By Amanda Gebhardt
The second week of January marks Letter Writing Week, and now is the perfect time to maintain the sense of love and family that was fueled by the stacks of holiday cards sent through the mail last month. Below are six things you can do to bring Letter Writing Week to the whole family.
- Holiday Thank You Notes. What better way to say goodbye to the last year and start the new one off right than through a gesture of appreciation? Children of any age can work with you to send out thank you notes for all of the gifts they received over the holidays. Younger children can color, decorate, write their names, or otherwise add to a note according to their skill level.
- Pen Pals. So many of our friends and family are scattered across the country these days. Encourage your family to stay in touch with letters. If your child is learning another language, you might even look into international pen pal programs to keep those language skills sharp and broaden your child’s horizons.
- Letter to the Future. Each New Year brings a whole host of new resolutions, ideas, and plans. Encourage your family members to write a letter to themselves about their goals for the upcoming year and their plans for achieving them. Seal them up and set them aside until next year where each of you can open them and see where the year took you. It may just become one of your family’s favorite New Year’s traditions!
- Hide ‘n Seek Letters. Play a game where everyone writes each other letters and hides them around the house at random. It can be the traditional note in a lunchbox, or an elaborate “Ode to Mom’s Meatloaf” tucked between pots and pans in the cupboard. Consider setting up house rules, where the person who receives the letter has to write one in return or be stuck doing the other person’s chores for a few days.
- Snow Write. For those families in the northern climates, new fallen snow can be a fun and playful canvas for family letters. You can compose one together in an open area, writing large enough in the snow for planes overhead to see, or you can take turns writing out surprise messages for one another to find.
- Trace It. Young children may not be able to write out their names or even form individual letters on their own yet, but two- to three-year-olds may be able to trace letters that you write out for them. This process helps develop fine motor skills and letter-sound associations, both of which are important for school readiness.
I grew up loving letters. I wrote to my cousin, to my best friend, and even to my husband while we were just dating. What role have letters played in your life? Share your answer or the ways your family celebrates Letter Writing Week with us in the forum.