A few months ago I started noticing a new phenomenon happening quite regularly among my little flock. Little envelopes stuffed with doodles and dotted with stickers began accumulating on my countertops. At first the letters were encased in makeshift envelopes constructed out of folded-up pieces of paper held together by a mix of scotch tape and mini staples. Then, without much thought as to the potential repercussions, I bought my brood a few notecard sets. And this right here turned out to be the precise moment when the amount of correspondence peppering my household surfaces increased exponentially.
It appeared that my littles had taken a liking to, ahem, “writing.”
Now, let me just state for the record here that I loved this newfound passion and wellspring of initiative and creativity, but I simply couldn’t overlook the fact that the current state of their resources fell just short of truly allowing them to accomplish what they were striving for. Unable to see the task through from start to finish entirely on their own, this letter writing kick began to take on a distinctive mommy-and-me bent.
At coincidentally the most inopportune of times, my involvement was apparently absolutely critical. Elbow deep in a sink full of dishes I’d be asked how to spell a flurry of friends’ names; behind a wall of scalding steam, straining a pot of boiling pasta a little voice behind me would ask if we had anymore envelopes; on all fours vacuuming under the sofa two little bare feet would appear next to me shouting/inquiring about a classmate’s address…and how to spell it.
You see my point here, yes?
However thoughtful and ambitious my pickles were attempting to be, their tools were simply not up to speed. So I decided to take this as an opportunity to finally put together an idea that had been on the back burner for way too long, something that would address the two main obstacles they were facing- easy-to-use address labels for their intended targets and a place to keep all of their writing paraphernalia corralled.
A children’s letters kit neatly contained within a 6×8 album and utilizing elements from my Project Life efforts would address the latter. And as for the former? We partnered with design marketplace, Minted, whose treasure trove of new beautiful and exceptional quality children’s labels designed by a community of independent artists was just what we were looking for. These labels would make addressing their envelopes quick and easy for our minis.
Two kits came out of this venture, as my sister and I realized that cousins figured prominently on our kiddos’ lists of recipients. We chose 6×8 inch albums by Becky Higgins and Simple Stories and used page protectors in a variety of formats by Simple Stories to contain our various contents. The size we chose is perfect, it’s large enough to hold everything you need but not in any way unwieldy for little hands to use.
Our next step was placing our order on Minted, a task that proved harder than it seemed due to the fact that there are so many whimsical options to choose from! We were able to customize each label on quite a few fronts, choosing our own font style, size, and often even the background color as well. We ordered return address labels for each kid as well as address labels for each of their most frequently targeted loved ones.
When the labels arrived, it was time to put the kit together. We started with an opening page that makes it clear from the start that this album is meant to be shared with their sibling! On the backside of this page is where they will have stored their respective return address labels, for ease of use.
Following this we placed a spread of four different blank notecard sets for them to choose from. We included only about three to four of each design with its corresponding envelope in each sleeve. The cards are a good variety they can draw from depending on their mood, the recipient, and occasion. All, however, are whimsical representations of their enormous personalities!
Onto embellishments and writing! Using two different page protector formats, we put together a few stickers- their decor of choice when it comes to letter writing. A paper envelope also in this section stores a few of their hand drawings and doodles that are never in short supply. They’re readily available here to be easily tucked into cards as hand-drawn gifts (especially for those abuelos!). We also wrote out a few frequently used terms in English and in Spanish on pieces of foam paper and attached them to a page divider so that the kiddos would have easy access to the basics of what they’re trying to say.
While working, we found that some of the bulkier items such as the cards and some of the stickers (especially the 3-dimensional sort) caused the sleeves of the protectors to bulge, so we easily remedied this by using a tiny strip of washi tape or mini paper clips to keep everything enclosed.
The next step for our little writers at this point would naturally be labeling their envelopes for their final destination. We made this process easy by including photographs of each loved one they might potentially want to write to and tucking their respective mailing labels into the sleeve right next to it. To print out all of the photographs we used I used my Epson PictureMate Show Photo Printer. I love the speed, quality, and the ability to get a preview of my image before printing to double-check cropping. It is my official go-to, gone are the days of mail-order photos for me! Again, I used paper clips at the top of the sleeves to ensure that the labels stay put!
Lastly, a neat little paper bag at the end of their letters kit houses the stamps they need in order to send their lovingly prepared letters out into the world!
Our kiddos were ecstatic when they received their children’s letters kits! A quick walk-through together explained everything they needed to know. The quality of the mailing labels made itself apparent right away! While easy to peel they are difficult to tear and hold up well to vigorous handling by eager little fingers. Of course, I know questions will always naturally abound here and there, but for the most part, they will be able to do this on their own, giving them the confidence and real sense of independence we could see they were after in the first place.