By Ashley Werner. This post is sponsored by Greenland Homes.
Bored? Write to a Pen Pal!
Are your kids bored and driving you crazy? Have them start writing to a pen pal!
Is it safe to send letters through the mail?
That’s the first question I had after this idea popped into my head. I bet you had the same question! I ran it past our pediatrician before we pulled the first envelope out of the box. As long as you’re not licking the envelopes and not sending out mail while you have a temperature, you’re ok to participate. You can read more about the coronavirus and the mail from the NY Times. That said, if you don’t feel comfortable sending or receiving mail (or know that you or a family member have COVID-19), then you can do all of this electronically!
Parents can also take a picture of a letter or activity sheet with their phone (or if your children have their own phones, they can do the same) and send the picture to their pen pal. The activities below are fun to fill out even if you’re not mailing it to anyone. They allow kids to use their imaginations, share information about themselves, and best of all … keeps them busy for a while!
Connection Is Important
“The psychology of greeting cards has a lot to do with self-esteem and self-worth. Simply put, if you receive one, you feel better. Time is the most precious gift anyone can give. So, if someone spends time choosing, writing then giving or posting a greeting card, the recipient knows they have been given some of the sender’s precious time.” – Neuroscientist Dr Lynda Shaw
Everyone loves getting a letter, card, or email from someone. It allows us to connect on an emotional level which is needed during times like these. Your kids can write to cousins, school friends, and anyone else they miss! (If you’re sending yours through the mail, please reach out to their parents first to make sure they’re comfortable it.)
You Don’t Have to Write Long Letters!
My son was not excited about the pen pal idea until I showed him some of the activities I created. Once he found out he didn’t have to sit down and write long letters he was totally in. Knowing my children get bored easily and the likelihood of them sitting down to write an actual letter was very slim – I created activity sheets to help them get started. There are activities for big kids and little kids – so hopefully your children will find something they like!
Click the link to download the FREE Activity Sheets! ⇒ Greenland Homes Pen Pal Activity FREE Printables
“Get to Know Me” Activity Sheet
I purposely made this a bit chaotic. I figured the more time spent following the lines from question to answer the more time my kids were busy and not telling me how bored they are.
One thing I’ve noticed about my tween … he LOVES telling me about himself. This is the perfect activity for this age group. Plus, their pen pal partner might just find a new movie or game to try!
“My Family” Activity Sheet
What a great way for younger kids to “introduce” their family! Let your kiddos color the dinosaurs and draw defining features to make them look like family members. That could be hair, mustache, painted nails, clothes, anything!
Once the dinosaur family is finished, your child can cut them out and glue them on the empty house.
Ok, this is a weird idea and my kids rolled their eyes at first. And then they were laughing and giggling while filling it out. If your child isn’t sure what to send to their pen pal, why not send a recipe card! Not just any recipe card … a recipe for gross, barf-worthy spaghetti.
I was cracking up, too. My son included a ¼ cup of Axe Body Spray in his recipe!
“Draw Weird Animals” Activity Sheet
I thought the younger ages would like this one, but it turns out the older kids liked it too. Your child draws weird, made-up animals down the left side and sends it off to their pen pal to draw down the right side. The pen pal then sends it back.
Your kids can send gifts too! Here’s a list of “flat gifts” your kids can send to their pen pal:
- recipe card (with a real recipe on it)
- post-it notes
- seed packets
- hot chocolate or tea packet
- pressed flower or leaf
- friendship bracelet
Hopefully these ideas can help your family get started! There are also a ton of ideas on Pinterest. Once the kids start writing back and forth, I’m sure they will have their own ideas and can keep it going!
Thank you to Greenland Homes!
I want to say “thank you” to Greenland Homes for sponsoring this blog post! I had a great time writing it and I’m grateful for their commitment to our families. If you’re not familiar with Greenland Homes – they build custom and production homes throughout central Iowa. They’re vested in their customer’s happiness, which is why they were the very first builder in the area to offer a 2-year builder warranty and why they are getting involved in projects like this blog post.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a bigger home, then check out Greenland homes! They’re currently building in Ankeny, Altoona, Bondurant, Waukee, Grimes, Granger, Norwalk, Elkhart, Huxley, and more! One of their popular family-friendly floor plans right now is the Harrison Plan. It has 4 bedrooms and plenty of room, but is also part of the American Dream Series which means it was built with affordability in mind so you won’t blow your budget when you upgrade your home. There are a few Harrison plans ready to tours in Ankeny, Altoona, and Waukee – so if you want to tour one just let Tammy Heckart, Re/Max Concepts know (515-778-8807).