Pen Pals for Our Boys {Free Printable Pen Pal Themes for Boys}


Pen Pals for Our Boys

Writing and boys do not always mix well but a ministry mama and I sparked an idea that it would be good for our boys to get to know each other. We live across the country and three time zones apart from each other but hey, who doesn’t need more friends of like faith!? My boys are eleven and ten years old and her boys are about the same age. The boys do have a lot of things in common already but they do not know it… yet!

This dorky writer of a mom may be a little more excited about their pen pals than they are because of my positive experiences of having pen pals. You can read my last article 3 Reasons Ministry Kids Can Benefit From Pen Pals.

After digging around for pen pal ideas for boys (on Pinterest, of course!) I was coming up very empty-handed because most of the ideas are girly. It challenged me to come up with a pen pal theme list for boys to write about or for little things to exchange. Our plan is to have the boys try to write once a month so these ideas won’t break the bank if we send out any of the fun items on the list — like socks, stickers, paper airplanes, rocks, etc. The list also includes creative things to write about or send to each other that won’t cost more than a bit of their creativity (Christmas card, drawings, a secret code, and more!).

My friend and I decided to have the boys use snail mail with these pen pals. My oldest son has already been writing a friend via e-mail who had moved away many years ago. He uploads pictures of our outings and likes to add in emojis to his e-mails and usually keeps them short and sweet. I love both types of pen pals because it gives him experience typing and writing by hand! <– Homeschool mama is coming out there.

Here’s how we’ve started:

These are things I printed out so our kids could share about themselves with their new friend.

All About Me Freebie by Science Doodles on Teachers Pay Teachers*

All About Me Selfie Template by Angela Jerpe on Teachers Pay Teachers (Free)*

This is a free letter writing help for those who may struggle with creating the draft of a letter or need guidance on how to make sure there letter is neat and ready to mail called the Pen Pal Writing Process by Alexandra Henry on Teachers Pay Teachers.*

And a free downloadable Pen Pal Set for Kids from Beyond the Inspiration, complete with downloadable stationery. Some of the papers have lines, others have lines with pictures.*

And here is the Pen Pal Themes for Boys printable I created for our boys. It’s a fun way to keep the excitement of writing your pen pal going and contains gift ideas to send or swap with pen pals. The list is geared toward boys but could be helpful to girls too!

Pen Pal Themes for Boys (<—-Download)

Our oldest son, Uno, chose rocks from his rock collection to share and Dos chose to send an “All About Me” paper with his first letter. I don’t know where these pen pal friendships will take the boys or how long they will last but I hope in my heart that it will be a great experience! We did Flat Stanley many years ago and it was a fun adventure to see all the places Flat Stanley traveled.

Ministry and family life doesn’t have to be boring… keep it fun Mamas, be creative, make connections, and ENJOY!

*Not affliliate links.

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3 Reasons Why Ministry Kids Can Benefit from a Pen Pal

Every ministry kid needs a friend!  Did you ever have a pen pal? I had lots through the years when I was a kid and teenager. I even have a pen pal I have written for the past 3 years and I still love it.

I would encourage you to help your child find a child who is also in ministry or another Christian kid of like faith and practice. Ministry kids need to know there are other ministry children who are doing similar things they do in their family and in their church. I believe the common factor of similar beliefs alone will help establish a good friendship (but Ministry Mamas, we may have to help the kids be faithful to writing… more on that below!) Missionary children can also benefit from pen pals because it helps them be able to express themselves about their life and experiences on the mission field.

The truth of it is, they wouldn’t have to write a child but maybe a trusted Christian you know. A godly person with wisdom who would encourage and cultivate a good relationship with them that points them to Christ. Other people to keep in touch with might be: A Christian soldier who is deployed, a Bible College student, a youth pastor and/or his wife, a young adult on the mission field, or any other godly influence with time enough to sit and write.

 

3 Reasons Why Ministry Kids Can Benefit from a Pen Pal

  1. Writing to people keeps children connected to a broader world. There are lots of ministry kids who are lonely because they go to a church with very few children their age or missionary kids are in a foreign country surrounded by a different culture. Having a pen pal can connect a ministry kid with another child who lives like they do, serving God with their family.  Another lesson under this umbrella is that writing a person who is different lets your child understand variations in personalities and family preferences are common and that’s a good thing! When our children learn people can be different and still love and serve God the way they do then it helps them understand we do not have to be exactly alike to enjoy the company of one another.
  2. It teaches children about the joy of giving and receiving. To keep a pen pal relationship going there has to be reciprocation between letters — I send one, I receive one, etc. (This principle applies in so many aspects of life.) Receiving real mail is exciting! Letters have a mysterious element to them because you do not know its contents until you read it. Ministry kids who may be seeing or experiencing trials or personal struggles can benefit from the blessing of the letters from a friend and giving back. It can also help them look outside themselves by asking about the other person and being interested in their life.
  3. Having a pen pal teaches how to converse and encourage others. Reading letters can help your child learn to read tone and understand the feelings and heart of the other person. This practice of learning about the heart of another person can generate the qualities of empathy, compassion, and kindness. Children may open up to each other about their experiences and it can allow them to be able to have an opportunity to be a prayer partner with their pen pal and encourage them in life’s joys and struggles.

