What is a Mail Kit?
A Mail Kit is a decorated box with writing supplies given to children of
Why is a Mail Kit important?
Being separated from other family members is never easy. That’s why it’s
important for children and their incarcerated parents or family members
to stay in touch. Long distance phone calls are nice but are often too
expensive. Mail Kits can help families begin letter writing and stay in
the letter-writing habit.
What do we need to make a Mail Kit?
Large shoebox or plastic file box, stationary, assorted note cards,
postcards, envelopes, pencils and pens, colors and markers, postage
stamps, small spiral bound notebook, and a copy of the sample form
letter. An optional item would be a diary or journal for the older
children to encourage practice in writing and for a place to write down
daily activities to refer to when writing a letter. Mail Kit Instructions (PDF) |
Note: Do NOT include stickers. Some correctional centers
will not accept a letter (even from a child) if the envelope or letter
How long will the Mail Kit activity take?
One to two hours to shop for supplies and time to decorate several shoe
What do we do?
Choose a time to introduce this
activity to your 4-H club or community group by explaining why it’s
important for children to be able to write to an incarcerated
Depending on the ages of the club
members, ask for volunteers to shop for the needed supplies.
Set a date and time to assemble the
Make copies of the sample letter to
add to the Mail Kit. Some family members may not be able to think of
anything to say so they can “fill in the blanks” of the copied
letter until they become more comfortable with writing letters.
Add a “Just for You” label to
identify your club/group to the families who will be receiving the
Mail Kit (Avery #5160 size labels work well).