Introduce your child to letter writing and early literacy concepts by playing “Post Office.” Your child will compose or dictate “mail,” talk about who will receive it, and put it in a homemade mailbox.
Before starting, create a mailbox by cutting a large slot (larger and wider than any piece of mail) into a cardboard box with scissors or a utility knife. Be especially careful if your child is nearby when you use these sharp tools.
Explain to your child that he is going to play “Post Office” and make and send mail to someone he chooses. Talk with your child before and during the activity about vocabulary words and ideas related to the post office and mail delivery, such as what a post office is and how mail is put into envelopes, addressed, stamped, and put into a mailbox for mail carriers to deliver to homes, schools, and other places. If you and your child have visited a mailbox or the post office, help him remember and talk about this experience.
Help your child identify someone he would like to send mail to—perhaps a family member or friend. Next, encourage your child to create mail, which can be written, drawn, or otherwise put on paper. Younger children can be encouraged to try drawing and pretend writing on the paper. Older children can be encouraged to try to write their name or any letters or words on their paper. If your child is not yet able to write complete words, he can do his own part first, and then he can dictate additional words for you to write on the paper. In this way, your child is learning that we send mail to communicate with each other through written words and sometimes pictures.
Show your child how to fold the paper and fit it into an envelope. Then show him how to put a sticker in the upper right-hand corner of the envelope like a postage stamp. Help your child label his envelope to include to/from information, such as “To Mommy, from Felix” or “To Wyatt’s Daddy.” Encourage your child to take his envelopes and put them into the mailbox slot. Later, he can pretend to be the mail carrier by delivering the mail.