 

Helping Your Child Succeed as a Pen Pal

  1. Create a basket or kit that will have the necessary supplies they need to be able to write to their pen pal. Paper, pens, envelopes, and stamps are the very basics — add in stickers, gel pens, and stamps for more fun. There are great ideas for pen pal kits to send to your pen pal all over Pinterest, check this one out. It does not have to cost a lot of moolah, dollar stores have cheap supplies and cards. You can also teach your children to invest in buying the supplies for writing with money they earn.
  2. Help them with their writing skills. Teach them to write a letter and then teach them how to read a letter and respond with care. Teach them that writing a good letter can contain stories, descriptions, and questions. Writing without “I” as the main subject can be a challenge and should be attempted. Note: Boys may only have a factual type of letter exchange while girls may tend to share anything and everything going on in their lives and that’s okay! Help them spark their creativity with ideas and examples if they need it.
  3. Remind them to write when they receive a letter. There’s nothing worse than being a pen pal waiting desperately for a letter to arrive only to find out that you have been forgotten. It would be better for your child to write to their pen pal explaining why they will not be writing than no explanation at all. Before committing to a pen pal relationship consider the amount of time your child has. If they will be too busy to write it may be best to postpone having a pen pal until a better time.
  4. Be knowledgeable of the content of the letters if you can. Help them navigate even a pen pal relationship if they need help. Your job is to protect and nurture a good relationship. If the relationship goes south because of inappropriate content or the two pen pals are not a good match, then be willing to let that pen pal go. Be there for your child when and if those disappointments come. It is understandable people do change over time and so do their interests and not all pen pals are a good fit with each other.
  5. Spark their creativity! Help them keep the pen pal relationship interesting by being promoting thoughtfulness. Encourage your child to praying for their friend, include drawings, poems, whatever creative medium your child is good at doing. Or teach them to stretch themselves on the behalf of someone else just to be a blessing. You know your child best and can help them use their talents and gifts to be a blessing to their pal.

Hand writing letters is not for everybody so maybe pen pals won’t be for your kid– but what about Skype pals? or e-mail buds? Or phone calls? Or writing cards to missionary or church planter’s kids for their birthdays? There are other ways to “pen pal” and have our kids connect to kids in ministry (and others!) who may not be local.

Encouraging godly relationships is always good for us because we never know how God will use those things in our lives later on down the road! Just recently my husband was reunited with an old acquaintance he attended church camp with in junior high, and it seems they will be working on some upcoming projects together. God’s paths often intertwine in the most unusual ways.

Stay tuned for an upcoming article about how I’m involving our oldest boys in pen pals and for a free printable with themes for boys to write about or gifts/exchanges to make with their pen pal!

20 Writing Prompts for a Pastor Appreciation Card

October is the month when so many church members and church staff search for ideas to be able to shower their pastor and his family with love during Pastor Appreciation Month. As a writer, I would encourage you to put a good letter or a very nice message in a card. Write down your heart’s feelings, take that time to really put them on paper and share them with your pastor’s family. People will use a gift and may eventually give it away but many ministry families will keep cards in a file or a box to read in times of discouragement or reflection.

Not every pastor is discouraged or going through a trial but eventually they will.  A well written card or letter can be meat to a hurting pastor’s heart, they can revive a tired mind, and help a man on a mountaintop continue to press forward. Never underestimate the power of your written words to help God’s servant keep serving faithfully. What you say may be exactly what the Holy Spirit will use to speak to their heart on any number of matters.

Some people are intimidated by writing meaningful messages in a card or taking on the challenge of writing a full-blown letter. It doesn’t have to be hard. Be yourself when you write and ask God to guide your hand and your heart. He will help you fashion a meaningful (to both you and the pastor) note that can be an encouragement.

20 Writing Prompts for a Pastor Appreciation Card

  • Simply give thanks to him and his family for their leadership and work in the church.
  • Give details on how he has influenced you or helped you spiritually.
  • Write about the usefulness of his messages and their specific effect on your life.
  • Explain how the Holy Spirit used something he said to change your life.
  • Write about your perspective of his testimony and how it blesses you.
  • Elaborate on specific character qualities that make him a unique man of God.
  • Write about an event that sticks out in your memory where his wisdom helped alter a specific trial in your life or the ministry of the church.
  • Recognize his time and investment into the church and its members.
  • Highlight the fruitfulness of his ministry and how through the years the ministry has changed for the glory of God.
  • Describe the power of God through his preaching.
  • Give an example of how his marriage and/or parenting skills have been a particular blessing to you.
  • Explain how souls have been saved during the years he has led the ministry of the church and its impact on eternity.
  • Acknowledge his struggles and trials and encourage him to continue to serve and live faithfully.
  • Impart a message of blessing, similar to the blessings in the Old Testament given by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
  • Disclose your thoughts of how he and his family are a good example to the church and the community.
  • Make a list of prayers that have been answered in the last year and show him how God has worked in the lives of the members of the church.
  • Compliment his family for loving other people, serving, and teaching others truths of the Bible.
  • Tell him that you pray for him regularly.
  • Explain what his friendship means to you and your family.
  • Compliment his dedication to Bible doctrine and his faithful study of God’s Word.

This is an article that can help you all year round to be a blessing when you notice your pastor and his family need it. Please never discount the effect you can have one someone’s ministry just by taking time to express your thoughts in honest gratitude and genuine care. Happy Pastor Appreciation Month y’all!