Like most of us, I get oodles of mail throughout the week, but only a handful of things that are truly necessary.  While my family is extremely conscious of our recycling efforts and recycle all the paper we get in the mail, I have found that several pieces of mail can be reused as quick and fun activities for my boys.

The best “junk mail” or “mass mailers” are the ones that come with freebies – labels, notepads, bookmarks, and calendars.  I sort through these items, putting contribution request forms in one pile, explanation letters in the recycle bin, and the stickers, labels and other items in an envelope.  My husband and I go through the contribution requests towards the end of the year (which is probably why we are on so many mailing lists that send us these things!) to make donations, and the kids get to have some fun with the extras that come along with these requests.

I save up return envelopes for the kids as well.  The boys will write letters, make drawings, or even create lists (this week it was a Christmas list) on the freebie notepads.  Then, they stuff these into the envelopes which they then decorate with stickers and return address labels.  My older son loves to cut the little pictures off of the address labels and use just the picture stickers for decorating, while my younger son (age 4) simply loves seeing how many stickers he pile on the envelope.

This is a great activity for restaurants, doctor’s offices, anyplace where kids need something to occupy their time.  It is small and easy enough to stuff into a purse or bag, and when you reuse things you receive in the mail, the cost is appealing as well!