Kids Pen Pal Ideas (For Littles)

Inspired by our Olivia’s Pen Pal story postcard, I decided to try a kids pen pal exchange between preschoolers and the results were so fun!

Since we are still at an early writing stage, I wanted to keep things fun and simple so I created this pen pal letter template (available as a free bonus download for our subscriber community along with February’s bonus materials – so exciting!) so that we could write a letter to a friend.

Kids Pen Pal Ideas

So far, our pen pal exchange is exceeding my expectations, and has led to all kinds of playful learning and exploration. We have learned:

  • How to look places up on a map
  • Letter and word practice
  • How to address and letter (subscribers will find a video tutorial for kids in our bonus online membership materials for this month’s theme as well!)
  • Scissor practice (to cut out a photo)
  • and so much more!

Story postcard subscriptions from Petit Mail make it so easy to explore the pen pal experience. For just $10 a month* you create the opportunity to bring so much learning and fun into your home! Every month, you will find: 

  • a bright fun envelope addressed to your child, arriving in your mailbox.
  • a colourful, illustrated story from Oliver, Audrey, Milo and Olivia sharing about art, science, creativity, nature and imagination.
  • the opportunity to cuddle up and read together and be inspired by new ideas.
  • bonus surprise items like stickers and bookmarks.
  • activity ideas, tutorials and videos available to subscribers online in the monthly BONUS link (included with your envelope).
  • the chance to be present and spend quality time with your child.

*for a 1 year subscription

If you love the idea of a snail mail subscription for the preschooler or early reader in your life, you can try your first story in Canada or the US for just $10 (postage included)

Alison shares more about the benefits of a preschool pen pal.

More About Our Preschool Pen Pal Exchange

To make the experience a little more educational, I added a hand-written note from me, telling a little bit more about our family, where we live, and the things we enjoy doing together. Given that it is still WINTER, one of our letters got a little wet when it arrived in its destination mailbox, and our package turned into a little bit of a rainbow, but that’s ok, we are embracing the wild color combination!

Pen Pal Letter Template for Kids

NJ was so excited to read something from another little girl her own age. We looked up Michigan on a map, and compared it to where we live in Newfoundland and Labrador.

One of our pen pals, Madelyn, wondered about what it’s like to live near the ocean (quick answer: our ocean is COLD and often stormy, but it’s still oh-so-beautiful) so our project for our next pen pal letter will be to find a nice day and to take some pictures (if we are REALLY lucky, we’ll find a day to get our picture taken with an iceberg in the background as it’s almost iceberg season when pieces of ice start to break off in the Arctic and float their way South). Maybe we will also share some fun facts about animals that we find here, like Puffins and Whales.

Overall, I loved this project and can’t wait to write more pen pal letters!

Kids Pen Pal

Pen Pal Tips For Young Children

  1. If you are exchanging a letter with a child or family you don’t know very well, add your own notes to their letter. Share more about where you live, your family and how your family enjoys spending time together. This really helps to spark their interest in the overall experience.
  2. Add stickers to your letter! Stickers are always a HUGE HIT, in fact, both of our letters were covered with stickers from top to bottom!
  3. Not sure who to write to? Send your letter to a family member or friend with a child around the same age. Or, send mail to a relative of any age and encourage them to write back.

Be sure to check out Petit Mail story postcards.  Available in 3, 6 and 12 month subscription options and delivered every month in bright, fun envelopes.

Learn more about subscriptions here.

4 Tips For Creating Art With Your Preschooler

As part of my quest to spend quality moments with my children every day (even if we don’t have a LOT of time between work, daycare and meals/bedtime routines), I’ve been working on simplifying the ways that we explore together, especially with art!

I’ve put together some practical tips from one mom to another to encourage your child to explore and LOVE art!

1. Don’t be afraid of creating art with your preschooler!

I don’t believe that creating with our littles needs to be complicated, scary or unattainable. YOU CAN be a “creative mom” EVEN if you don’t feel like you are! At this stage, it’s more about the exploration than the outcome BUT that can be hard to remember as a mom in our Pin-tastic world of perfect projects! It’s OK to love all those Pins and use them for inspiration, but our child’s projects don’t have to look like that all the time.

