The festive season is over for another twelve months. Gifts have been gifted, ornaments packed away, and zillions of toy batteries replaced.
Have your children written thank you notes for their gifts? It's so important to incorporate opportunities for writing into our everyday lives. Writing real letters or cards is a lovely way to show someone you truly appreciate something they've done for you. Sometimes though, kids need a little prompting to get started.
With children still at the pre-writing stage, I suggest you ask them to draw themselves interacting with the gift (a little tricky if the gift was a pair of socks, so you may have to improvise.) If you write the person's name for them, they can copy it onto the picture and add their own name to the bottom.
Beginning writers could draw the same picture, and try to add a short thank you message of their own. Don't worry about spelling and legibility - that's part of the charm of this kind of letter. If absolutely necessary, you can ask your child to tell you what to write underneath, " so Grandma can read it more easily." This way, the message you give them is not about correctness, but about having a go.
Older children might need ideas of how and what to write. They could try personalizing someone else's thank you letter, using a template, or simply describing what they liked about the gift. Kids who are already competent writers might like to explore conventions for letter writing, create some funny thank you messages like the one above, or drive Grandpa crazy by putting their message into code(!).
Most kids enjoy creating. Encourage them to embellish or decorate their letter or card. They could use the computer to print out one of the templates above, find an attractive design in a desktop publishing program like Publisher, or go crazy with scrapbooking techniques. Presentation can be one of the many joys of writing, and google will bring many more options.
Giving thanks is not only good manners, it's a great and fun way of developing writing skills. Donut you think so?
(Photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/emilywaltonjones/1350387435/)