You can encourage your child to explore her world by getting her a pen pal to correspond with. Having a pen pal not only builds your child's language and writing skills through written communication, but it also broadens her mind and enables her to gain a better understanding of life in other places. Whether you opt for the traditional handwritten form of communication or want to make it high-tech by going with e-mail, your child will enjoy connecting with someone her own age in a new way.
Register with a pen pal website. There are organizations online that match up pen pals of the same age and interest. Some of them are geared particularly to students. Check out Students of the World, PenPal World or Student Letter Exchange (see References). Make sure to check out the site before signing your child up, as you want to ensure that your child will be matched with another child and that the site is safe.
Ask your child's teacher. Many times, teachers pair up with a teacher from another state to give each child a pen pal. If she doesn't have a class to exchange letters with already, she might be willing to start the program with a little volunteer help from you.
Contact your local church. Churches often have outreach programs that include missionary work. Part of their mission includes written communication with sponsored families. This has the added bonus of encouraging your child to volunteer to help those less fortunate.
Contact family members who live in another state or country. Even if there isn't a child in the family, they may know of a child or have contact with an educator who is looking to start a pen pal program.
- You may have to dig in some unlikely places before finding pen pals for kids that are safe. Take the time, because safety is worth it!
- Make sure your child corresponds in a safe, supervised manner.
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