Reviving the Lost Art of Penpaling for National Card and Letter Writing Month

If you’re like me, you probably can recall the excitement of the days that brought something special in the mail with your name on it. Something that was not a bill or an advertisement — something that was marked in the sender’s handwriting specifically for you.

I had this very excitement wash over me just a few days ago when I opened the mailbox and found a large envelope with my name lovingly written across the blank middle.

We live in days of fast communication, where we can catch up with old friends in the blink of a status update on Facebook or the posting of a picture from far away on Instagram.

Maybe it’s the little girl in me who received beautiful hand-written notes as a child from my Italian grandmother that leaves me longing for this mode of communication. Maybe it’s the fact that my kids would glue their electronic devices to the palms of their hands had they the chance. Maybe it’s the love and care that seem to find its way alongside a physical card or package that sends me into the throws of warm and fuzzies.

Whatever it is, though, I desperately want my kids to hone this art and make letter writing and sending a part of their lives, so we’ve been making it a part of what we do in homeschooling and beyond because there’s nothing like good old-fashioned mail in the good old-fashioned mailbox.

encouraging children to write letters

In celebration of National Card and Letter Writing Month, we’re looking at the beauty that comes from a hand-written note or hand-drawn or painted picture made just for you arriving at your front door and how to incorporate letter writing into your family’s routine.

First, here’s some reasons for the why behind it:

  1. Letter writing hones writing skills while also building up finger muscles needed for proper penmanship.
  2. Letter writing at an early age lays a foundation for letter writing as young adults and adults who need to write writing cover letters, thank you notes post-interview and draft professional inquiries.
  3. Letter writing allows us to practice cursive, and the benefits of learning to write in cursive for the brain are numerous.
  4. It’s FUN! And I love when fun and learning collide!
Letter Writing Box
Photo by Hyacynth Worth

Here’s how we’ve incorporated letter writing into our lives without having a whole lot of space set up a letter-writing station:

  1. We have a self-created stationary box that we’ve filled with papers, envelopes, cards and stamps.
  2. Inside the box, we also have fun decorating types of things — stickers, stamps, pretty pens and markers. This especially helps my preschooler who doesn’t yet write letters but loves to send mail!
  3. We pick a day every other week or so to pull the box out and go town writing letters, drawing pictures and making off our thoughts pressed into paper.
  4. We keep a monthly birthday book near the box so we can sit down and look at the upcoming month and send cards for birthdays. {Note, we are more often unsuccessful at this part than successful!}
  5. An address book kept next to the box is also handy as is a few sessions on how to address a letter.

Two of my children love creating mail and sending mail; but two of them are not as excited about it regularly. Their tune has changed drastically, though, upon being the recipient of mail sent back to them.

Happy letter writing!

Do your kids have a penpal? Tell us about it in the comments!

About Hyacynth 22 Articles
Hyacynth Worth is wife to John and mother to two boys and two girls. She writes about motherhood, healthy living and faith at Undercover Mother. She is Little Lake County's managing editor and the author of Homesteading with Hyacynth. She promises to be candid, amusing and only slightly neurotic. Most of the time.

1 Comment

  1. My nine year old daughter writes to a girl her age in Madrid, Spain. I remember having pen pals from all over when I was little and wanted a similar experience for my daughter. She loves both sending letters and receiving them.

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