Our family looks forward to Christmas all year long. It’s our favorite holiday. In fact, my kids have been writing letters to Santa since December 26th of last year. While their writing and picture-drawing skills have improved immensely over the past 11 months, I’ve realized that I’ve neglected to show them the correct way to form a proper written letter. Since they’ll be writing and sending letters to extended family in addition to Santa this holiday season, I figured it’s the perfect time to start.
Whether your kids are writing letters to Kris Kringle, or Aunt Kim in Kentucky, help them learn to write a letter using the My Own Mailbox set, which includes everything they need to practice writing, addressing, and mailing letters of their very own. This is a really neat way of doing it because they get to write and erase their compositions over and over with dry erase crayons until they are comfortable writing their letters on a “real” piece of paper and envelope.
It also helps your child to practice each step of mailing a letter:
First, write the letter.
Second, place it in an envelope. Address and seal the envelope.
Third, put on a stamp.
Fourth, put it in the mailbox.
To teach your child the proper format for writing a letter, print out this “Letter-Writing Format for Kids“ sheet – a simplified version of friendly correspondence. Then, teach him about each component:
Your Address: To write your address, you will need 2 lines. The first line is for writing your Street Address (eg. 1234 Maple Street). The second line is for writing your City, State, and Zip Code (eg. New York City, NY 12345). It’s a great way for your child to learn and memorize his address!
The Date: Write the date in this order – Month/Day/Year (eg. December 1, 2013).
Greeting: This is where you write the name of the person to whom you are writing the letter. You could write Dear Santa, or Hi Santa,. You should always write a comma (,) after your greeting (eg. Dear Santa,).
The Body of the Letter: This is where you write what you want to write! Tell the person the things you’ve been up to, what the weather’s like, what you would like for Christmas, etc.
Closing: You’re about to end your letter, and this is where you hint at that by saying something like, Thank you, Yours truly, or Sincerely,. Remember that just like the greeting, this part is always followed by a comma (eg. Your friend,).
Signature: Here, you get to sign the letter with your name so the reader knows that it was YOU who wrote it!
Have your child practice writing each of these components using the re-usable paper and envelope or re-usable postcards (used in this set – the same one mentioned above). Did you know that your child can practice using a pencil on the wipe-off papers and it will erase really easily with an eraser?
Once your child has done as much practicing as he needs or wants, print off a “Printable Letter-Writing Prompt Sheet for Kids“ for him to write his good copy. He can write the same letter components in the same color-coded prompts as in the aforementioned “Letter-Writing Format for Kids” printable. It shows him exactly what he needs to write and where he needs to write it.
Once everything is written out just the way he wants it, have him do the same things he practiced earlier: Place the letter in an envelope. Address and seal the envelope; Put a stamp on it; Put it in the mailbox.
Remember, if your child is still practicing or learning how to write, he could also opt to color or draw a picture of what he’s trying to write and/or say and have mom or dad help to write the words.
Letter-writing is not a lost art. As long as people enjoy receiving letters and packages addressed to themselves in the mail (and what kid or adult doesn’t love that?!) it is a great way to encourage correspondence between family and friends. Happy holiday letter-writing!