Teachable Moment: Thank You Cards and Mail Sorting Machines

I love when plans expand to become learning experiences.  That’s what happened last Friday evening.

After we got home from our weekly piano lesson the girls were asking when movie night was going to begin.  I explained that before we launch into our weekly family movie we needed to write thank you cards for the wonderful gifts sent to us by our out-of-town relatives.

The girls were happy to get started because they love to draw, don’t mind writing (so long as it’s short and sweet;)) and they’re really into “mail” these days.  We recently started some pen pal connections with distant cousins and they love to send and receive mail.  So they got started.  I ran upstairs to my office to check my own email while they created their art.

A few minutes later the girls came up with their first completed thank you card and a fully-decorated envelope.

It looked like this:


First… I’m quite impressed with the tree!

But, I explained it would get stuck in the machines.

“Machines?” they asked.  “What Machines?”

“The Mail Sorters,” I responded.

“There are machines to sort the mail?”

Woo Hoo!  Teachable Moment!!  

Off to Youtube where we watched several videos and they would have happily watched more.

The one thing I will say is that you have to be careful on youtube with the commercials (which you can often click to skip) and the previews that come up on the right side.  Just be aware.  

Here are two videos we watched:

How the U.S. Postal Service Works by HowStuffWorks

How It’s Made Mail by thatsmynamedude – The Discover / Science Channel’s “How It’s Made” Mail episode.

The Discovery Channel episode shows a woman hand sorting mail destined for other countries.  I explained how at one point in time all mail had to be hand sorted.  They just said, “WOAH!”  Then we talked about how engineers invented machines to solve that problem and make things move faster.

Then we got back to work on our letters.  After watching how the machines read the addresses the girls were very interested in addressing the envelopes themselves.  We had a fun teachable moment and got our thank you cards done.  Thought I’d share in case anyone else out there is working on your post-holiday thank you cards as well.  No thank you cards to write?  How about finding an out-of-town friend or relative willing to be pen pals?

Super fun!

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Courtney Brandt - January 8, 2013 - 4:08 pm

What a wonderful parent you are! Teaching your girls great manners and how mail works actually sounds like a very nice afternoon. :)

eaca71997 - January 8, 2013 - 4:15 pm

Aw! Thanks Courtney! I was a really fun activity. We all enjoyed it.

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