We recently discovered the postcrossing project and signed up immediately. I was the kid who had five foreign pen pals growing up and looked forward to every letter. I hope that my kids have the same passion about correspondence, but for now, I think I am living vicariously through them! So far we have sent postcards all over the world and have received about ten really nice postcards from all over the world. It's so exciting when we get a new card in the mail, and read it together. It's a great chance to discuss geography, so we always look up the country on our world map and globe.
Being five years old, Thing One doesn't write very well yet and certainly not well enough to write tiny letters on a postcard. So in order to expedite the process, and give him a way to participate, we have collected postcards from our town and region, and he gets to pick the card. I try to help based on the recipient's requests (certain people want certain kinds of cards). I print out the addresses with the post code attached and he pastes them onto the cards. Then he narrates what he wants to say and I write it for him. We usually wait until we can request three or four addresses at a time then prepare them all as one workbox, then make a trip to the post office to purchase stamps as another workbox.
We have also been doing a project called Making Friends. This site has cute paper dolls that you can customize to look like yourself and reflect your interests and hobbies. Through their Friends Across America program, you can send yours off to someone else and get someone else's in return. We do about two of these as a workbox per week, and then when we have ten completed, we stick them in an envelope and send it off to the address on the site. We received our first packet of friends last week, from a Brownie troupe. Thing One liked reading about each girl's interests.
We are also doing some package exchanges. One is with a friend's child, with the theme My Town. Thing One has a set of world landmark flash cards that he really likes, and dad came up with the idea of making landmark cards for our town. Thing One really wants to laminate them! It's so funny what makes them excited. We will probably include some brochures, a city map, maybe some regional snacks.
I also signed up each of my boys to participate in an online exchange with kids their own age. These packages can contain anything you think your partner might like to receive. These will contain more fun things, but I am considering some regional or city-specific items too, and information about our family since these are strangers.