Saturday, January 28, 2012

Kid Friendly Letter Writing Center

This has been on my "to do list" for over three years now.  We have always lived apart from our families, and I thought having a special place set up for the kids to write letters to their family and friends that live far away was essential.

I have always been a letter writer.  I have so much stationery that I could probably write a letter a day to everyone I know for a year and still not be out of it.  We rarely buy cards. I encourage the kids to make their own, so for the little ones that can't spell yet, I am constantly telling them what to write and how to spell it.

Last year, when shopping for homeschool stuff, one of the main things I wanted to buy for my second grader was a book of letter writing etiquette.  I searched online and went into a few teaching stores, and such an item was not available.  I had the idea to make my own basic templates, but never sat down to do it.

I am currently taking an e-course at Playful Learning Spaces to help me create playful spaces for my kids throughout the house and as a major motivator to unpack.  My first week was very successful because it motivated me to finally create this letter writing center for the kids.  About two weeks ago, I saw a similar idea on pinkandgreenmama blog, which made me want to make mine even more.

The idea is to create places the are fun and inviting to the kids where they want to sit and create.  This is great because they have all the things they need to do it on their own, while I'm cooking dinner or changing the baby ;)

In the letter writing center, I included normal and very small sized notecards.  The very small ones are for our Valentine's mailboxes that I posted about earlier in the week.  The kids are SOOO excited to use them and get mail.  The normal ones are for sending to family and friends.  We love getting mail, but so do other people- sometimes if you want to get mail, you've got to send it.  We love supporting the US Postal Service because we have a lot of family members (a lot) that work for them !

Here's a quick tour:
In the top left, I hung a calendar, family and friend's birthdays are marked down so the kids can decide if they want to send someone a card.
I used a five drawer organizer that I had from homeschooling, you can get them at Target, Michael's, JoAnn's for around $12.  I used adhesive velcro to attach the labels to the drawers.

Here's a close up of some of the drawers:
Stickers- we use them to decorate homemade cards and the outsides of envelopes.  For the time of year, I only put out Valentine's and Birthday stickers:
Mini notecards:
The top drawer houses our Addresses.  I created a 4x2 table in power point and put a picture and the name of the people in the picture in each grid.  After I printed the pictures, I turned the paper over and printed the addresses on the backs.  (If you do this, when creating the tables, whoever is on the right in the picture table, their address would be typed in on the left in the address table, remember it will print on the opposite side when printing on the back).
I cut the pictures out and laminated them.  I placed them all in the top drawer, now readers and non-readers can identify who they want to write to.  There are family and friends new and old included.

On the top of the organizer, I put laminated letter writing templates.  Sorry about the shot, I tried to rotate it and it was making me sick to look at it.  I didn't have time to take another photo.   There are templates for birthday, thank you, miss you, congratulations, and a general letter.
An envelope guide:
A caddy full of writing and coloring supplies:
A box full of pretty blank cards.  We reused a cardboard box that our garbage bags came in to make this from scrapbook paper and ribbon.
The front white cards are homemade from my kids' artwork.  I scan in the pictures, save them as jpeg, then I paste them into power point to make the cards.  In the bottom right hand corner of each, it says "from the desk of...." The kids have been eyeballing these all week! (These would also make great homemade gifts!)
Under the table where the writing center is, I put a basket of books about mail:

Dear Mrs. LaRue
Millie Waits for the Mail
The Jolly Postman
Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type
The Post Office Book

I hope this inspires you to create something great in your house too.

1 comment:

  1. What an organized and inviting writing center! My children would spend much time there. hehe I was wondering where you got the letter writing templates?

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