Making a doorknob mailbox is a neat way to help my kids master reading while keeping things fun and making some special memories along the way!
We love coming up with ideas that help kids reach milestones while having FUN! Our fun Reading Log Printable Pack, and our Family Reading Night are a few activities we LOVE. This darling Mailbox Printable is another fun reading activity that will get the whole family involved!
Make a Doorknob Mailbox to Help Kids Learn to Read
When my oldest of four daughters came home from preschool after a Valentine’s Day party with a “mailbox” full of Valentines, that mailbox eventually ended up on her doorknob. That led to me leaving her “mail”, and she thought it was quite possibly better than having a visit from the Tooth Fairy (well almost…)! I never intended for it to become a tool to help her learn to read, but that’s exactly what happened.
That was eight years ago. Since then, I have used the same “system” with my other daughters. It’s such a handy way to sneak in some learning without causing your child any anxiety. And, even better, it provides some fun for the whole family!
You’ve Got Mail
Once the mailbox is ready to go, you can begin leaving your child notes. I bought a set of index cards and kept them by my bed to help me remember to leave a note at night (at least most of the time)! Surely your child will bound out of bed in the morning to see if any mail arrived during the night! Our girls used to burst into our bedroom with excitement to read their cards to us while we rubbed the sleep out of our eyes. Such fun memories!
- Start with “notes” that are mostly pictures, or you can even use ABC Flash Cards, giving them a letter a day. You can go through them at bedtime, too. (My daughters loved showing off how much they had learned!) When certain letters/sounds would stump them, I’d “send” them that letter again until they had it down.
- Once they have their letters and sounds mastered, begin writing very short, simple words – on, in, cat, bat, sit, etc. You can help your child sound out the first letter and then the second letter – and then tell him/her to say it faster. Pretty soon, the lightbulb goes off! You will not believe the excitement (for both of you!) when that first word is sounded out!! We did lots of dancing and high-fiving in our house! Little by little, your child will start to get the hang of it, and the picture you draw will help, too. Eventually, you can omit the picture if you think there is “cheating” going on. 🙂
- Then, write real “letters”. Things really get fun when you can start leaving longer notes. Your child will love starting the day with a letter from Mom or Dad!
- Your older children can have a mailbox, too – because who doesn’t love getting mail?! Even though we didn’t leave mail for our older girls regularly, we would tuck a note inside their mailboxes occasionally so they didn’t feel left out of the fun.
- Put a mailbox on your door, and as your kids get older, you can write notes back and forth. At that point, they’d also be working on their writing without even realizing it!
- Perhaps even more than getting a letter from Mom and Dad, our daughters loved getting notes from each other! It was always adorable to see what our little one, in particular, would share with her older sisters. I kept a lot of those notes as keepsakes because they were too cute to discard!
- Sometimes the mailboxes also served as a good place to say those two little words: “I’m sorry.” AND, as I mentioned this in my post about keeping a “Safe Journal”, it’s nice to have a safe place to ask us even the most embarrassing questions, and it’s often much easier to write our words than it is to say them.
How to Make a Doorknob Mailbox
- printable doorknob mailbox (download below)
- glue stick
- writing utensil
- small treats + trinkets
- Download and print the mailbox printable. Cut it out and fold it along the labeled line. Secure the sides by adding some glue to the side tabs.
- Have your child write their names on the space provided.
- Hang it on your child’s doorknob and let the fun (and learning) begin!
Ready to make your own Reading Mailbox?
I hope this post has inspired you to give this a whirl in your own home! I bet your kids will LOVE it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Christy is the creative mom of 4 and author of the blog Harvard Homemaker. Christy was a contributor to Somewhat Simple in 2015.
This mailbox reading idea first published on SomewhatSimple in 2015. Printables were added in 2018.