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Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Kids and teens should read and write even when they are out of school. Why is this so important?

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Activity

Send a Smile: Make a Card for a Special Occasion

 

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Send a Smile: Make a Card for a Special Occasion

Grades 3 – 8
Activity Time 30 minutes to 2 hours
Activity Author

Dylan Smith

Dylan Smith

Portland, Oregon

 
Publisher National Council of Teachers of English
 

What You Need

Here's What To Do

More Ideas To Try

 

What You Need

  • Paper for the card (cardstock, copy paper, construction paper; any paper will do, but 8 ½ X 11 is a good size)
  • Note/scrap paper
  • Colored pencils, crayons, or pens
  • Envelopes, stamps
  • Additional art supplies
    • Scissors
    • Glue/paste
    • Glitter

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Here's What To Do

  1. Find examples of cards or invitations around the house or online.  Talk to the child about what makes a card funny, thoughtful, interesting, or heartfelt.
  2. Ask the child what the theme of the card will be (birthday, holiday).  For the text, does s/he want to write a limerick, joke, poem, or riddle?  Explore different sites for examples of limericks, jokes, poems, and riddles.
  3. Ask the child to make a list of 5-10 things on the note paper that s/he associates with the holiday, occasion, or event.
  4. Ask the child to make a second list of 5-10 things s/he associates with the person the card or invitation is being made for.
  5. From the lists, ask the child to choose elements to incorporate into the card.  (For example, the child might choose to make a birthday card for his or her grandmother whose favorite hobbies are knitting and watercolor painting.  The card could be a picture of the grandmother knitting with one of her paintings on the wall, accompanied by a rhyming poem praising her talents.) The child can use as many elements as s/he wants, though you may want to impose some limits in the interest of space.  The child can always make more than one card.
  6. Ask the child to pick the color and size of paper for the card, then fold it in half.  Make sure the child understands the concept of the card, that the outside cover presents the “setup,” and the inside conceals the “surprise.”
  7. Ask the child which pictures are to go on the cover, and inside, and where they will be placed in relation to the text, having s/he explain as a way of thinking about his or her own creative approach.  Then, have the child decorate the card accordingly, either by drawing, cutting and pasting, painting, or coloring.  As a variation of this step, the child may clip images from magazines to make a collage.  Encourage inventiveness and freedom of expression.
  8. After the card has been decorated, ask the child to write the text, using the note paper for a rough draft.  Help check for spelling and grammatical errors.
  9. Have the child write the text in the space s/he provided for it, being sure to put the “setup” on the cover and the “surprise” inside.  One option is to write the text in glue and sprinkle glitter over it.  Another option is to write the text in a design or spiral.
  10. Ask the child to sign his or her name inside and you’re ready to deliver or mail the card.

 

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More Ideas To Try

  • Have the child make his/her own envelope to put the card in.  After the envelope is constructed, have the child decorate and address it.  Make sure the paper is an appropriate size; double-sided tape is optional.
  • In case of a birthday card, have the child research the birth date on the internet for famous or historic figures born on the same day, or historical events that occurred on that day.  A variation of this is to research information about the birthday card recipient’s astrological sign.  Have the child incorporate what they’ve learned into the card.  Below are some helpful web pages: 
  • As a scout troop service activity, children might send their creations to a military base or nursing home.
  • Children can research local, obscure, or international holidays, such as “National Lighthouse Day,” “Vesuvius Day,” or “Bastille Day,” then make cards with a bit of history included.

 

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