Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pen Pals - A Natural Asset-Building Activity

My children (ages 7, 4, and 2) are penpals with another family that lives across the country. The children swap pictures and letters periodically, and they love it!

This simple tradition builds several assets:
  • Time at Home - It's just good quality time together
  • Creative Activities - I let them choose whether they want to use paints, stamps, markers, scissors... from the craft box as they create their masterpieces.
  • Achievement Motivation - They get to practice their reading/writing skills in a fun way as they read and write letters to their friends.
  • Caring and Interpersonal Competence - They are learning to care for their friends by sending them letters and homemade gifts.
  • Self-Esteem - Children love getting mail - it makes them shine, and feel so good about themselves.
  • Cultural Competence - Children get to learn about people from other cultures and ethnicities.

This activity could easily be adapted to the classroom - for preschool all the way up to high school. You can correspond with a school overseas, or people in an independent living center, or children of another age group. You can integrate vocabulary words, letter-writing skills, grammar, handwriting, social studies or even art.