Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mailboxes and Memories

As the campers have learned more and more letters, words, and forms of writing they've become obsessed with mail. And what better way to have them practice their writing (without them knowing it) than to make their very own mail boxes and encourage them to write to one another? It's also a cute way for them to incorporate the Valentines Day theme into another craft project. The timing on this one ended up almost perfect, as they're not likely to think of using these for handwriting practice, but rather as something fun.

We'll be using these mailboxes for the rest of the school year and instituting what I'm calling Mailbox Mondays! My only requirement for Mailbox Mondays is that they each write something to each of their siblings at least once a week and that mail gets read and opened on Mondays. (We do a lot of handwriting practice in our lessons all week long during our lessons and our mailboxes are meant mainly to be fun and give each other positive reinforcement.)

These were super simple to do because we started with empty pasta boxes that I'd saved from suppers for a week or two. I cut the plastic out of the "windows" of each box for a mail slot before handing them to the children. And though we did these in stages instead of all at once, they could be done all at one time with very little issue.

I then gave them step by step instructions on using the construction paper, glue, and tape. None of them had made a valentines mailbox like this before (even in public school) so they needed a little guidance.

Step one: Apply glue liberally to the front of the box and try to center construction paper sheet on it...

Step two: Flip the box over and repeat step one, only on the back side of the box...

Step three: Fold over sides and glue down. Doing one layer at a time...

Step four: I cut the construction paper out of the "window" areas of the construction paper boxes with a sharp knife. This could have been done in an "x" shape and then folded in and taped but I wasn't that worried about it...

Step five: Fold the bottom side of the box's over hanging paper in like you're wrapping a gift and tape down to hold. I prefolded both girls paper to make this easier on them and then showed them where to tape...
ECJ's box

Step six: Trim the top paper either flush with the box or into whatever shape you'd like. We chose hearts. (Don't glue or tape the paper down up here because you'll need to be able to open the top of the box to get your mail out.)

Steps seven: Decorate!!!! The girls had a blast doing this part. ECJ hasn't decorated his yet and I'm not sure if he will or not.

I know that all of the pictures that show kids doing this are of the girls but ECJ did participate all the way through. I just took too many darned pictures and had to choose the ones I thought looked right for the steps. But, so that he doesn't feel left out here's one of him too.

The other thing we checked off of our Winter Bucket List was our "Good things happen jar". I simply popped a label on an empty plastic jar and then talked to the kids about what this is. Everyone is going to put at least one slip of paper in the jar each month to list something good that happened. On New Year's Eve next year we'll be emptying the hopefully full jar and we'll be able to see all the good things that happened to us this year!

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