letter exchange online. It wasn’t totally ‘blind’ as we have been in a couple of Facebook groups together over the past couple of years. I’d always recommend that children have their parents participate in exchanges for safety reasons. My parents did the same for me-finding me pen pals through educational newsletters, etc.
P’s mom and I exchanged a couple of things about our daughter’s likes and interests so they’d have a place to start.
Even before Kallista began her letter, she’d been thinking of what she could include in her envelope. It was just as challenging as deciding what to put in our package to my sister last month. She chose a couple of puppets (she coloured one and left the other for P to colour). She also had fun painting a picture to send.
We made a trip to the tourist information centre so Kallista could choose a few brochures to include about places here in Northern Ireland, as well as a postcard. You know we love postcards!
Kallista also included a couple of things from Canada as well.
Kallista sat down at the kitchen table and thought about her answers. I helped out by printing them for her first, and then she copied them in her own handwriting (I do hope that P could understand her printing). She was so happy and really engaged with communicating with another child of her own age.
After covering the envelope with stickers, it was time to walk down to the post box and send it on its way!
The anticipation of when she would receive a letter back was immense! Kallista ran to the door every morning when she heard the post arrive.
Kallista’s package from P arrived one morning just as we were headed out the door to the dentist, so she carried it with her to the train. The train had hardly begun to move when Kallista opened the beautifully decorated envelope. You can see her enjoyment in these photos.
Kallista received a letter from P, a beautiful drawing, stickers, brochures, a photo frame, and a little ‘Roxy’ plush toy that she’s taken everywhere with her since!
Kallista has absolutely enjoyed this experience and has already started to create and collect things in an envelope to send to P with her next letter.
There are so many things that can be learned by having a penpal, and so many things that can be exchanged. I’ll be writing more about these topics in the future.
To access your copy, simply sign up for our emails and you’ll find a link and password at the bottom of the emails that will give you access to this free printable, as well as all the past subscriber freebies that we’ve done.
Did you (or do you) have a penpal? What did you enjoy about it? Would you allow your children to have their own penpals? What do you like to send (or receive) through the post? Let’s chat more in the comments below.
October 9th is World Post Day, so if you’re inspired and don’t know where to start, here are some great ideas from my blogging friends:
Getting Started With Pen Pals : P is For Preschooler
How to be a great pen friend : Peakle Pie
Small things to send to pen pals : P is for Preschooler
A top-secret way to practice handwriting: Spy kit : Umbrella Tree Cafe