2. It’s OK to be messy!

The key is to be prepared for messy art. Put down some garbage bags or purchase an inexpensive tarp or drop cloth from the dollar store or a local hardware store (these can be reused!)

Be sure to get your children to wear old clothes or painting smocks (I always wore an old shirt of my dad’s when I was little and working on messy “projects”

3. Have a few SIMPLE supplies on hand (here are mine)

You don’t need to have a lot of supplies at home to create art. A few things that I keep in our house for art projects are:

  • A large roll of white paper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Washable paint
  • Scissors
  • Coloured Paper
  • Crayons

Be sure to check out this tutorial for making your own DIY liquid water color paints. It’s a super simple project and we had so much fun creating it together!

4. Use Helpful Resources To Guide You

My goal is to make it really easy for you to connect + create together. Our story postcards arrive in your mailbox in a bright, fun envelope and have an illustrated story, perfect for reading with your preschooler or early reader.

Petit Mail stories always encourage you to learn and discover together with simple, age appropriate activity ideas perfect for learning at home.

The best part? You can try your first story for just $10 in Canada and the US (postage included)

This month, Oliver Explores ART and in our bonus subscriber videos (link included with your story postcard), I’ll be walking you through an art project that you can do together (no complicated materials needed!) – it’s going to be so much fun and I can’t wait for you to receive your cards this month.

Kids Preschool Subscription Canada

Kids Preschool Subscription Canada

Petit Mail: Kids Preschool Subscription Canada

“I started looking for a preschool subscription when my daughter NJ was two and a half and loved walking with me to our community mailbox.  As a lover of snail mail, I started looking for the “perfect” snail mail subscription for her to enjoy.  I wanted something bright and fun, with beautiful illustrations, a short story, a way for me to connect and engage with her.  Most importantly, I wanted something affordable, without large shipping fees. I couldn’t find quite the right thing, and because of this, I started the work to bring my idea to life!

Over the past few years I’ve worked hard to create a preschool subscription that I believe is affordable and accessible to everyone. When you order a Petit Mail story postcard subscription, I still get excited and do a little dance of joy.  Each and every time.” – Alison

 

Petit Mail is a bright, fun, affordable snail mail story postcard subscription for kids ages three to early reader.

Preschool Subscription - Petit Mail

Discover The JOY of Snail Mail

Petit Mail is the fun way to introduce a new generation to the joy of snail mail.  Created and written by Canadian mom and entrepreneur Alison Butler, each story postcard is packaged, stamped and addressed by hand.

Every month, your Petit Mail story postcard arrives in your mailbox in a bright, colourful envelope, and is, most importantly, addressed with your child’s first name.
Being able to see their name in print is so wonderful, because children love finding something just for them in their mailbox.

There is always something new to discover!
Some months you might find an extra stamp or doodle on your envelope and your mail is sealed with coloured tape.

Kids Preschool Subscription Canada

We want you to receive a durable, quality product, so each month story postcards are:

(+) full colour, double-sided, because we want you to get the most from a 5×7 inch postcard!
(+) printed on thick, quality cardstock that is not easily ripped. This is especially important for little hands.
(+) packaged in bright, fun colourful envelopes featuring stamps, embossing & tape, because we think all of the little details are important to the snail mail experience.
(+) most importantly, some months include little extras, like stickers and other goodies, because who doesn’t love a fun little surprise?

Learn more about Alison and the story behind Petit Mail story postcards here.

 Preschool Subscription - Petit Mail Story Postcards

How A Petit Mail Preschool Subscription Works

Order: 

Choose from CanadaUSA, or International delivery address subscription options.
Ideal for ages three to early reader.

Receive:

Check the mailbox together regularly, talk & connect, explore your surroundings.  Petit Mail story postcards arrive in your mailbox once per month.

Read & Play Together:

Read along with four diverse characters Olivia, Audrey, Milo and Oliver.  Traditional subscriptions rotate through a different character each month, or you can “choose your own” option to receive story postcards from just one of the characters. Read your story card and use the monthly adventure as inspiration for family time activities.  Spark your child’s imagination and encourage creative play. Oliver is putting on a puppet show?  You can too!

