Who knew that reading a little book from the library would turn into such a family craze! Flat Stanley is a cute little book written by Jeff Brown back in 1964, 2 years after my mom was born. They have updated the book covers through the years but the story is still relevant to children today. They have more books in the series but this one has been my personal favorite.
I know this really has little to do with ministry but it has been such a fun project that it has boosted our family camaraderie in so many ways. I have sent Flat Stanley to over 20 people for our original project for our Homeschool Literature Fair. They were supposed to take pictures of Flat Stanley at a local attraction or go with them and do something that they do every day. We also sent out a little Flat Pat for our daughter who is 3, we are calling her Flat Stanley’s little sister. Together they have reached 17 different states and done some pretty amazing things!
We have looked forward to seeing the photos that people send in the mail, e-mail, and post on Facebook. My grandmother even took her Flat Pat to several states and to her Senior Center and church with her. It was pretty fun seeing my old pastor and college professor holding Flat Pat. It has united me with old friends and brought a new bond between us again. So many people have enjoyed the project so much that they have thanked ME for allowing them to come for a visit. The kids when they receive the photos look at them and ask questions. It has been educational in every way.
My Christian friend from high school even took him to Disneyland. My college roommate took him on a Road Trip from Tennessee to Georgia to Florida to Alabama to Arkansas! Our friends that moved away showed us around cold and snowy Michigan and Minnesota. My 4th grade teacher even allowed him to come to her class and help with their reading class and talked some of the girls from my high school to take him by the Alamo during a trip they took to San Antonio, Texas.
Another family has taken him on deputation with them as they travel to different states. It has given their kids a project and kept our children in touch with them. I would actually suggest doing a fun type of thing like this if you were going on deputation. It might give you a purpose and connection to those following you on your journey and a little purpose for taking all of those pictures on the side of the road.
Some people I knew back when I served as a church secretary that brought their youth group to our church for a youth conference even took our Flat Stanley to a wildlife park in Australia where they now work as missionaries. God has really been so good to give us small blessings and connections. I even wish we could take an idea similar to this and send it out to our missionaries, by mail or by scanning the character and e-mailing it, and having them send photos in to Sunday School classes. It could create some exciting news and things for children to look forward to when going to Sunday School.
For our family, we have even chosen to extend the project to see if we can get a Flat Stanley or Flat Pat to all 50 United States and beyond! I highly recommend reading the book, it’s an easy day or two reader for a first grader. There are other projects you can do with the books, there is a lap book study that can be found on the internet, here.
If you are interested in following along on our Flat Stanley project follow us on our Flat Stanley 50 page on Facebook! We still have a multitude of states to add to our list, so if you’re feeling fun and adventurous then please contact us on that page. We also would love to go beyond America for all of you missionaries out there! This can be a great project for you and your children.
We are working on a separate family project going around our town and city and visiting places we have never been before with our Flat Stanley so that we can send them back to the children that have sent us pictures. It is helping us see new places we have never been, since we are still relatively new to the area, having been here 3 1/2 years.
God is so good to let us be in contact with our friends from the past and giving us some anticipation for the future. It’s the little things like a flat piece of paper with a little kid’s drawing on it that can bring a smile to your face! Thank you Lord for the little blessings!