My in-laws have just arrived home for a 10 week overseas holiday. They traveled through America, Canada, visited their son and his family in Paris, headed to London to see another son, traveled through Scotland and finished up in Turkey.
Because of the constant travel my daughter didn’t get to Skype with her grandparents as much as she liked. However, she experienced the joy of receiving post cards.
Do you still send postcards when you travel? If not, then start on your next trip. I think they are especially wonderful for young children. Dusty received 10 postcards, and each was specifically written for her.
From these simple letters she has learnt about:
Transport – red bridge in San Francisco, planes, trains with a see through roof in Canada and red buses in London with no tops
Different foods – clam chowder, baguettes
Language – sometimes she would be told a new word and its meaning in French
People – some men wear skirts in Scotland (kilts)
But most importantly she was able to keep up to date with her grandparents. As a toddler, it is hard for Dusty to express her thoughts just yet. But she definitely appreciated knowing what they were up to. It also helped us to answer Dusty’s constant questions about her grandparent’s travels. We would just refer to the postcards.
If you walked into our house over the past 10 weeks you would have been given one of these ‘stories’ to read to her. She knows most of them by heart and is often found reading them to her toys. They are in her bedroom, hiding in cupboards and besides the toilet. They are scrunched and ripped. But they are adored.
These simple postcards have also continued to develop a love of words and language. Instead of just books, Dusty now realises that words, or stories, can come from other bits of paper as well. So much so, that Dusty wanted me to read to her the story I was reading. It was a phone bill.
I think one of the reasons why the postcards were such a positive experience for Dusty is that they are similar to a child’s picture book. The small size meant limited words and the picture in the front was simple and a way for her to connect with the ‘story’.
As Dusty gets older, and gets more postcards, we can start teaching her geography and history through the postcards. We will get out a map, and plot out the route of her grandparents travels.
There is tremendous learning potential in postcards and I hope they do not become a dying art.