From the Desk of... Your Kid


These are just the right kind of notes that you can make with your emerging writer and pop in the mail. My son just celebrated his 4th birthday and we had a fun time working on these once his guests left.

Here’s what you’ll need:

[+] Postcards. I like the Strathmore watercolor postcard pack.

[+] Watercolors. The Koh-I-Noor set is nice because they’re easy to travel with.

[+] A fine pen (Sakura Micron is my go-to) and a few real watercolor brushes that don’t fall apart after one use.

A few months ago, my son learned how to write his name. It’s about the cutest lettering I have seen in a long time, maybe ever.

Using his own lettering as my example, I wrote his name at the top of a blank watercolor postcard. A thin black outline makes for a nice finished touch. I wouldn’t recommend asking an emerging writer to sign his or her name multiple times on cards unless he or she is extremely motivated and really wanting to do it. You don’t want to make writing or letters something that your child dreads.

When your artist is ready to paint, lay out all of the cards together. When he chooses a color, encourage him to make a similar mark on the other cards. After a few splashes, voilà. The notecards are decorated and personalized by your child.

At another point in the day, ask your child about something he or she liked to do with the person who came to their party or something they like about the present they received. Write this sentence on the back of the postcard. (It’s usually surprising and sometimes quite funny.) For some reason most children get immense pleasure from applying postage; as an added benefit this happens to be fine motor skills in action, the kind of early-literacy work a preschooler needs to ready himself for holding a pencil.