Many many moons ago I absolutely LOVED to write. I’d spend hours and hours writing letters to friends over the long Summer holidays – copying articles from magazines I thought they like to read, making up poems and filling them in with every little detail about my life. Looking back it seems so so long ago (OK, it was so long long ago but still!!). In my life it wasn’t until my mid twenties that email took over from writing, and although I love to receive an email (who doesn’t!) I still miss using pen and paper to send a letter. The sadder thing for me is that my children don’t really understand the art of letter writing at all. They can’t understand why we would take ages to wait for an answer rather than an immediate email reply! So when Viking got in contact and asked if we would like an international pen pal in time for National Writing Day 2018, I had to say yes. What a perfect idea and way to get my children interested in the joys of writing!
Viking set us up with a lovely international pen pal called Iris who blogs over at Kinder Diy Trends and is from Germany, and sent us a lovely box full of gorgeous writing paraphernalia to get us started! This was such a huge revelation to the children. They were fascinated with the quill and totally confused by the ink and stand – we had to obviously try out all of the different nibs so they could see what they were like – and of course we got covered in ink – which immediately took me back to my school days! We also had a go at trying our hand at stamping and writing in all the different pens. So much fun and the children wanted to get writing a letter straight away!
Viking had not only included the writing pens, stamps but also personalised paper AND a seal with the letter N on it! That was quite possibly both the most exciting and the most confusing to the children. Why would anyone need to seal their letters? So that led to a really interesting piece of learning for both children and they were fascinated by the whole process!
We had a great talk about why people used to send letters and why they don’t anymore, but that we were lucky enough to have a penpal where we were going to write to them! So write to them we did, and the kids went off to post the letter with great excitement. Thankfully, our lovely penpal Iris wrote back to us really quickly so the children didn’t have to wait long until they could open the letter – and they loved it!
Iris wrote an absolutely brilliant letter using loads of the great products in our writing boxes which definitely encouraged the children to write back to her and her family!
They were really fascinated by the different stamps on the letter (and I’m pretty sure neither of them had seen stamps before until we started sending our letters, so to find different stamps was a revelation!)
It has honestly been an eye opening experience both for them and for us! Although I do absolutely love the ease of email and social media to contact people, writing a letter really is so much more personal. I felt as though Iris and her family were in the house with us, and seeing her handwriting and personalisation of her letter is so much more than the impersonal email that we would normally exchange! When I mentioned to some of my friends that I was going to be writing to a pen pal, they were so delighted for me, and many said that they still write to elderly relatives or to friends far away!
I’m really hoping that we will continue to build a lovely relationship with Iris and her family, and will be encouraging both children to write to her children – this is going to be a gorgeous family thing to do and we will be rescuing what might, one day soon, become a lost art!
Disclosure: We were gifted the box of writing products by Viking in order to help us write a post about National Writing Day 2018.