It’s time for this week’s Playful Preschool Series post. We hoped you have enjoyed Fall colors , the nighttime and dinosaurs so far this month. This week is all about community helpers. We decided to do some post office play to work on writing skills!
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Post Office Play
Why We Chose This Activity
My boys love pretend play especially if it relates to community helpers. I appreciate how easy it is to integrate literacy learning into pretend play.
This Halloween both boys have chosen to be police officers. They have been practicing writing tickets to speeding Matchbox cars!
It’s also getting close to birthday time in our house and the postal workers have been making some special deliveries. So, we thought we would create our own pretend play mailing station.
Preparing The Mail Bag
First we recycled a paper grocery bag and created our mail bag. This was super easy!
Cut off the top 2 inches of the bag. Make one cut so that you have a long strip. Take this strip and fold it in half (hot dog fold). Tape the long edge. This will be your mail bag handle.
Open the paper bag and fold the top half inside the bag. You might want to put a few pieces of tape inside the bag to hold the sides down.
You are ready to attach your strap. Tape each end of the strap inside the bag. I put tape in three places to hold it tightly in place.
Have your child make the mail bag sign. If your child is writing their letters, they can create the sign on their own putting down the sounds they hear in each word. My preschooler prefers to trace right now so I wrote the words with a highlighter marker and he traced the letters with a crayon rock. Attach the sign to the front of the mail bag.
Preparing the Mail Writing Center
We have an office area in our house. It is simply a child sized table and chairs in our kitchen. My boys do lots of writing, coloring and cutting in this area.
We turned the office area into our mail making center. I covered the table with paper and added a few things to help them make their mail!
1. A small letter sorter filled with recycled envelopes and old holiday gift cards are great canvases for writing.
2. This is a tray from the Dollar Spot at Target filled with paper for writing letters.
3. A container full of writing utensils is a must. This one is filled with markers, crayons and crayon rocks.
4. I love to have a book handy with family pictures and names. The kids can decide who they want to write to and can copy the letters of the name for each person.
5. My son wanted to write to Grandpa. I wrote Grandpa with a highlighter and then my son traced the letters (not pictured).
6. Don’t forget the stamps. We used stickers. You could also design your own.
7. Preschoolers need models of the letters when they are writing. I simply wrote the alphabet on the side of the table for the kids to reference when working.
Playing with Mail
Time to play! Let the kids create lots of letters, cards and packages. They can deliver them around the house or actually prepare them for a real trip through the postal system.
We talked about modes of transportation mail carriers use to deliver the mail. My kids liked riding their little toy horse around the house pretending they were the Pony Express. They also delivered on foot, with their toy cars and pushing a buggy (shopping cart).
And, if you are planning a theme study on mail carriers or other community workers, you’ll want to grab out Community Helpers Literacy Unit.
Keep reading. Visit the links below for more great community helpers activities from the Playful Preschool team!
More Community Helper Lessons from the #PLAYfulpreschool Education Team
Rescue the Alphabet Game by Mom Inspired Life
ABC Mail Delivery Service by Tiny Tots Adventures
Making and Delivering Mail by Growing Book by Book
Community Helpers Starting Sounds – #playfulpreschool by Rainy Day Mum
Map Activity for a Community Helpers Preschool Theme by Fun-A-Day!
Community Helpers Police Hat Craft for Preschoolers at Life Over C’s
Road Construction Pretend Play: The Importance of Stop & Go Games for Kids by Still Playing School
Doctor or Nurse Community Helper Center: Band-Aid Games for #PlayfulPreschool by The Preschool Toolbox Blog
Crossing Guard-Learning and Imaginative Play by Capri + 3
Teach About Community Helpers with Role Playing by The Educators’ Spin On It