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.
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
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!
Who doesn’t enjoy a nice piping hot pizza? Let’s use our
imaginations and creativity for some Pizza Shop Fun!
For the pizza: Use recycled cardboard boxes from cereal etc. to cut circles for your pizza crust, use your imagination to create your favorite toppings. Construction paper or recycled cardboard can turn into pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers, olives or any of your favorite toppings. Thin strips of yellow paper can become your cheese. Look through old cooking magazines for pictures you can use. This is also a great time to reinforce color and shape recognition as well as introduce the math concepts of size (small, medium or large) and fractions (half pepperoni/half plain).
Kitchen/Restaurant: If you have a larger cardboard box, turn that into a pizza oven and a pizza paddle. Gather pans (or cover recycled cardboard with aluminum foil to make pretend ones), oven mitts, plastic knives and aprons. Set up the ingredients you’ve created in separate containers so you can use them over and over again. You can even try to make a chef’s hat (see our Pinterest board link below).
Take out: Recycled shirt boxes make great take out boxes. Don’t forget to decorate the top of the box with your logo. Can you design a box with your family name on it? Older kids can help to design a menu and practice math skills by adding up the order. Set up a play phone or make a pretend one for taking phone orders and don’t forget a pencil and paper for jotting them down.
Staff: A good pizza place needs a lot of staff help. Take turns being the chef, server, hostess, delivery person, cashier, and of course, customers. Now, more than ever, please continue to patronize our local businesses.