Alphabet Activity – Pretend Play With Letters

alphabet mail activity for kidsThis was a rainy Sunday activity thrown together with a old favorite pretend play prop. It’s a great alphabet activity with a focus on pretend play and part of our Alphabet For Starters series.  My son and I made this mail box years ago and it had been a while since I’d dug it out of my son’s closet to play.  We added in some envelopes and letters and got down to the serious business of play!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a super cool mailbox like this one we made from a box, some envelopes, small squares of paper, markers, plain labels, and a bag or purse to use as a mail bag.alphabet mail
  2. Start by having your child write some letters.alphabet mail 2
  3. While they do that write out the envelopes with upper and lowercase letters.alphabet mail 3
  4. Fill them with the letters your child writes. I filled a few with other letters as well . alphabet mail 5
  5. Next add stamps. Ours were added haphazardly after my daughter demanded we find some. I just wrote STAMP on some plain labels.alphabet mail 6
  6. Pop them on the envelopes.alphabet mail 7
  7. Time to play.alphabet mail 9 We put each letter in the mailbox stopping to read each envelope as we did. alphabet mail 10
  8. When we were done she lifted the box and the play turned into receiving mail. alphabet mail 11
  9. She loved opening them. alphabet mail 13Some were filled with the letters she wrote and some had more letters of the alphabet on them. Label what they open as they do. As we played some of the letters were pretend invites to parties, others were letters from grandparents and one was a bill which cracked me up. alphabet mail 12

Alphabet Books

50 alphabet books

Find our 50 favorite alphabet books for kids in this big round up of books. Do you have a favorite?

While I’m Away Mailbox Activity

mommy mail letter activity for kids

Going away for work is never easy for kids or parents, but activities like this can make an anxious time a little easier on everyone. I will be going to a conference this week and both my son and I have been feeling increasingly anxious about being apart. I came up with this activity when we saw these mailboxes at Target and he begged m for it.  I hope this little mailbox and the letters I leave for him give him some comfort and something to look forward to every day while I’m away. We will also have our Kissing Hand Necklaces that we made last year .

  1. Gather your materials . You will need a little mailbox, paper and envelopes for each day you are away, pens/ markers and stickers if you want.
  2. Label each envelope with the day. I did it like this so that my husband who will place the letters in the mailbox every night knows which to grab, and it helps teach days of the week as well.
  3. Write the notes. I tried to hype up what he gets to do every day. I did this because every morning before we are even out of bed my son asks me ” Mama what are we going to do today?” One of the days I included money for him to take my mom out for lunch. He’s been learning about money so he’ll love getting to pay.
  4. Seal them up.
  5. Hide them from your child and get someone at home to play postal carrier by placing them in the mailbox every night so in the morning your child has mail.

Post Office Letter Sorting

post office ideas for preschool

I get asked all the time if I throw my son’s creations away. Most do get recycled but one we have used over and over again is our mail box. The other day my son was playing with it when I decided to capitalize on his desire to sort everything and make a letter sorting activity for him. Our letters were sorted by the name on the envelope but you could use numbers and sort it with the zip code , or for even younger kids use different color letters and sort it by color. My son loved this and it even sparked writing a fan letter to his favorite baseball player.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some boxes, paper, scissors, envelopes, pen, plain sticky labels and crayons. 
  2. Start by writing addresses on the letters. If your child is able have them help or write the addresses themselves.
  3. Write 44 cents ( or whatever appropriate stamp amount) on your blank labels.
  4. Time to decorate. My son loved coloring these envelopes. He insisted on doing it all himself. 
  5. While they do that depending on how many boxes you have write out the letters that will go in each box on paper.
  6. Attach them to the boxes.
  7. Next add on the stamps.  My proudest moment of the day came next when my son said we should purposely leave off the stamp and make a do not deliver basket for those letters.
  8. So I made one quickly.
  9. Time to play- I made a simple sign for our post office and our mail box came to play too.
  10. Pop your mail in.
  11. Dump it out.
  12. Sort it.
  13. Deliver it – we delivered it to various rooms of our house.

Book

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Delivering Your Mail: A Book About Mail Carriers by Ann Owen is a simple book about being a mail carrier. The text is to the point and perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers learning about mail carriers for the first time. It focuses on not just what the mail carriers do but how it impacts the reader, which is paramount for young children who see the world through their perspective only. Cute beginner book!

Play Post Office!

 

This was a spur of the moment activity. My son kept pretending to put a card into a kitchen cabinet saying “Into the mailbox” , I jumped on this , and so glad I did. I say often that following your child’s interests is key and if I had a video stream of my house today I could prove my point even better. My son played with this from the time we made it until bed time. He kissed it goodnight at nap and bedtime. If you have half as much fun as he did with it, I’ll be happy.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a rectangular box, some craft paper, markers, tape, scissors , envelopes, stickers and a piece of white paper.
  2. Start by cutting off one end of the box.
  3. Cut a slot ( make it wider than I did if you don’t want to be saying “Try it the other way, turn it around” 300 times between frustrated 2 year old almost tantrums)
  4. Wrap the box like a present in the craft paper.
  5. Cut the paper where the slot it and tape it on the inside.
  6. Time to color, let your child go nuts. I just let him go for it.
  7. Make a sign ( if you child can do this have them do it!)
  8. Tape it on.
  9. Time to make the mail- I used blank envelopes. Have your child add addresses, if they can write letters, do that too. No matter what stage they are at have them add the address, if it’s scribbles cool, if it’s a full address that’s great.
  10. Add a “stamp” we used stickers.
  11. Play! My son filled the mail box then declared ” Delivery time!” knocked it over took the mail and delivered it around the house. Then repeated this many many times.

Book!

“Delivery” by Anastasia Suen is a recent favorite at our house. Although it doesn’t fit the mail theme perfectly it does fit in with the theme of transporting things, via trains, plans and automobiles… well and boats! This is a great book for kids like mine who love trucks of all shapes and sizes but it also explains how things get from one place to another simply by observing. I really enjoy the illustrations by Wade Zahares are done from interesting a differing perspectives and there are so many details I find something new each time. The first night we read this book at bedtime my son chose it for his, mine and my husband’s book choice, so we read it three times in a row.