The post office is a vital part of the American economy. Residents and businesses depend on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver everything from postcards and invitations to bills and packages. Teaching young children about the post office will help them learn the crucial role played by everyone at the U.S. Postal Service and will help them participate in this part of society. Consider these tips when teaching young children about the post office.
Check the mail with your child every day. If you walk to the mailbox in your yard, neighborhood or building, take your child with you. Let her bring the mail inside and help you sort it out. This will help her learn that what comes in the mail is important.
Watch for the mail truck in your neighborhood. Because of the unique design of these vehicles, children can easily spot them stopping at each mailbox to deliver mail. Explain to your child the role of letter carriers and why they deliver mail.
Make your own post office at home. Using shoeboxes and art supplies you have around the house, design a place where children can drop and pick up mail. (See Resources below.) Then, set a time where everyone can check his or her mailbox and see the goodies that were delivered that day .
Prepare special deliveries at your house. Graham crackers delivered in envelopes, stickers for a job well done or drawings can slide in an envelope for delivery to the child. Kept separate from items in your "at home" post office, this is a great tool for parents to use to reward children and teach them about the post office at the same time.
Tour your local post office. If you want an elaborate tour, call ahead and schedule a time. However, you can take your child with you on your routine visit to the post office and show him the location of the stamps, letters, envelopes and post office boxes.
Allow your child to mail something from the post office. Your child could mail something to you, a sibling or herself. Watch the excitement on her face when you check the mail a few days later to find the item in the mailbox.
Read books about the post office. "About the Post Office (Out & About)" by Sue Barraclough is one option you might consider to refresh your child's understanding about how the post office works.