What do you think of when you hear the words Post Office? Long lines? Antsy children (and adults)? Stamps? Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the mail slots and front desk? We recently got to find out!
To a child, post offices are generally lively places with lots to see. My kids love to come in with me when we have something to mail. They check out the greeting cards and the stamps. They love the different envelope options. Most of all they love to help me in any way they can.
If you have a child that likes to help, here are some tips on a general visit. For a deeper look, our field trip advice is below.
*Have mail prepped to go before you leave the house. Toddlers will not wait patiently while you pick out packaging, pack a box, and label it with the address. Have some, if not all of it done beforehand. At the very least, write the address out on a sticky label at home and bring one of your address labels to save you the addressing step.
*Talk to them before you head into the post office about your expectations; stay together, use quiet voices, what they can help with, etc.
*Involve your child. Let them pick stamps, hand envelopes to the postal workers, and talk to them throughout the process.
Field Trips often seem like this HUGE, expensive, time consuming event when in reality, they are often quite simple. In our month of Learning Through Adventure, there were some awesome and easy examples of field trips for young kids shared. Often young children are most interested in the places we go to and see every day.
Recently, the amazing president of our local MOMS group arranged a visit to the Post Office. If you're wondering how, it turns out to be quite simple. She went to the post office and asked to speak to the Postmaster. She asked if he would be willing to give a tour to a group of moms and kids and he said of course. They negotiated the time and date a little and then we were set.
On our Post Office tour we got to see the inside of a mail room where the mail gets sorted. Did you know they have a machine that scans packages and tells them which route the package is for? The kids got to ask some questions and then we headed outside.
In the parking lot out back were rows of mail trucks. The kids were giddy about this, especially when the Postmaster said they could go in one of the empty trucks.
The kids all took turns climbing in the truck, honking the horn, and investigating the large back space.
It was so wonderful of the Postmaster and his staff to let us intrude their space. My kids were fascinated and excited the entire visit. Now every time the mail truck circles through our neighborhood they know a little more about what happens behind the scenes.
The Bambini Travel Field Guide is filled with 12 mini-adventures of this nature.
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