Thursday, May 15, 2014

4 Great Lessons Learned from Pen-Pals

We love traveling to Florida with the kids.  The kids love it too, but now that they are 4 and 5, we have noticed a definite change from previous years.  They want to ditch us.  They were desperate to meet other kids their age so they could play with them instead of us.  I'm not really complaining.  Hubby and I read our books, relaxed, and watched in peace while the kids were entertained by their new best friends.  The problem was that after the week was over, life suddenly became pretty rough for the newly established BFFs. 

Then the girls came up with a great idea: they could become pen pals.  At first, I just thought, "How sweet, it could be like the movie, Beaches!  They will become best friends and college roommates someday...." and my imagination took ahold of me.  Luckily a wild and possibly rabid seagull screamed at me, bringing me back to reality.

Then I realized what a great learning experience this could be and the lessons we could work on throughout this fun project:
  1. Geography: Everyone in my house still seems to be a little confused about "The United States".  I am taking this is as a great opportunity to really help them understand about our states and how they are all part of America.  I printed out a map of the United States that we can hang on the wall and really study, especially every time we get a letter from her special new friend.
  2. Reading:  My daughter loves writing her name, her dog's name, etc, but we have not quite been able to make the switch yet to reading books.  It makes her frustrated so I haven't pushed it yet, even though she is entering Kindergarten in the Fall.  However, now she is begging me to teach her how to read so she can read the letters from her new BFF.
  3. Money:  I took her with me to the post office and she helped me buy the stamp for her letter.  We worked on what a dollar really means and counted out the change she got back from the post office.
  4. The Importance of Friendship:  We work on this one whenever we can.  It's very important to me that she understands that in life we all need good friends.
Who knows how long this pen-pal interest will last, but for now I am enjoying watching my daughter hard at work on her letters for her new friend.

For more ideas on how to keep your toddlers and preschoolers busy and learning, please check out my book, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn.  You will find hundreds of ideas on crafts, fine motor, reading, and much more.  The book was co-written by a former Kindergarten teacher, Susan Case.  

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