Lovely letter writing and more…
Who doesn’t love receiving a letter in the post, or a little hand-written note? I know my children get pretty excited if there is something addressed to them or if they can go on an adventure to pop something in the big red letterbox. There is something very special about the writing, sending and receiving of letters for children. The anticipation of waiting for a reply and the sheer delight in seeing their own name on a piece of post is magical. Modern technology is going to be a huge part of our children’s lives, however, learning to write with a pencil and paper is introduced long before typing a text message or an email and that’s as it should be.
It’s so important that we keep letter writing alive and instil it within our kids’ psyche, making it a part of their everyday lives. Not only is ‘snail mail’ exciting for kids, it’s also a skill that, as they get older, will be essential to their daily routine. At some point, they will need to write thank you letters, informal notes to friends, formal letters to teachers, apply for jobs and even make complaints. Writing letters encourages politeness, confidence and good social skills as well as better communication and handwriting.
The primary school curriculum in the U.K. requires children to write different types of letters and to use language suitable for the type of writing they are doing. However, I’m more interested in how writing can be fun at home and there are lots of different types of letters your children could be having a go at.
- Letter to Father Christmas – this has to be the most fun letter of the year! I’ve never seen my children more motivated to write than when they are asking for their favourite toys to be delivered!
- Letters to family members who live far away – this is a great way to share news or achievements and encourage children to think about all the fun, positive things they’ve done recently.
- Thank you notes – it can be a bit of a bore if they have lots to do, however, this encourages good manners and makes other people very happy.
- Letters to a newspaper or magazine – maybe there is a competition they want to enter; kids can be very motivated by lovely prizes they could win!
- Saying sorry – maybe they have upset their sister/brother/dog – use it as an excuse to get them to put pen to paper and say sorry.
- Playing ‘Post Office’ – my kids love setting up a little shop with a post office on the side, complete with a letter box. You can join in by writing little notes and they can then in turn, write back to you.
- Sending a letter to someone who has had bad news, or needs cheering up is a lovely thing to do.
- And on the flip side of that, why not congratulate someone who has had great news or achieved something amazing?
Hand-written letters have a specific charm, which sets them above and beyond emails and text messages. To know someone cares enough to take the time to write to you is very special, especially in this day and age. We keep letters and cards from certain people because they mean something to us, they are a part of our family history or they remind us of a happy time. It’s fun to look back on how our kids’ handwriting has evolved and they enjoy it too. I recently found an old exercise book from when I was 11 and I was so intrigued and interested in everything about it.
If you have a budding writer, on your hands there are quite a few websites you can direct them towards; writing isn’t all about writing letters to people after all! Your child might love writing imaginative stories, scripts, diaries or blogs. They might need a little bit of help here and there, or enjoy word games. Below I have listed some useful websites to entertain your children and get them interested in the world of writing.
If you’d like some more ideas on integrating writing into your kids’ lives at home, I’ve written a list of 15 fun ideas in another blog. Find it here.