Petit Mail story postcard themes include: art, writing, science, engineering, nature, reading, and creativity. Most of all, your postcards encourage imaginative play, all at an age-appropriate level.

Preschool Subscription : Petit Mail Story Postcards

Purchase A Petit Mail Subscription

With so much of our days filled with technology, it is a wonderful treat to receive real paper mail.

Give your child the gift of a monthly snail mail surprise.
Petit Mail provides something to look forward to receiving together and encourages quality time together as a family.

Canadian and US subscriptions cost $7 per month and all prices INCLUDE postage. International subscriptions are also available.

It’s fun, affordable, and gives you a unique way to spend quality time with your kids. Read together and let your story card inspire new ideas and new ways to play!

Preschool Subscription

Want To Try Petit Mail First?

I’ve created this special e-story postcard just for you. Olivia’s Acts of Kindness will be sent to your inbox, addressed to your child’s first name.
In this story, Olivia creates random acts of kindness for others in her life. A wonderful way to experience Petit Mail and encourage a spirit of kindness and generosity.

Sample Story Postcard

What will your random act of kindness be? 

Preschool Reading Club

Preschool Reading

Welcome to the Preschool Reading Club. One of my favourite things to do is share books that we enjoy reading at home, so I decided to create a preschool reading group for parents where we can share book ideas & recommendations specifically for our preschoolers and early readers.

Every week (or so, because..life) I’ll share pictures, or short video reviews of books that we are reading from both our home collection AND the library.

Preschool Reading

 

Let’s Connect

I’m Alison, a preschool mom, and I’d love to have you join us in the group.  Some reasons why I absolutely love sharing book ideas and inspiration with others:

  1. I’m a mom with 2 small children, a full time job and a part time business – sharing great reads helps to make my life easier, and who doesn’t want to make their life a little bit easier?
  2. I love to gift books.  My children receive books for almost every occasion, and I also gift books to my nieces.
  3. It’s great to have new things to look for, or request, when we go to the library.
  4. It helps me find our next great read!

If you have found your way to this page, I don’t think I need to talk about all the ways reading with your children in amazing.
Reading is the ONLY time my 3 year old son sits still during the day.  Once we settle down for our bedtime reading, I swear he could stay there, snuggled into me forever (and I probably wouldn’t mind!)

So what are you waiting for?

Join The Preschool Reading Club

If you follow along with my IG feed, or the YouTube channel, you will already know that I love sharing my book suggestions and recommendations.

In the Preschool Reading Club we will have more space for discussion and for you to share your book choices as well, PLUS I’ll be sharing some freebies and hosting Petit Mail giveaways as well from time to time!  Pop over to join the club, and I’ll see you there.

Preschool Reading

Discover The JOY of Snail Mail

Subscription For Kids

Petit Mail is the fun way to introduce a new generation to the joy of snail mail.  Created and written by mom and entrepreneur Alison Butler, each story postcard is packaged, stamped and addressed by hand.

 

Every month, your Petit Mail story postcard arrives in your mailbox in a bright, colourful envelope, addressed with your child’s first name.  There is always something new to discover!

 

Learn More About Petit Mail Story Postcards Here

Non-Toy Gifts For Kids – Inspiring Creativity and Imagination

Lately I have been inspired by Non-Toy Gifts for kids.
 
Feel like your home is drowning in children’s toys?
It seems like many of the conversations I have with other moms are about getting rid of STUFF.
 
Non-Toy Gifts For Kids
 
 

 

I don’t know about you, but my kids don’t need much.
They play happily for hours with the simplest of things – what they really want is for someone to engage and interact with them.
 
There are other posts out there with non-toy gift ideas for kids, but they all seem really generic, like “a zoo membership”.
 
I wanted to come up with some really practical, creative non-toy ideas that are a little more specific.
I hope you find these ideas inspiring, and use some for your own gifting this year.
 

