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  • A Playful Pen Pal Project

    A Playful Pen Pal Project

    Monique of Green Acorns is with us today with to share some great tips on getting our young writers started with Pen Pals.

    Would you like a fun writing activity for your child to engage in during the summer (or anytime)?  Whether you are trying to encourage a reluctant writer, nurture communication skills, or strengthen a sense of connection with a special person, having a pen pal is a great activity for kids of all ages.

    A Playful Pen Pal Project

    If your child is comfortable writing about themselves and asking others questions about themselves in a letter form, that’s great!  For some children, however, that can seem a bit overwhelming or perhaps they’re just not ready for it.  If that’s the case then this playful pen pal project may be the perfect thing to get them started.

    Here’s the idea… Begin by helping your child choose a pen pal.  Starting with someone familiar may help reduce any anxiety and help build confidence.  Print the provided template for your child to use to communicate back and forth with his or her pen pal.  Finding out about a person’s likes is a good way to initially get better acquainted.  An example has been provided for you to help get things underway.   Your child should fill out the copy with the introductory letter to mail to the pen pal and enclose the blank version for the pen pal to fill out and mail back.
    Pen Pal Project Template
    Pen Pal Project Template – blank; editable version

    A Playful Pen Pal Project

    The blank template is editable so that you and your child can create your own topics.  Here are some ideas that you and your child can brainstorm five simple questions for:

    • A Day in the Life of My Pen Pal
    • My Pen Pal’s Family
    • My Pen Pal’s Home State/Town
    • My Pen Pal’s Fondest Memories

    Creating “top 5″ lists is another simple idea.  Keep it fun and engaging to maintain your child’s motivation.  If your child is only writing one or two word answers when responding, that’s okay.  To nurture developing writing skills, work up to having him or her write out a complete sentence.  And do encourage using the letter writing space as well.  It’s perfect for additional ideas, comments, or questions and is a wonderful preface for longer letter writing when your child is ready.

    A Playful Pen Pal Project

    Once your child has received the first response, it’s time to incorporate the playful twist.  Cut out the circles with the pen pal’s responses and get crafty.  Turn them into a garland that, when strung together, form a representation or story of who your child’s pen pal is.  Every time your child looks at the display he or she will think of that person and feel a special connection.  Don’t forget to encourage the pen pal to do the same!

    Some benefits of having a pen pal:

    • Practice reading skills
    • Develop communication skills
    • Improve writing skills
    • Build sense connection and friendship
    • Incorporate geography
    • Encourage thoughtfulness
    • Practice patience
    • Make time to slow down

    I hope your child will love having and being a special pen pal and that this project helps set the course for a life-time love of writing and connecting!

    Monique

    Monique Barker is an empowered mama, homeschooling superstar, and Early Intervention Specialist. Sharing her love of nature and healthy living keeps Monique creating rich learning experiences for students around the world. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Southern Maine and a Counseling Certification from the University of New England. When she’s not mothering her three lovelies, Monique enjoys hiking, getting crafty, long days at the beach, and quiet time with her husband and cat at their home in Maine. You can enjoy more of her work over at, Green Acorns.

    (11 Comments)

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    1. I work in day care. .. With 20 children in the downtown area. Wondering if anyone.. working in daycare… Would be interested in starting a pen pal program

      1. What a great idea, Cindy! I don’t know the age of the children in your childcare center but even quite young kids can participate in an exchange program. Best of luck with it!

    2. this is a neat idea for penpals. But if your child does not already have a penpal, do you know a good place to find one. I found one when I was 13 years old and we are best friends today. We met through a teen magazine, but I don’t think they have those sections in magazines today. Any tips on how to find a safe, good penpal for kids these days?

        1. Thank You Monique! I will look into these sites!
          I’m excited to pass the joy of having a penpal to the next generation.

          As a young teen, it was so wonderful to find a connection with someone my age with similar interests who lived hundreds of miles from me. My penpal and I traded stickers, magazine clippings, art creations, life experiences, and even things we didn’t realize at the time. We were unaware that were were also improving life skills like creativitiy, penmanship, writing composition, socialization, and more! We never imagined at 13 years old that we’d still be pals over 30 years later! It’s a wonderful thing!

    3. Can’t wait to do these with my kids and their pen pals! The second download said it was blank – but the same categories are under the lines in the circle – were those suppose to be blank or still filled in? I was hoping they’d be blank so we could create our own for the additional circles in the garland.

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