When I was little, my aunt sent me several letters in the mail. That was two decades ago, but I still remember the giddiness that those letters spurred! It was a mixture of feeling adult (“See? I get mail, too!”), excitement over what the letter had to say, and awe that such a tiny postage stamp could cause the big arrival of an envelope. (Funnily enough, my aunt only lived an hour and a half away; but when you’re a kid, that’s practically Timbuktu!) In this article, I’d like to discuss the advantages of sending mail to kids, how to make kid-friendly mail art, and what to put inside the envelope!
Why Make Mail for Kids
I think it’s fair to say that snail mail perhaps isn’t as relevant as it was circa 1998, when I first developed an interest in it. Still, there are some distinct advantages to making mail for kids! First of all, it makes them feel special — that’s a given. More importantly, there’s a strong possibility that a letter will reinforce an interest in reading and writing! They’ll want to be able to read what you have to say, and they’ll feel excited to write back to you (with or without the help of an adult, depending on their age).
Furthermore, you’ll help the kids in your life to learn the real-life skill of addressing envelopes. Yes, many things are done electronically these days! However, a need to send things via snail mail — from signed forms to birthday cards — will always exist. Finally, you just might inspire kids to work on their penmanship, which is an enriching (and, some may argue, dying) art!
How to Make Mail Art that Appeals to Children
There are a few tricks to making mail art that engages a child’s senses. Here are some rules that I try to follow!
1. Write in Print
Depending on a child’s age, it’s best to write in print so they can easily identify the letters. You can use a fun hand-lettering style if you want to! In fact, it’s good to show kids by example that they can play with the way they write letters. Adding letter variations can make writing more interesting and open them up to a world of possibilities!
2. Include Appealing Imagery and/or Colors
Children love illustrations and vivid colors, so it’s good to incorporate them in your mail art! If you don’t have time to make an illustration, you can always print one out from The Letter Writer’s Complete Resource, which is where I got the fox shown below.
3. Add a Stamp Collage
Kids are natural collectors, so an envelope with an assortment of postage stamps is sure to delight! As an added bonus, kids can add up the postage on stamps to sharpen their math skills. To learn about how to make stamp collages and where to buy vintage postage for collages, check out this article!
What Goes Inside the Envelope
Once you make an envelope, you might wonder what to put inside! First, consider making an envelope liner to add some heft, uniqueness, and personality.
Second, try to include fun extras like flower confetti or stickers! I always pick up two free stickers at the local ice cream parlor to stick in a letter for my nieces.
Finally, focus on the correspondence itself. Try to write in very clear, printed characters, and be sure to ask lots of questions! Questions will stir excitement in a kid for a couple of reasons. First of all, it makes clear that you have interest in what the child has to say and that you respect their opinions! Secondly, they’ll be interested in making a letter to send back to you, which hones their communication and writing skills.
I hope that you find this article helpful in giving you inspiration to delight the children in your life via snail mail! Whether your young recipients live down the street or across an ocean, they’ll absolutely love what you send. My final tip: don’t get too hung up on doing it “right”! Just the fact that a child has something in the mail will be the pinnacle of cool for them … I promise.
Thanks very, very much for reading TPK! I’m wishing you an amazing week, and we’ll reconvene this weekend with a neat little tutorial. 🙂