Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Special Delivery: A Homemade Mailbox

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I am sure you have or will notice that I like to use recyclables for creative play.  Why not?  I have tons of cardboard and plastic containers just laying around.  

I also love making and doing things with the boys that resemble things or activities that they will encounter in the real world around them.  For instance, the boys like to help check the mail.  And on days where daddy picks it up instead, he always hands it to the boys so they can bring it to me.  But I wanted them to have a better understanding of how the postal service actually worked.  That's why I made them a mailbox, complete with some addressed envelopes and small packages.  Well, technically it was  made for J since I was pregnant with K at the time.

K with the mailbox

Make Your Own Mailbox
Closeup of the mail
I made the envelopes out of folded cardstock.  I used a variety of colors and sizes to represent the variety of envelopes that go through the post office.  I also wrapped up a soap box and stuffed some tissue paper into another piece of cardstock to make two small parcels.  Each piece of mail is labeled to someone and there is a sticker in the top right corner to represent a stamp.  I made each addressee correspond with a stuffed animal that we owned so that the mail could be delivered to that toy.  Even the addresses are cheesy (e.g., Lion lives on Mane Street).  Unfortunately, my mailmen don't seem interested in delivering the mail quite yet.  They are still in the phase of let's fill-and-dump, read the label, and engage in some criminal activity by opening someone else's mail.  You could also recycle some junk mail for the kids to use for this homemade mailbox.

The mailbox
The mailbox is just a cereal box with some cardstock hot glued on.  Then I cut out a door for the mail slot.  Once upon a time, there was a handle on the mail slot, but it was ripped off many, many times.  So I haven't bothered replacing it.  And as can be seen in the pictures, the mailbox is kind of in rough shape.  It has been well used.
J is sending some letters
Other Ways to Expand the Play
    K's turn to send some mail
  • Set up a post office to show how the mail is sorted before being delivered.  
  • Recreate the post office storefront and invite your child to weigh parcels, stamp the packages with a time stamp, and charge customers.
  • Have a child that can write?  Have them write a letter.  They could also address the label and affix a stamp.
  • Have a child that enjoys delivering the mail?  Come up with a mail delivery uniform, complete with a bag to carry the mail.  Or make individual mail boxes for the different mail recipients.

    This letter has been sealed with a kiss!

Have you made a toy that simulates a real world activity for your children?  Tell me about it in the comments.