For our Imaginative Play post this week we are going old school. Do you love the excitement of receiving a letter or a package in the mail? Let’s set up a pretend post office and pretend to be one of our important community helpers – postal workers.

Public Domain image of post office

Getting started: Check your paper recycling bin for used envelopes, junk mail flyers, and old magazines. If you have some recycled cereal or other small food boxes, these can be wrapped in recycled brown grocery bags and become packages to be delivered. Next, gather crayons, markers, pencils and pens to begin your stack of mail.

Parents, engage your child by asking them to make a list of family and friends who should receive a letter or package. Older children may enjoy copying the names and mailing information from an address book. Encourage younger children to sound out names and practice writing the first letter of the name on the envelopes. Later, see if they can remember the names when they “deliver” the mail. If you have a stash of return address labels, cut off the decorative portion for use as “stamps” or you can use any old stickers you may have. Remember to save some for selling at your post office. Practice fine motor skills by supplying kid- sized scissors and allowing your child to use tape to wrap the packages and seal the envelopes. Explain to your child the difference between the addressee and the return address.

For your post office: Set up a counter with pens, markers, pretend stamps and a stamp and ink pad if available. If you have a pretend cash register set that up as well. Use empty storage or shoe boxes to sort the incoming mail. A toy shopping cart is a great item for delivering the mail. Check the kitchen for a food scale and use that to weigh your mail. Use this “math moment” to introduce the concepts of more/less and light/heavy.

Mail carriers: Check your closet to see if you can create a uniform. Postal workers usually wear a blue uniform, but anything comfortable will work. If you have any blank labels, create a name tag using blue and red colors. Create a mail sack using a recycled brown grocery bag or a lightweight box. If you need more inspiration check our Imaginative Play/Post Office Board on Pinterest.

Delivery: Practice letter/number recognition. Set up different places around the house to deliver the mail. Use post it notes on different doors, marking them with a letter or a number. Have the mail carrier check their sack for the matching piece of mail. You could slide the mail under the door or create a “mailbox” for each.

More fun: Create a “Thank You” sign and leave it near your mailbox to brighten the day of your postal carrier! They are important community helpers! If you’d like to write us a real letter or draw us a picture, we’d love to receive mail from you!

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