Years ago, children used to have pen pals. Do schools still encourage this activity? It was exciting to receive letters and even more exciting when they had come from far flung places across the globe! Learning about different cultures and ways of life, practising another language and even making friends for life made having a pen pal a thoroughly fulfilling hobby. Here are some reasons why we should encourage our children to once again put pen to paper:
Reading & Writing
These skills will improve the more someone practises them. Writing involves organising one’s thoughts onto paper and this takes deliberation and consideration. It’s hard to get much enthusiasm out of children for writing these days, with their love of all things digital and electronic. However, the excitement of receiving a letter back is often motivation enough to get them writing. Unlike typing an email, where auto-correct will adjust your spelling and grammar for you – writing a letter is brilliant practise in punctuation, spelling, paragraphing and grammar. Make it even more fun with pretty Coloured Envelopes from https://www.rainbowenvelopes.co.uk/
If you want to encourage greater understanding and empathy in your children, having a pen pal from a different culture helps them to learn more about ways of life different to their own. Having a pen pal is fascinating as you learn so much about what is different but also that kids are kids and have so much in common wherever they are. The process encourages learning, understanding, patience and world knowledge.
Further to the above point, writing to a pen pal helps promote many different life skills, such as social development. Writing a good letter with a mix of questions and self-description teaches children about how to build a relationship. Encourage your child to read their letter aloud to see if it sounds interested and friendly. It encourages children to share experiences, bond through finding common ground and understand how friendships work.
Today’s world is all about instant gratification. Text and instant message replies, emails and social media – all demand fast responses and real-time updates. When sending a letter and waiting for a reply, children learn a little patience, the excitement of anticipation and the reward of finally receiving a letter in reply. This makes the process a bit more special and shows our children that sometimes the best things come to those who wait.
Having a pen pal is a window to another world. If you want your child to be curious about people, the rest of the world and events, then find them a pen pal! Being curious enables children to become better learners, giving them a desire to find out more and reaping the benefits of acquiring that knowledge. This is a skill for life and will help your child’s learning in many different areas.