Craft letters, deliver them to friends and put the 'social' back into 'social distancing'
~ Written by Dara Podjarski Marcus
We all know that play and social interaction has a long list of benefits: it helps kids develop their sense of self, be part of a team, solve problems, develop language, learn to be independent, understand feelings...and so much more.
But in these days of corona, staying 'social' is the giant missing piece of 'social distancing'. Throw in lockdown, quarantine and isolation and there is a lot of lost social development.
It means we have to find other ways to maintain and strengthen friendships.
This is where a type of pen pal project can really help. Here's how:
1: Choose two friends to reach out to, ideally within walking distance of your home.
2: Draw a picture or write a note, depending on your kid's age and ability. You can even cut the paper into a cute shape, such as a heart or star. This is also a great way for ABC learners to practise their letters as well as to encourage a reluctant writer.
3: Design an envelope. Decorate with stickers and any other craft items you have. If you want to create your own envelope, you can staple a piece of paper together into an envelope shape. You can also add a little handle on top to turn it into a little paper bag. Let your kids get creative!
4: Time to deliver! This is a great motivator to get the kids out of the house. Go for a walk and drop the letter at their friend's house. If you're in quarantine/isolation, just take photos of their handiwork and send it to their friends electronically.
Hashtag it when you're done to pay it forward and spread the love.
You'll see how excited your kids are to give and how they'll want to do it again. You'll see how excited the friend is to receive - and how they want to write a reply.
In a nutshell, you've helped them nurture their communication skills and strengthen a sense of connection with a friend.
This can start as a once-off activity, but you can repeat it and make it an ongoing project with the same friends or others too. It's a really simple project that goes a really long way, connecting friends one letter at a time.