With summer winding down I took a look at our summer bucket list. It was fun counting up all the things we have checked off. What a busy summer it has been! It feels like we just made our list yesterday and I can’t believe how quickly this summer has passed!
One special bucket list item we still have left on our list is starting a city swap. I was inspired by those posts from Little Passports that keep popping up in my Facebook news feed. You can choose a monthly payment option which starts around $15/month to receive an explorer kit with info about another country. These kits are geared toward 5-10 year old kids. Nothing for the preschool crowd. But, even preschoolers love getting mail. So, a friend and I decided it would be fun to for our kids to swap facts about the cities we live in. It’s a more personalized way to get to know the world outside of our home town; it’s like having a pen pal but with a twist. (And no financial commitment).
Here’s how I started:
I made a list of important city traits. For example, I live in a former port city so the Hudson River and our light house is a special part of our local culture. Art, music and food are all very important in our city as well. We made a trip to our library to narrow down some information about our city. The girls and I found these great activity guides with facts and educational games about our local ecology. We also found some post cards featuring local art and additional pamphlets to share. Such a fun way for our friend to learn about our city!
Now that we had a few fun things to include in our swap, we decided to introduce ourselves to our new little pal by sending a message in a bottle. (Keeping with our port theme).
We recycled a seltzer bottle by rinsing the inside and stripping the label from the outside. Once the bottle was dry we added our letter and fun facts about our city.
Next, we made a trip to the post office to determine the amount of postage needed to send our bottle. Did you know you can send almost anything in the mail? The woman at the post office said she once received an actual coconut! For some fun, inspiring ideas for sending your own happy mail check out this cool blog www.giverslog.com
We brought our bottle home and added our stamps. We left it in our mail box for the postal carrier. Wonder what he thought of our silly package?
Our next package will include a special surprise. Another short informational pamphlet about one of our favorite hikes, AND these little “water chestnuts.” Thousands of these little black, spiky things liter the shoreline every summer. The locals call them “cow heads.” Since my friend and her son live more inland we thought this might be fun to share. It will definitely seem unusual. These little things are iconic in our hometown.
Again, we recycled something we already have. This time a spice jar. I rolled up the pamphlet and inserted the chestnut shells inside.
Here are our first two packages before labels and stamps.
This little project has definitely sparked some creativity and challenged our imaginations. The girls love assembling the packages the most. They also enjoy visiting the post office and seeing how everything there works.
Our next few packages will include some local art, maybe some local music and some sweet treats from our favorite chocolatier. Each item we include will of course need a creative package to carry it through the mail. The idea is to share things that make our city so special while getting to know a new friend and the city he lives in. These packages are geared toward tots so the info has to be short, simple and fun.
This is a really fun, creative way for young kids to send and receive mail; or for older kids to keep in touch with friends they met at summer camp, or far away friends and family. As a bonus it’s just fun to get something so unexpected in the mail.
What are some fun things you have sent in the mail?
What a creative way of keeping your children both educated and happy . I love how you have tossed aside projects with monetary value and created a project that is inexpensive and significant to your children’s understanding of the world x
What a fabulous idea! I think kids and grown ups alike (or at least me!) love getting real mail…and in fun packaging no less!
I still love getting packages too! 🙂
I love this idea! this is a new one for me, but as a teacher I love that kids are writing, sending and sharing about their community. So cool!
Wonderful idea! I’ll have to try this with my kiddos.
This sounds like a lot of fun! I love that you mailed the first package inside of a bottle!
such a fun idea. my daughter loves getting the mail and even takes my packages! lol. mailing a message in a bottle is probably the coolest thing i’ve heard of in awhile! i didnt know you could do that!
You can mail just about anything! When I was at the post office mailing this the postal worker shared the craziest thing he postmarked… a coconut. 🙂 You can even mail a flip flop if you put enough postage on it!
This sounds like a lot of fun and a great idea.
This is such a fun idea, I wish someone had put this together for me to do when I was a kid!
What a great idea! Good job Mom!
This sounds like so much fun! I can’t believe summer is winding down already!
What a cool idea! I think the idea of sending actual mail had lost its appeal and this is a fun way to make your kids interested in it
What a great craft to do with your kids. My son’s class took a trip to the post office last year and he now loves getting mail!
What a fantastic idea! I love all teh thought you put into this activity and I bet this will catch on via playgroups!