To you, it's just a place you have to run to drop off a package or pick up some stamps. To your little one, though, the post office seems ever so much more magical -- the place where the mailman comes from, where the mail truck sleeps at night, where little boxes with locks and windows hold unimaginable mysteries. Indulge that enthusiasm for all things mail-related by teaching your child about the post office, reinforcing skills like counting, writing, art, and reading along your route.
Learning Through Play and Experience
Take a trip together to the post office -- not to run an errand, just to visit. Once there, you can explain to your child what is happening and how the letters are sorted. If you call in advance, the postmaster might be prepared to meet you and spend a few minutes talking to you and your child, and you may even get a quick tour. Encourage your child to ask the postmaster questions, such as what happens to mail with an incorrect address or how letters to Santa Claus get delivered.
Let your child mail a letter. Help her draw a picture or write a note to a relative or close friend. You can then go with your child to the post office to buy a stamp and let her drop the letter down the mail slot. Be sure to ask the recipient to write back -- your child will love getting a reply.
Play post-office games together at home. You could have a little shop that sells pretend stamps and letters, and a mailing office where your child can have fun mailing and sorting letters. He will learn through play the basics of what happens at a post office and understand what happens when you post a letter.
Make your child the mailman. Put little boxes to represent houses around the room (or garden) and ask him to deliver the mail. Depending on the age of the child, you can use matching numbers or colors on your envelopes and houses to make sure the right letter gets mailed to the right house.
Collect stamps with your child. Stamp collecting is a great way to teach kids about history and important public figures. You can talk about who the people are on the stamps (you may need to do a little research yourself first) and even make your own stamp collector's book. The post office sells collector's stamps, and you can also cut out any interesting stamps that come in the mail. Let your child decide which stamps are interesting to her; she might be far more fascinated by the stamps with flowers than those featuring presidents. Your child can also have fun designing her own stamps.