5 Non-Toy Gifts:  Ideas and Inspiration For Kids

 

Non-Toy Gift 1: New Outfit Experience

Take the special child in your life shopping for a new outfit.  The important part here is that you make it an experience that you do TOGETHER.  I do this with my daughter every year for her birthday and it’s so much fun! We go to a store and she gets to pick out a brand new outfit, but we turn the shopping day into an experience.  I think this would work well with nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and even close family friends!

Non-Toy Gift 2: A New Sleeping Bag and a Flashlight

Does this seem like a strange gift idea to you? We use our sleeping bags for camping together as a family BUT our children also LOVE using their sleeping bags when they play pretend, when they build forts and when we watch movies together during family time.  In my experience, this is a great gift idea that provides endless hours of play!

Non-Toy Gift 3: A Subscription!

I spend a lot of time sharing why I believe subscriptions are a fantastic non-toy gift, here are just a few great reasons:

  1. It’s the gift that keeps on giving (a gift keeps coming in the mail every month)
  2. Subscriptions encourage family connection and togetherness
  3. Subscriptions encourage learning
  4. Petit Mail story postcards don’t take up a lot of space in your home, can be saved and used again and again (or with future siblings) and can be recycled when you are finished with them.

Non-Toy Gift 4: A Photo Book

My children LOVE looking at photos of themselves. We talk about things that we’ve done together and that they have experiences.
This gift is a beautiful way to capture and share memories.

Non-Toy Gift 5: “Best Day Ever” Scavenger Hunt

Choose your child’s favourite activities, then buy gift cards for some of those things.
Turn this into a fun activity by wrapping the gift cards, then creating a way for your child to follow clues to search for the gift cards.

 

 

What do you think?  Would you try any of my ideas?

Think about a way to find gifts that “keep on giving” while making it fun.
I hope these 5 ideas sparked your imagination!

Non-Toy Gifts for Kids

 


Petit Mail is a bright, fun snail mail story postcard subscription experience for preschoolers and their family. 

Petit Mail Story Postcard

Discover The JOY of Snail Mail

Petit Mail is the fun way to introduce a new generation to the joy of snail mail.  Created and written by mom and entrepreneur Alison Butler, each story postcard is packaged, stamped and addressed by hand.

Every month, your Petit Mail story postcard arrives in your mailbox in a bright, colourful envelope, addressed with your child’s first name.

You can try your first story for just $10 (postage included). Our stories inspire reading, imagination, creative play and make learning FUN.

 

The Jolly Postman and Other People’s Letters: Kids Book Review

The Jolly Postman Book Review (1)

When I share books that I love in my IG feedit’s always a parent favourite, so today I’m introducing you to The Jolly Postman book. I particularly love books that have a snail mail theme to compliment Petit Mail.

Book Review: The Jolly Postman And Other People’s Letters

I love this interactive children’s book – filled with envelopes that can be opened, letters, postcards, birthday cards and more.  Follow the postman as he makes his way through the world of children’s fairy tales, making mail deliveries – and you can read the mail!

Watch My Full Book Review Of The Jolly Postman

Isn’t this so much fun?
If you’re interested, you can find the book here*

The Jolly Postman and Other People's Letters Children's Book Review

Do You Love Snail Mail As Much As We Do?

Petit Mail is a fun way to introduce a new generation to the joy of snail mail.  Each story postcard is packaged, stamped and addressed by hand.

Every month, your Petit Mail story postcard arrives in your mailbox in a bright, colourful envelope, addressed with your child’s first name.

Seeing their name in print is so wonderful, because when a child finds something just for them in the mailbox, it’s magical!

Read along with four diverse characters Olivia, Audrey, Milo and Oliver. Read your story card and use the monthly adventure as inspiration for family time activities.  Spark your child’s imagination and encourage creative play. Oliver is putting on a puppet show?  You can too!

Try your first story postcard for just $10 (postage included) – it’s a great way to share HAPPY snail mail!

Join The Preschool and Kindergarten Reading Club

Love reading with your preschooler or Kindergartener?

I regularly share book suggestions, reading ideas and more in my preschool kids reading club group on Facebook.  I also share freebies and other fun content and  I’d love to have you join us there.

