Children should be made to write thank you notes to people who have given them gifts. Whether they are birthday gifts, holiday gifts or I’m happy to see you gifts, it’s the right thing to do to say thank you. People appreciate you and your child taking the time to thank them in a special way. They don’t have to be elaborate but the gesture says a lot. My kids have just started writing but even before they could print, I would write the thank you card and let them color, or more like scribble a picture to include. As they have gotten older we’ve done some fun projects together to make the thank yous special. After all, the giver took the time to pick out a special gift, we can take the time to say a proper thank you.
When my kids were younger, say 2 and 3 I purchased white note cards and envelopes and tempera paints from Michael’s Arts and Crafts. At the Dollar Store I bought a bag of marbles and they did marble painting on the cards and I wrote the thank you letter. Marble painting is fun and easy. The things you will need are a disposable 9 x 13 baking pan, piece of cardboard to fit in bottom of pan, note cards, tempera paints in various colors, marbles, plastic cups (1 for each color), plastic spoons (1 for each color) and a place to set the finished cards to dry. Begin by putting a small amount of desired colors in each plastic cup. Place a note card that has not been folded in the bottom of the pan. Place a marble in desired color and scoop out with plastic spoon. Drop into pan and have child gently rock the pan so the marble rolls over the card making lines. Repeat with other desired colors. I usually only did two or three colors. For Christmas thank you cards, I did red and green only. Blue and silver for Hanukkah would be nice. The color combinations are endless.
If you have sidewalk chalk have your kids draw in big letters THANK YOU on your driveway or sidewalkand sit or lie down beside it. Take a picture and glue onto note cards or cardstock which is available in the scrapbooking section of craft stores. You can crop the photo to fit the card or make the card the size of the photo. This idea can also translate to a white board or chalk board easel. Write the words THANK YOU and have your child stand next to the easel.
A fun idea to use year after year or holiday after holiday, because kids grow so fast, is to make a card from their handprint. Fold a piece of construction paper or cardstock in half and trace around your child’s hand. Cut out the handprint being careful not to cut through the fold so you make a card. Write the thank you on the handprint card. This is a great idea for relatives that live far away so they can see how fast the children are growing.
Turn it into an art project. Bring out the crayons, markers, colored pencils and finger paints for kids to get creative. Your child can draw a picture of himself playing with or using the gift. This is a very personalized way to say thank you. The gift giver will be so impressed that the card was made just for them. If this is too advanced for your child to accomplish for every gift, there is another alternative. You child can simply draw a picture of a favorite thing, your pet, a favorite toy or activity and then the drawing can be mass produced onto a set of cards offered at a number of websites. This is a more pricey way to go and advance planning is necessary so the thank you letters aren’t too late. You must consider the time it takes to process the order and ship the merchandise to you plus get the actual notes written. This is a project that should be done well in advance of the birthday or holiday. Another take on this idea is to photograph your child surrounded by balloons for a birthday and have photo cards made at any number of sites like Kodak, Shutterfly and others.
Last, but not least, don’t forget personalized address labels. These don’t have to be expensive but it you want to purchase them, companies are easily found on the web. A Google or Yahoo search will produce dozens of companies. An easier and quicker way is to make them yourself. Purchase a package of labels at an office supply store or check Target or WalMart to see if they have smaller packages. Using your word processing program, make the labels. Use fancy fonts and different colors to liven things up. Older children can even make their own.
Think of how proud your child will be when he or she makes her own cards, writes the note and has a personalized address label. Certainly the person who gave the gift will be thrilled to receive a handwritten thank you card and you are teaching your children to be grateful and more importantly teaching good manners. Hopefully these ideas will make it fun for them as well.