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Learning Laboratory: Writing Friends and Family

Lily writing a card for a friend

Having my kids hand write cards and letters is important to me. In part, it’s because I was raised living far from friends and family before email, but I think there’s more to it than that.

Johnny writing a card for a friend

Writing letters by hand feels different. It takes longer than typing, so you have more time to think about what you want to say. You can add in illustrations, and use fancy pens, paper, and stickers. I bought the super-fine felt tip markers Emma and Johnny are using in Germany the summer I was there researching organ registrations. Organ as in the instrument, with fabulously massive pipes. I loved them as a 20-year-old, and my kids adore them. I can’t believe they still work, eleven years later! It’s also a great way for kids to practice handwriting and spelling, as well as composition and the art of written self-expression.

Emma writing a card for a friend

Best of all, someone gets a pleasant surprise when they open their mailbox – a letter that isn’t about getting you to pay a bill or buy something. In a loved one’s real handwriting!

We send snail mail letters nearly every week to my 19-year-old brother, and he always writes back – complete with illustrations for the kids! What a wonderful way to connect with an uncle who is far away!

learning laboratory at mama smiles

Do you send snail mail? Do your kids?

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

13 thoughts on “Learning Laboratory: Writing Friends and Family”

  1. We definitely don’t write enough letters here. We’ve written more than ever since my Grandma went to her assisted living home. You made some wonderful points in this post Mary Anne. I needed to hear them all!

    Thank you!

  2. It is always wonderful to receive snail mail and keep handwritten notes. I enjoy collecting beautiful stationery and using it. We send “letters” (mostly pictures) to family members who actually live close by, but we enjoy creating and making something special for grandparents and aunties. Sending off an envelope filled with creative goodness is a lovely feeling, my cherubs get excited sending their mail off. We are very fortunate that the recipients also appreciate our snail mail.

  3. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog

    Oh, I love the photos of the kids writing… Who doesn’t LOVE getting letters in the mail? :-)

  4. I’m a firm believer of the handwritten note too. It’s such a wonderful and authentic form of handwriting practice too! ER is so much more willing to try when she is writing to Great Grandma down in Missouri. We try to write her once a week.

  5. You know, I just bought very similar fine tip pens in Israel :) We should get better with letter writing, I want to make it part of our weekly routine. Babushka will be happy to write back :)

  6. Elisa | blissfulE

    I love snail mail! I don’t do it often, but I like to include recent artwork from the kids when I do use a stamp.

  7. I LOVE this! We don’t write enough letters, but my sister lives nine hours away and this would be perfect for us! Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. We try to send out snail mail also. Whether it is just a drawing or it is a letter full of scribbles. Not only is it great writing practice but he is so excited to use the mailbox that he is always eager to write!

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