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.
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
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.
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!