One of the greatest joys in life is receiving a thank you note, especially when it was written or made especially for you by a child. There’s just something truly special about a child who is grateful and who takes the time and makes the effort to create and send a note of thanks. As loving parents, we strive to model thankfulness and to teach our children the importance of expressing their gratitude to others.
Asking your child to write a thank you note may seem like another homework assignment to them and yes, they may whine and stall or tell you they don’t know how. But thank you notes don’t have to be a lesson in penmanship. Encourage your kids to be creative and think of it as art.
If you have younger kids, it’s a good idea to work together and brainstorm what to say in the thank you note. Help your child to write out or dictate a first draft to use as a guide for the final project.
Make It Fancy
When our two kids were young, I happened upon a delightful book entitled “The ABCs of Creative Lettering” by Lindsay Ostrom at a local bookstore. The lettering styles like Tinkertoy created by adding dots at different points on each letter and Puff Print’s fat, cloud-like letters, add an artistic touch to even the simplest message. And as your kids have fun practicing favorite styles, encourage them to invent a new style.
Also, if you have a child who enjoys writing in cursive, italics, or the fancier style of calligraphy, their handwritten note will definitely be a treasure most cherished by the recipient.
Cut Out and Paste Magazine Letters, Words, and Pictures
Gather all of your old magazines and get out the scissors and the glue sticks. Your kids will have great fun piecing together a unique and colorful thank you note using a variety of letters, words, and pictures they’ve cut out from magazines and paste on to a blank card, piece of stationery, or construction paper.
Looking through the pages of magazines in search of the perfect letters, words, and pictures is like going on a scavenger hunt.
Stamp and Print
The great thing about using rubber stamps is that the ink pads come in a wide variety of colors and your kids can stamp letters, words, numbers, and objects like hearts, flowers, stars, and smiley faces as well as seasonal and special occasion art.
Just like in the above magazine cut and paste style, encourage your kids to jazz things up a bit by using a mixture of individual letter stamps and whole word stamps like love, thank you, and fun in the same sentence.
Now, let’s talk printing. Pique your kids’ curiosity and ask them: Who wants to get messy? When you get a resounding and a unanimous “yes,” it’s time to get out the tempera paints. Show your kids how to use their fingerprints to make flowers, ladybugs, and clouds. When the paint is dry, they can add finishing touches with fine-point markers.
A good resource is Ed Emberley’s “Great Thumbprint Drawing Book.” I never realized a simple thumbprint could be transformed into so many different things.
Both the magazine cut-and-paste style and the stamp-and print style make it so much
easier for kids who struggle with writing to make and send a heartfelt note of thanks.
Compose an Original Poem or Work of Art
The writer or the artist in your family can truly make his or her thank you note a one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude by composing an original poem or drawing coupled with a few words of thanks.
Maybe the poem or drawing was inspired by the gift or the gift giver. Your child might want to add a special note to share why the gift or the gift giver is so special.
Mix and Match Styles
Since creativity knows no boundaries, your kids can mix and match any of the above styles with another or incorporate a little something from all of these styles.
What matters most though, is your kids’ desire to express gratitude. It doesn’t matter whether their thank you notes are fun and colorful or elegantly crafted, or even if the notes include misspellings or ink blotches because it’s always the thought that counts.