As your children grow, it is important to instill in them an understanding and respect for the civil servants who provide daily needs and security. While kids are often more drawn to the "exciting" civil servants, such as police officers and firefighters, teach your children that other positions, such as postal workers, are just as important. Plan lessons with your kids that teach them about the U.S. Postal Service and the importance of the post office in getting mail to people and businesses all year long.
Post Office Reading
Read books with your children that teach them all about the post office. For children ages 4 and older, "The Post Office Book: Mail and How it Moves," by Gail Gibbons, provides a basic outline of how the U.S. mail system works, including how mail is handled at post offices. For kids ages 9 and older, "Mail Call!: The History of U.S. Mail Service," by Nancy O'Keefe Bolick, provides children with a detailed past, present and future look at the U.S. postal service, including the Pony Express and mail traveling by train and air.
Post Office Play
Give young children post office dress-up uniforms so that they can role play and pretend to be postal workers. Have the kids take turns pretending to drop off mail, receive mail at the post office and "drive" a post office truck to deliver the mail. Use items you have around your home to create a post office world for your children. You can make a post office mailbox out of a cardboard box and have the kids help you paint it blue. A simple card table will work as a counter at the post office and a toy wagon can double as a mail truck.
Write and Mail Letters
Have your children write letters to their friends as well as to you or someone else in the household. Young children who cannot yet write can draw a picture. Give your children envelopes and stamps for their letters and help them address them. Walk to a mailbox near you and let the kids put the letters in the mailbox. Your kids will wait with excitement for you or others in the household to receive the letter that they mailed. They can also call their friends in a couple of days to see if their letter was received.
Post Office Field Trip
Call your nearest U.S. post office and ask if you might be able to bring your children in for a tour when it is not too busy. Planning ahead instead of just showing up is the best way to guarantee a behind-the-scenes tour. What your child will get to see and experience will depend on your particular post office ant the time that they have. Your kids may get a chance to go behind the counter and see how the mail that is received is sorted and sent out in different mail trucks. They might even get to sit in a mail truck and put on a real postal worker hat. End the field trip by allowing your child to pick out some cool stamps he can use in the future.
- The Post Office Book: Mail and How it Moves; Gail Gibbons
- Mail Call!: The History of U.S. Mail Service; Nancy O'Keefe Bolick
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