Petit Mail (1)

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase using this link, a small percentage will go toward supporting this blog

Free Sight Word Flashcards

Free Sight Word Flashcards


Do you have a child who is learning to read? Check out this printable set of Free Sight Word Flashcards….a gift from me to you!

Free Sight Word Flashcards

 

My daughter NJ is learning to read right now, and I have to be honest, sometimes it’s a challenge.  She LOVES being read to, we read together every night, but she is less motivated to read on her own. As a solution, I created this set of free sight word flashcards to help her make reading fun.

There are many ways to use your flashcards, here are just a few suggestions:

  • hole punch and put them on a ring for practice.
  • cut them out, lay them on the table or floor “memory game style” (face down) and say each word as you turn the card over.
  • lay out your flashcards (face up), find a flashlight and say each word as you shine the light on it.

Let’s create a whole new generation who LOVES READING!

Sign Up For Your Printable Sight Word Flashcards Here

 

Sign Up Here

 

One of the reasons I created Petit Mail was to make reading fun and exciting.

When your story postcard arrives in the mailbox, you open up the bright envelope in excitement and read together.
To help with sight words and reading, key words are highlighted and the stories are written in simple sentences for early readers.

This set of free printable sight word flashcards can be used at any time.  The words are specifically designed to go along with the “Milo Loves Reading” Petit Mail story postcard.  This sight word flashcard set is perfect for reading practice at home with a bright background and featuring Petit Mail characters.


 

Petit Mail is a bright, fun snail mail story postcard subscription for kids ages three to early reader.

Petit Mail Story Postcard

Discover The JOY of Snail Mail

Petit Mail is the fun way to introduce a new generation to the joy of snail mail.  Created and written by mom and entrepreneur Alison Butler, each story postcard is packaged, stamped and addressed by hand.

Every month, your Petit Mail story postcard arrives in your mailbox in a bright, colourful envelope, addressed with your child’s first name.  There is always something new to discover

Learn More About Petit Mail Story Postcards Here

 

Subscriptions For Kids – 5 Reasons To Gift Subscriptions

Our kids. They want our attention. They want us to spend time with them. They want to know we are there, close by, engaged with them – that’s why subscriptions for kids are a simple, fun and easy way to spend quality time with our children.
As a full-time working outside the home mom, I feel like my time for presence is SO limited. That’s part of the reason why I created Petit Mail – a story card to read together, a link and ideas for easy activities we can do together. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with activities on the spot – it’s a little easier with a helping hand. Plus, snail mail is the MOST FUN. Don’t you agree?
Subscriptions For Kids

Here’s a list of my Top 5 Reasons to Choose Gift Subscriptions for Kids

Reason 1
Gift subscriptions keep giving well past the initial “open”.  It is the age-old “gift that keeps on giving” when something new and fun arrives in the mailbox each month.
Reason 2
Kids LOVE to get mail. Mail with their name on it. Bright, colourful mail.  It can be a really joyful experience, especially the first time a subscription arrives.
Reason 3
During gift-giving times, especially during the holidays, there are SO. MANY. TOYS. Yes, the toys are exciting for a short period of time, but often lose their appeal quickly. Subscriptions do not add to the pile.  They offer something deeper.  See reason 4.
Reason 4
Subscriptions spark learning and imagination in a fun way. They encourage creative play and quality time spent together as a family. They are the perfect non-toy gift.
Reason 5
Subscriptions offer you the ability to give the best gift of all – your presence.  Your presence while you read together each month and your presence in the parent-child activities your subscription provides.

Petit Mail is a bright, fun snail mail story postcard subscription for kids ages three to early reader.

Petit Mail Story Postcard

Discover The JOY of Snail Mail

Petit Mail is the fun way to introduce a new generation to the joy of snail mail.  Created and written by mom and entrepreneur Alison Butler, each story postcard is packaged, stamped and addressed by hand.

Every month, your Petit Mail story postcard arrives in your mailbox in a bright, colourful envelope, addressed with your child’s first name.  There is always something new to discover

Learn More About Petit Mail Story Postcards Here