Monday, March 16

The Lost Art of the Penpal {Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Our children are growing up in a technology-filled world...a world of instant gratification so unlike the ones we ourselves once knew. One of the ways that our family tries to combat this is through penpals. Not only have our children had the opportunity to make some wonderful friends, but they are learning patience, delayed gratification, and the art of letter writing. When Byron's Games allowed us to try their Connections Stationary Kit, it gave them a fun way to take their letter-writing to the next level!

Why Have a Penpal?
  • It teaches patience.  I don't know about you, but I want my children to be able to delay gratification, and there are considerably fewer places to teach that in our insta-Google-it world.  The postal system takes at least a few days to deliver a letter, allowing for the anticipation to build, and helping to teach patience.
  • It provides writing practice.  Whether it's a short thank you note or a longer note talking about their interests to a new friend, writing a letter provides both handwriting practice and actual writing skills practice.  When they are writing to an actual person, building that relationship, telling him/her about all the fun they had on their vacation, it gives the writing activity purpose and meaning (as opposed to those generic "What I Did Over Summer Vacation" essays).
  • It brings culture and geography to life.  Your child will get to meet someone from another part of the country (or world) that may have a completely different lifestyle.  Through shared letters, they can introduce each other to their home, school, culture, and traditions...bringing that small part of the world to life for each other!
This stationary kit has everything you'll need to create unique and fun letters!  Created for ages 6+, it is designed to encourage children to write notes for any occasion, be it a thank you note, invitation, letter to Grandma, or a penpal letter.  The kit has everything you need to write, so it's quick to grab and take with you on the go.  It even includes colored ink pads and a 'Thank You' stamp that are perfect for creating custom-design thank you notes!

The kit includes:
  • 25 sheets of stationery paper
  • 25 envelopes
  • 36 vintage-style envelope-seal stickers
  • 2 color ink pads
  • 1 rubber ‘Thank You’ stamp
  • 1 fine line blue pen

Tips for Writing Your Penpal
  • Agree how often to write.  It's a lot easier to keep writing back and forth when you know to expect a letter each week, or each month.  This keeps the momentum going, especially at the beginning.  There will be lag times, when someone gets behind or when it's just difficult to find something to write about, but keep it going and you'll end up with a worthwhile friendship.
  • Be yourself.  Write like you would talk in real life, and write about things that are interesting and true in your life.  Your letter is one side of a conversation, so keep it real.  Add some creative photos, drawn pictures, or other small tchotchkes to show off your personality.
  • Use fun stationary.  While lined school paper will work, it's much more fun to have personalized paper, like the ones in the Connections Stationary Kit, to make it more unique and interesting.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.  You can start out with 'how's it going' and 'what's up,' but dig deeper and ask personal questions about interests, goals, and beliefs.
You know, when I was a kid, we came home from camp each summer with a slew of new penpals.  Some lasted only a few months, while others lasted years.  My sister is still friends today with her penpal from first grade!  Think about you remember the total exhilaration of receiving a letter in the mail?  Today, I have two international penpals, and while we only write a couple of times a year (it's expensive to mail internationally!), it is still a rush to get a nice, handwritten letter in this world of emails and form notes...  I challenge you to pick up your own Connections Stationary Kit and give it a go!
Find out more about Byron's Games at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
Continent Race & Connections Stationery Kit {Byron's Games}

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