Pen pals are people who consistently write or send cards to each other via postal mail or email. Before the world with internet and email, we wrote friends who lived far away. It was magical, to receive those letters! While a pen pal relationship is primarily based on writing these cards to each other, pen pals can even meet in person if they’d like. Did you ever get to meet yours?
For children and teens, it can be hard making new friends. Pen pals are a great way to connect with new like-minded individuals, in addition to practicing social and writing skills. Pen pals also give children the opportunity to experience deeper connections and build patience while waiting for the next card. In the modern world of technology, a pen pal allows your child to be tech-free. And if your child has a pen pal that lives in a different country - it opens their curiosity about the world’s cultures.
Where to Find a Pen Pal
There are plenty of websites and apps that connect long-distance pen pals. If you have safety concerns or younger children, you can always establish a pen pal relationship with someone you and your child already knows.
Where to look...
- PenPal Schools. Kids are connected with a pen pal to read, write, and do projects with. Teachers/parents can review the children’s work.
- Global PenFriends. Children can register for free and choose preferences for their pen pal such as gender, age, and region.
- ePals. This is similar to Global PenFriends where kids can choose their preferences for a pen pal.
- Slowly. Matches children with pen pals based on hobbies and interests.
- Bottled. This app allows kids to chat with people all over the world and learn new languages
3 Tips to Be A Great Pen Pal
- Let them be themselves. Inspire your child to write cards the way they would normally write to really express themselves. Encourage your child to showcase their personality, interests, and sense of humor in their pen pal conversations. Even pictures included inside a card or letter make it that much more fun.
- Always ask questions. Motivate your child to switch between talking about themselves and asking their pen pal questions. Some questions may be related to what your child just wrote. These questions can be about their pen pal’s favorite things, memories, or miscellaneous questions about the pen pal's culture or lifestyle.
- Continue the conversation. Decide with your child and the pen pal how often cards will be exchanged right at the start of writing to each other. This makes sure that both pen pals have an understanding of what is expected in the relationship. This also avoids conflict between the two.
Should You Use Mail or Email?
It’s time for your child to decide whether to handwrite cards or send emails to their pen pal. It’s all up to you, your child, and the pen pal. Handwritten cards provide a special creative connection and personal touch, while emails and messages are faster and can be a great way to communicate for those with less free time.
If you decide to go the handwritten route - take a look at all of our CardCraft products here. We have so many options for people of all ages and all walks of life. And a robot Robbie who can hand write your pen pal messages for you! Happy writing, friends!