A Toddler Toy You Should Hold Onto

It may come as a surprise that I'm about to tell you NOT to get rid of a toy. People have come to associate Tiny Toy Co. with guilt-free playroom decluttering. Still stepping on tiny toy debris? By all means, sweep it into a bag and let us upcycle it for you! Some toys, though, we'd rather show you how to extend for play-based learning that you might not have considered. This is one:

the toy mailbox

Both Fisher-Price and Little Tikes make toy mailboxes, designed for toddlers. Tiny people love putting the plastic envelope in and taking it out again. Raising and lowering the "You've got mail" flag is fun too. Some models have electronic alphabet songs, or other interactive learning features that you can (thankfully) power on or off, depending on your level of tolerance for electronic noise.

Beyond preschool, though, toy mailboxes make amazingly popular literacy activity centres -- right through the primary school years!

Think about it:  your toddler doesn't even know what a mailbox is yet. They don't understand the meaning of the flag being up or down, the delivery process or role of the postal workers, and they certainly can't read or write notes. Why get rid of this great toy before your child even really understands it.

Older kids love writing an receiving notes! Do you do lunchbox love notes? Let your kids write the weekly grocery list or birthday wish lists? Do you leave your kids sticky note reminders to get things done? Kids engage most powerfully with reading and writing when it's for authentic purposes. Writing for the sake of it, or reading solely to practice ones reading skills, is a thin and less-than-engaging activity. Download this printable with some fun ideas to turn your old Fisher-Price or Little Tikes mailbox toy into the hub of the house, or classroom literacy centre!

Don't have one? We do! Pick up a gently-used toy mailbox here.

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