When I was in second grade or so, my aunt started sending me letters. Those letters made me feel incredibly special! My parents were getting mail all the time, and I felt very grown-up that I also had envelopes arriving for me. Fast forward a couple of decades, and my own niece has just finished the first grade. When she wrote me a letter last week, I was excited to write back and give her that grown-up feeling that I craved at her age.
Today, we’ll talk about how to write fun letters to kids that will be the highlight of their day. Here are my top tips for making any kid feel special via snail mail:
1. Write in Large Print
If you’re writing to a younger kid like my niece (age 6-9), write in large, legible print so the child can easily read what you’ve written.
If the child is 10+ years old, try writing in large, legible cursive. Several 10 year-olds aren’t taught cursive in school, but receiving your letter might get them excited about learning it on their own. If you’re not sure that the child will be able to read cursive, you can always include a printed “translation”.
2. Include Illustrations or Goodies
When I write letters to kids, I always include some sort of illustration or treats like stickers. My niece loves Greek mythology figures — particularly Medusa — so I doodled a little snake for her.
Enclosures are always a good idea when it comes to kids! You can include something DIY, like flower confetti, or tuck in stickers or postage stamps.
3. Ask Lots of Questions
When you include questions in a letter to a kid, you stoke their excitement to write you back. Try to think of a handful of questions that the child will enjoy answering.
Here are some general question suggestions:
What did you do today?
What’s your favorite _____ (food, song, book, etc)?
How are things at school … do you like your teacher?
What are you most excited about this summer/holiday break?
4. Include Simple Stories
Depending on the child’s age and interests, it’s a good idea to include a story or two. In this letter, I mostly asked questions, but I included a couple of informational tidbits — for example, that my sister-in-law’s birthday is coming up.
Think about the child you’re writing to as you consider which stories or information to include. My niece just learned how to read, so I know that pages upon pages of stories might be laborious for her to digest. So, I kept it simple. As she gets older, I’ll likely write more information and less questions.
5. Make a Fabulous Envelope
The cardinal rule of writing letters to kids is to enclose the letter in an eye-catching envelope. As I pondered the theme of my niece’s envelope, I thought about her original letter to me, which prominently features Medusa as a child (“modoosa the kid” — so cute).
I decided to introduce her to a new mythological figure: the Siren. I gave my Siren a name and subtle details that hint at her danger: claws, horns, and delicate bones holding up her dress. In the distance, a doomed vessel bobs in the sea. I know that my niece will delight in these details!
Remember that you can customize your mail art to suit the child’s interest. A couple of years ago, I made this lego-themed envelope for a friend’s young son:
I almost always write in calligraphy on kids’ envelopes. It’s a great way to introduce the child to the art of calligraphy! For my niece’s envelope, I used pretty Janet Style calligraphy with plenty of flourishes.
I hope that this article empowers you to write a letter to the kid — or kids — in your life! If you have any further suggestions for writing letters to kids (or your own story to share about receiving letters as a kid), I’d love to hear them in the comments. Happy corresponding!