Post Office Expedition
- Letter, postcard, greeting card or package to be mailed
- You've got mail! Write each other secret letters. Show your child how to fold her letter up and seal it in an envelope. Buy stamps at the post office and mail your letters to each other. See how many days it takes for them to arrive back in your mailbox.
- Send greetings. Write birthday cards, thank-you letters, holiday cards and postcards.
- Go on a scavenger hunt. At the post office, see if your child can spot the following: a mailbox, a postal worker, a mail truck, a box, a stamp machine, a set of P.O. boxes, a bin of letters, a book of stamps, an in-town slot and an out-of-town slot, and a postal scale.
- Go on a tour. Ask your postal worker if it's possible to take a behind-the-scenes tour. Can he explain what he does on his job? Point out how mail gets sorted according to size, weight and destination. Ask what happens to the mail after it leaves the post office.
- Do the math. Younger kids can count the stamps on a sheet of stamps. Older kids can figure out what combination of stamps is needed to mail your package.
- Go back in time. Ponies, hot-air balloons, stagecoaches, steamboats, dogsleds, airplanes and snowmobiles are just some of the ways the mail has been delivered in America. To find out more, check out the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum, where you can go on a virtual tour, play stamp-matching games and more.
- Investigate. Ask your child these questions:
- What do the numbers on a home mailbox mean?
- What do you need to include in writing a proper address on an envelope (name, street, city, state and zip code).
- Where does the return address go? Why is it important to include it on a letter?
- What is a zip code? How does it help speed the mail along? (Did you know that the first three numbers represent a section of the country and state; the last two indicate what post office serves the address on the letter?)
- What are stamps for? Where do they go on an envelope?
- How much do stamps cost?
- How do letters go from the mailbox to the post office?
- What color are postal employee uniforms?
- Why do we call letters snail mail?
- What's the difference between a letter and an email?
- What kinds of things does the post office sell?
- Look at a postmark on a letter you receive. What does it tell you? (Where and when the letter was mailed.)
- Get counting. On the way home, count how many big blue mailboxes you see. How many home mailboxes?
- Read all about it. Check out Bunny Mail by Rosemary Wells, The Jolly Postman: Or Other Peoples' Letters by Allan Ahlberg and The Post Office Book: Mail and How It Moves by Gail Gibbons
For more exploring, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for your child at DoraTheExplorer.com.
Thanks to Susan Hood
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