About the time my oldest son was starting to read and write, I came up with the idea of making a Valentine’s Mail Station as a simple invitation to encourage all of us to write to each other. Easy setup, budget-friendly, and self-sustaining, this project is the perfect way to create some authentic literacy experience in your house and build some fun family traditions.
Related Post: Simple Family Valentine’s Day Traditions
Making A Valentine’s Mail Station
Setup can be as simple or elaborate as you want. Don’t make it about fancy, pretty supplies or a Pinterest-styled area. Just use what you have to start with and you can slowly add to it as you find things. I get most of my materials in the Dollar Bin section of Target or at the Dollar Store so that I’m not spending more than a few dollars each year.
What you’ll need:
Blank Notecards or sheets of paper cut into squares
Glue and Scissors
How to Set Up A Valentine’s Mail Station
- Gather your supplies – I like to use trays or baskets to contain everything but also make things accessible. It’s also easier to put materials away if everything has a home.
- Find a place to set up – needs to be kid-accessible and available so everyone can stop by when they want to. I’ve found that leaving it as an invitation is much more appealing than making it an activity that everyone has to sit down and take care of together. Even a small box of supplies that can be set out is perfect.
- Model using it – If you’re not seeing much interest, you might need to be the first to create a few cards. Getting mail is fun so create some excitement by slipping a few notes into others’ mailboxes. Bonus points if you include a question that they can respond to on a card of their own. If kids see grown-ups using the station, they’re more likely to join in.
The Literacy Benefits of A Valentine’s Mail Station
No, you’re not trying to overtly teach a reading lesson, but it never hurts to sneak a little learning into your kids’ day. This activity is an awesome way to invite your kids to practice authentic literacy (writing to real people with a real purpose) and can work for any age.
If they’re not writing on their own, let them practice their letters or draw pictures to express ideas. Praise all efforts as you work to help your child see themselves as a reader and writer (even if their spelling is creative!).
Any scribble that works to express meaning is a huge step towards early literacy. For beginning readers and writers, you can create a word wall with each family members names plus some common Valentine words to help them get started and to create independently.
Encourage older kids to be creative by creating poems or comic strips or even writing in a secret code. There’s so many ways to make this fun and not an assignment about writing.
Related Post: How to Pick Books Your Kids Will Love
Easy Valentine’s Day Traditions
If you’re looking for other simple ways to celebrate this month, check out these simple Valentine’s Day traditions that don’t require any prep. We do both of these things each February 14th and I don’t think about them until the day before. They’re that easy!
What are your sneaky ways of including reading and writing your home life? What do you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids?