â€œIn the last two decades children have lost 8 hours of free play per week and 30,000 schools in the United States have eliminated recess to make time for more academic study.â€ – Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
This statistic freaks me out!
I worry â€“ are my kids playing enough?
Am I making sure they have enough critical development through play?
I have to admit, sometimes my girls, who are three years apart, didn’t get engaged in playing together.
Ever have that problem, too?
So recently we began creating play kits for ideas that both girls wanted to play.
The play kits gave my kids purposeful play experiences, which built important cognitive connections and lasted for hours and sometimes days.
Last week, we decided to make a Post Office Play Kit after finding cute little mail boxes in the Target $1 bin. (LOVE Target $1 bin!)
Like the play kits we had made before, we found a shoe box in which to keep the kit. The best part? Both my girls found everything for the kit. We created a master list including a few things we didn’t have.
Here’s our list. Use it to find supplies for your own post office kit.
Post Office Play Kit
- Mail bag
- Mail boxes (*If you don't have your own mailboxes, make you own out of cereal boxes or shoe boxes.)
- Stamps, stamp pad
- Pencils, markers, pens
- Index cards
- Date stamp
- Storage shoe box
- Money, cash register
Learning Through Post Office Play
Now that your kids are engaged in play, you can facilitate learning with a few suggestions.
Ages 3 â€“ 5
- Teach new vocabulary words associated with the post office: delivery, address, postage, scale, sort, mail carrier.
- Count and sort letters.
- Draw and dictate letters and postcards.
- Practice writing your own name.
- Write postcards and letters.
- Weigh mail.
- Sort, count, and deliver mail.
- Practice writing your address and addresses of others on envelopes.
- Practice letter writing formats.
Additional Learning – Post Office Books
- Max and Ruby Bunny Mail
- Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
- Toot and Puddle
- Post Office non-fiction books
Now, watch the imaginative play unfold!
And, as Valentine’s Day approaches, this is a perfect way to write and deliver Valentine’s cards, don’t you think?
Finally, the cool thing about DIY play kits is you can pack up and store them easily in a shoe box or picture box for another day.
Other play kits we've made recently:
- movie theater
- writer's toolkit
- beauty salon
Additional Resources – Importance of Play
Do you want to read more about the importance of play?
You might like these favorite books:
- Einstein Never Used Flashcards
- Brain Rules for Baby
- Mind In the Making
- Tools of the Mind
Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity. – Kay Redfield Jamison, Contemporary American professor of Psychiatry
I'd love to hear if you make your own play kits, too.
What are your kids’ favorite pretend play themes?
Melissa Taylor is a freelance writer, an award winning educational blogger at ImaginationSoup.net, an award winning teacher with a M.A. in Education, the Book Editor-at-Large for Colorado Parent Magazine and a parent of two children.
As a teacher, she won Outstanding Teacher in Douglas County Schools.