Use Junk Mail to Help Your Child Learn
To most people, junk mail is just that: It's junk or trash to toss. But you can use it as a tool to help your child learn geography, math, map reading and more.
First, suggest that your child pretend to be a detective. Ask your student to examine each piece of mail to find where it came from. A postmark, publisher or return address on an envelope is a good clue. Or your child can check the reply address on the material inside.
After pinpointing the places the mail comes from, help your child:
- Locate the places on a map. If you want, hang a U.S. map on the wall. Each day, help your child make a dot on the map where each piece of junk mail comes from. As time goes by, see if more junk mail comes from certain areas.
- Sort the mail using different criteria. Your child could sort by state or regions of the country—like southwest or northeast; by which ocean or mountain range the mailer's address is closest to; by climate (desert, temperate, etc.); or by which major city or landmark the sender is nearest to.
- Calculate distance. Help your child use the scale on the map to find out how far a sender's location is from your hometown. Which mail pieces traveled the farthest distance? The least?
- Plan a pretend trip between two cities where junk mail pieces originated. On a highway map, help your child measure the mileage between them. Calculate how much gas it would take to drive the distance. Estimate how long it would take.
- Plan a pretend vacation to one of the cities. Help your child research interesting places to see or do on a visit.
Brought to you by:
West Point Consolidated School District
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