I recently purchased the "Stamp & Sort Mailbox" by Melissa & Doug. I saw this at a colleagues office. She highly recommended it and I thought it looked like a fun toy to add to my clinic, so I stopped at the teacher store on the way home and picked it up. It retails for approximately $30 Canadian and, like all Melissa & Doug products, it is very good quality, constructed out of wood and velcro. I see on their website that you can have it personalized with your (child's) name, unfortunately I don't see an option that allows you to change the colour to make it red like our mailboxes in Canada.
Skills that can be targeted using this toy are listed below. Keep in mind that these are just the ideas I have come up with before even trying it - this list will likely expand after I've used it for a while. If you have any additional suggestions, please add them in the comments below.
Printer friendly version (to keep with your toy)
- Pretend to send mail to different people for specific reasons using the mail included with the toy or make up your own.
- Pretend to be the mail-carrier and deliver the mail.
- Talk about the different kinds of mail, what is postage/stamps, who delivers the mail, how does mail travel around the world, why might we send something in the mail, the difference between "snail-mail" and e-mail.
- Vocabulary: letter, postcard, mail, mailbox, stamp, card, key, open, close, in, out, big/thick, small/thin, on, off, and turn.
- Child can practice utterances of varying length from single word responses to questions (e.g., "what are you mailing?" or "who are you mailing that to?"), to longer, fill-in-the blank sentences (e.g., "Put a stamp on the __" or "This is for __"), to spontaneously generated sentences.
- Practice /st-/ in "stamp"
- Use cards containing the sound(s) that the child is practicing and have the child mail the pictured items; child can practice at various levels from single words to spontaneous sentences.
Ideas for Adding to this Toy
- Use paper, crayons/makers, stamps/stickers so the child can make their own mail.
- Reusable option: laminate cards and add velcro for stamps (make your own laminated stamps or use those from the toy - just make sure that the velcro matches) so that the child can draw on the cards with a dry-erase maker.