It can be a SUPER difficult thing for a gung ho grandma to live far away from her grandchildren. We are always looking for ways to stay connected with these children that we love. This is the second half of a post on staying connected across distances … the first was my post Using Technology to Connect to Your Grandchildren
In this day and age of Facebook, Instagram and messaging, sending things in the mail may seem a bit dated. But there is something magical to a child about getting an envelope or package in the mailbox with their name on it. It is a little like opening a gift at Christmas. And unlike email or texts, when kids get mail, they have a tangible reminder of you that they can hold in their two little hands and enjoy over and over again. That is better than a text any day.
There is also something exciting for a child in going to the post office and putting something addressed to their grandma in that magical slot and knowing that days later it will arrive in your hands.
Here are some ideas of ways to use mail to connect with your grandchild:
Send personalized gifts in the mail to your grandchild, like a pair of pajamas you sewed for them or a pair of mittens you knitted. Maybe sew them a Halloween costume of their favorite superhero outfit, ready for trick-or-treating, or a princess dress for their dress-up box. Every time they wear them it will remind them of you.
You could turn a photo from a past adventure together into a puzzle, or make a dress for her favorite doll. Maybe send your Lego fanatic a set they have been drooling over for months. You could send your favorite little gardener some packages of seeds, or your teenager a ticket to see their favorite singer. You know your grandchildren and their interests, so send them a gift that shows how well you truly know them. It is nice when the grandma who loves you knows exactly what gift will bring a smile to your face.
Have Them Send Postcards
Sometimes young children can be a little daunted by the idea of writing you a letter to mail. Go to a craft store, like Michaels, and buy blank postcards (or make some yourself with card paper). They’re the perfect size for the grandkids’ drawings or paintings. You can give them a pile of the blank postcards already addressed to you and stamped, so all they will have to do is create the art for the front and then write you a short message on the back (their parents can help with that if they are very young). Ask their parents to encourage them to write or draw you something every couple of weeks. Even though you can’t be with them, those regular postcards will make sure that you’ll never be out of your grand-baby’s heart. And be sure you send your own postcard back to them.
Mail Book Club
You and your grandchild can belong to your own “mail-book-club”. Each month you can mail a book to your school-age grandchild. You both read that book and then you can focus on topics from the book when you talk on the phone or Skype.
Share what your favorite parts of the story were, what surprised you, or how you would have changed the ending. You can discuss the book each time you finish a designated number of chapters, or when you are finished the whole book. You could also make a homemade bookmark made from a photo of the two of you together to send with the book each month.
You can read the books together on Skype, but you can also try reading a book and uploading it to YouTube so your loved one can hear you reading it anytime.
For tips on talking to your grandchild about books, read my post found here 17 Ways a Gung Ho Grandma Can Help Raise a Reader
Activities To Try
There are many fun activities you can do together through the mail …
- Send jokes to each other.
- Send unscrambling letter puzzles. For example, ask them a question and then give them the scrambled letters that they can use to unscramble and answer the question.
- You can send a picture from a coloring book that you have colored with a message written on it to your grandchild, and include an uncolored coloring page for them to color and return to you when it is done.
- Create a photo book (you can use the free small plastic photo albums they give you when you get your pictures developed) that shows a day in your life, or maybe a project your are doing, like planting your garden vegetables or making a quilt (I know a lady who sent her nephews a book she made about harvesting corn, and they loved it.) You can add captions to describe what is happening in each photo. Send along an empty photo album, and your grandchild, with the help of their parents, can create one for you of something they are doing and mail it back.
- Grandkids love to get art supplies from grandma, but if you live far away, you don’t always get to see the masterpieces that they create with your gift. Include some large, prestamped envelopes with your art supply gift and tell your grandchild that you want them to regularly mail the best of their masterpieces to you so you can have an art exhibit for them. When they do come to visit you, display all their artwork on a large wall, and either just enjoy it yourselves, or have family and friends over to “ooh and aah” over the creations.
- Create some lunchbox notes for your grandchild from you, and mail them to the parents. These notes can be slipped in to your grandchild’s lunchbox with help from Mom or Dad and your grandchild will be pleasantly surprised to have some love sent with their sandwiches!
- Mail your older grandchild an origami book and square origami paper … then take turns making an origami creation and mailing them to each other (I am not very good at origami, but there are patterns that are easier and those are the ones I stick to. There are Youtube videos you can watch to help you get better at it).
- Cut out a comic strip from the newspaper (or a 50 cent book from a garage sale) that you think is funny, and mail it to your grandchild. They can cut out a comic strip they like and mail it back. The next time DRAW your own comic strip featuring the two of you on an adventure and sent it through the mail. Your grandchild can then DRAW a comic featuring the both of you and mail it back. You can do all sorts of variations of what the comic strips are about.
- You can buy a subscription to one of the many amazing children’s magazines that are available. I can’t tell you how much I adore magazines … multiple interesting things in every issue to keep kids engaged. Subscriptions can be quite pricey, so check on the internet for deals. They will arrive in the mail monthly to your grandchild and each time one arrives, they will remember that their grandma made it possible. This gift will encourage literacy and can reinforce their interests. If your grandson is a skateboard fanatic, get him a subscription to a skateboarding magazine. If your granddaughter is into sports, maybe get her Sports Illustrated Kids.
- My 20 favorite magazines for children are:
- National Geographic Kids (ages 6+)
- National Geographic Little Kids (ages 3-6)
- Chirp (ages 3-6)
- Chickadee (ages 6-9)
- Owl (ages 9+)
- Sports Illustrated Kids (ages 8+)
- Time For Kids (there are 4 different editions made for different age groups)
- American Girl (from the same company as the dolls, ages 8-12)
- High Five (from the Highlights company, but for ages 2-6)
- Highlights (ages 6+)
- Ranger Rick (ages 7-12)
- Big Backyard (younger version of Ranger Rick, ages 4-7)
- Discovery Girls (made for tweens, ages 10+)
- Jack and Jill (ages 7-12)
- Dig Into History (ages 9-14)
- Cricket (ages 9-14)
- Babybug (ages Infant- 3 years) *This is the one I love for grandbabies
- Ladybug (ages 3-6)
- Spider (ages 6-9)
- Boys’ Life (ages 6-14)
I know that I LOVE getting things in the mail, and grandkids are no different. Use the postman to help you stay connected to your grandchildren across the miles.
Leave a comment below and share something that you have sent through the mail to a grandchild that they have loved … it helps to hear of other grandma’s great ideas!
And if you like the idea of using the mail to stay connected to grandchildren, please share it with other grandmas!