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Children can learn many things just by playing a game. Pretend play is a great way for children to grow and learn. One great game to play with your child is to pretend to be a mailman. This isn’t a typical, dress up like a mailman game, it’s structured to learn specific skills and wear down some toddler energy!
In Kindergarten, my teacher had us do a mail man unit during the Valentine’s day time. She had us all write notes to each classmate and put them in envelopes. We’d be split into groups and people took turns “working” at the post office in the classroom. We would stamp, sort, and deliver each of the notes.
This unit took a week since each classmate would write a note for each student. I remember this activity vividly 25 years later, so I decided to adapt that classroom activity for my son to do on his own as a preschool activity.
I will include 2 lists for you; first, the steps to take to play this game, and second, the skills worked on while playing the Mailman game.
Adaptation to the Mailman game to be played at home:
Since I was teaching my son at home to prep him for preschool, I had to plan out this mailman game over the course of a few days. The first step was figuring out what to do for the “notes” to deliver. This is a perfect game to work on the alphabet!
I made alphabet “cookies” for the mailman to deliver at the end. Since Valentine’s Day was coming up, I made them into the shape of a heart, but any shape would be perfect!
Prior to beginning the activity:
I traced 26 heart “cookies” onto cardstock paper and cut them out! (Cardstock paper is a great way to keep these sturdy since you will be working with them multiple times!)
While cutting out my 10th heart, I was thinking it’d be so much faster making “postcards” instead and having each one a rectangle!!
My child was working on tracing letters, so I wrote each letter with highlighter onto the heart.
This can be adapted to the skill level of the individual child depending on where the child is at! The child can work on identifying letters, tracing, or writing freehand, and it can vary with upper and lowercase letters!
Day 1 of activity:
- Have your child trace/write/identify the letter that is on the “cookie”.
- Once traced, you can have the child “frost” each cookie with paint.
Day 2 of activity:
After the “cookies” dry, review the letters with the sounds each letter make. You can also list words that began with each letter.
Put “sprinkles” on the cookies (stickers) to decorate each cookie.
Day 3 of activity:
Time for the mailman play! I bought cardboard mailboxes from Walmart, but you can also have craft time decorating a cardboard box with a slit on top for the cards.
Kleenex boxes would be pretty perfect for this activity also!
Steps to take
- Prep 6 boxes total to deliver to
- Write 4 letters on the top of each box, and 2 boxes have 5 letters
- Use lowercase letters if you wrote uppercase letters on the “cookies” or vice versa
- Once prepped, set up each box all around the house
When the boxes are finished, now it’s time to get back to the “cookies”
- Have your child “postmark” each cookie with a stamp (We used these stamps )
- Once done “postmarking” each cookie, throw all the cookies in a bag to mix them all up.
- Draw one out of the bag at a time. Have child identify which letter it is, the sound the letter made, and a word that begins with that letter.
- Then run around the house to find the mailbox that match the cookie’s letter.
I would highly suggest doing only 10 “cookies” at a time because all 26 at once takes a long time and a toddler’s focus on one activity might not last that long!
What skills did we work on while playing the Mailman Game?
We worked on so many skills, it’s hard to list! I love teaching my child through play rather than worksheets! Just by playing this game, we worked on the following:
- Letter recognition
- Writing his letters
- Fine motor skills
- Painting each cookie
- Putting stickers on each cookie
- What people do around the community
- Letter sounds
- Emerging reading skills identifying what words begin with each letter
- You can easily use this for a math activity by writing math problems on each card and the answers on the boxes! This would be great while working on multiplication tables!
- If you don’t have card stock, you can use note cards without needing to cut anything out!
- Instead of painting each card, you can have your child draw a picture of a word that begins with each letter.
This is a great indoor activity for when the whether is crummy outside. Check out this article for other indoor activities to play!
There are many variations that can be done to this mailman game to adapt to your child’s skill level! That’s why I love learning through play! It can be adjusted for any skill level!
Do you have any other ideas of how this game could be adjusted?