“To write is human, to receive a letter: Devine!”
Once said by author Susan Lendroth, the quote captures the excitement we all have for getting a handwritten letter in the mail. Writing letters to a pen pal might sound like a thing of the past, especially in 2019, but many people still hang on to the tradition of sending mail to and from strangers – and for good reason. While writing letters has a multitude of benefits, such as honing writing skills, having a pen pal can also spark the travel bug in some children, and teach them about other cultures.
Out with texts, in with mail
A pen pal can teach your kid so much more than you could even imagine. In a way, writing a letter is like bringing a piece of history into day to day life. Of course, there are still people writing letters today, but it almost seems as though the practice is slowly dying out, and being replaced with email and text messaging. The waiting of the letter traveling through the mail will teach your child to deal with patience, one of life’s most valuable lessons – which certainly can’t be taught through texting, or one-day shipping. But there’s much more to it than that.
While the concept of pen pals is quite simple, there are more than enough reasons to get your kid to start writing to a pen pal, even if they aren’t quite sure what to write. First of all, waiting for that letter is way more exciting than waiting for any package from Amazon. OnlineStamp.net notes that licking the envelope and putting on a stamp makes the process all the more fun – especially for your child. If you don’t have stamps in the house, you can even buy them online. A must for any pen pal, a stamp can easily be a child’s favorite part of the letter writing/sending process, as they come in many different designs.
A pen pal from another country
Having a pen pal, especially from another country, can introduce new cultural concepts to your child – something they may not be exposed to in school or at home. Learning about another country’s culture can bring your child to be more open-minded and curious about the world we live in. However, this works both ways, as your child can bring their culture to the pen pal as well. Whether it be for a summer, or years to come, an overseas pen pal can teach your child plenty – even a foreign language.
If your child is learning a new tongue, one of the best ways for them to practice is through letters with a native speaker pen pal. Since letter sending and receiving allows your child to practice reading and writing, why not use it to learn a new language? This pen pal method is especially perfect if your child already knows a bit of the language, and they’re sure to have fun translating their pen pal’s letters. If your child isn’t interested in learning a new language, but still wants to have a pen pal from abroad, they can also help someone overseas learn English.
Enhancing your child’s writing skills
A pen pal can also greatly improve your child’s writing skills. If your child struggles with proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, writing letters can be the perfect practice tool. Writing letters also allows your child to practice their handwriting skills as well. While cursive writing may seem “outdated”, it’s a good skill for them to learn and keep in practice, as many people still use the writing system.
Better than an email
While pen pals can teach your child to love to read and write, they can also get them excited for waiting for that letter in the mail– something a text or email can’t do. At the end of the day, having a pen pal is sure to become your child’s new favorite hobby, and perhaps even something they’ll carry into adulthood.