When I was a little girl, I was always leaving my slippers downstairs at night and forgetting to wear them to bed. Every night, one of my parents would bring them back upstairs and leave them outside my door. One night, my dad left a note in one. That began a tradition that went on for a long time: I would leave my slipper outside my door at night, and in the morning I would race out to see if my dad had left me a note (he always did). Sometimes they would just say, "I love you! Love, Daddy," but other times he would write a rhyme or draw a funny face or tell me he was praying for me if I had a test that day or whatever. There's just something about sending and receiving mail, in whatever form, that I have always loved.
Therefore, for our most recent long winter afternoon activity, the girls and I made mailboxes. I covered them with paper, Darren cut the slot in each, and then they each decorated theirs with markers and stickers.
Here is Elaine's:
And here is Lucy's:
The mailboxes currently stay in the corner of our kitchen counter. Alongside them is a pile of note-sized paper and a pen. Every time either one of them does something good or kind, the person who observed it needs to write them a note. Of course, you can always write someone a note just to say hi. I figure this activity has lots of positive aspects: it causes you to look for good in someone else; it causes you to be kind because you never know who is watching; and it has the practical upside of helping Lucy with her writing. Also, it's just fun.
They were both thrilled and couldn't wait to try them out. Here's is Lucy's first note to Elaine:
Here is the note Elaine had me dictate to Lucy:
They will also each find notes in their mailbox this afternoon. One says, "Dear Lucy, You didn't dawdle this morning. You made your bed right away. Good job! Love, Mommy" and the other says, "Dear Elaine, When I asked you to pick up your stamps you said, 'OK, I'll obey, and I won't scream.' Good job! Love, Mommy."
I was thinking of just keeping this home post office open in February, but we'll have to see how successful it is. This may be a good long-term activity!