Mail A Masterpiece

By Jessica Lippe

Receiving mail from home can really brighten a camper’s day, particularly during an extended session. Many camps already make receiving mail extra-special by having campers kiss the camp mascot or jump off the diving board in order to receive letters. You can help make it even more enjoyable by giving parents a few fun, creative ways to send mail! And, because sending a letter home sometimes helps cure homesickness, you can also use these ideas during craft time so campers can mail their works of art home! And here’s the best part--you have most of the necessary supplies lying around camp already!


Message In A Bottle
Turn an empty plastic soda bottle into a creative and fun gift! First, wash and dry the inside of the bottle. Then, have fun filling it with anything that can fit through the bottle neck. Try photos, small toys, a mini notebook, crayons, erasers, shaped foam pieces or a hand-written letter. Make sure that everything is packed tightly and that there are plenty of soft items for cushioning. Screw on the cap and secure with packing tape. Be sure to black out the bar code on the label, or just remove the label altogether. (Excess bar codes can give incorrect information to post office machinery, and may delay shipping.) Add an address and sufficient postage, and it’s ready to be mailed!

Flip-Flop Mail
Have you ever lost only one of your flip-flops? After campers leave, there’s probably a landfill’s worth in the lost-and-found. Look on the bright side and use the remaining flip-flop as a postcard! Before you begin, make sure that the sandal is clean. On the bottom, write a message to the recipient. (It’s best to use permanent ink for this project.) Decorate with fabric paints or colored permanent markers. On the other side, print the address. (Be sure to leave enough room for postage!) This has an extra-special meaning if mailed to or from a beach!

Recycled Greeting Card
With Christmas, Valentine’s Day, birthdays and all other gift-giving holidays, you can acquire quite a collection of greeting cards! Don’t know what to do with them? Regular recycling plants won’t recycle greeting cards, but you can! Cut off the front of a card and glue it to a piece of cardstock. Embellish with ribbon, stickers and raffia. You can also re-use card fronts by cutting them down and turning them into gift tags, or by attaching them to an ordinary paper bag to make a fun gift bag.

Envelope Collage
Now that you’ve made a customized recycled greeting card, it would be a shame to put such a masterpiece in a standard white envelope. Give the envelope some class! As a preschooler, did you pull out crayons and color the envelopes when writing letters to Grandma? While that is still fun (and Grandma probably still appreciates it), try this more grown-up approach: go through magazines and cut out colorful letters and pictures to glue on to the envelope (or box if it’s a big package!). Once all the pictures are in place, mix a bit of white glue with water, and use a paintbrush to paint this mixture over the collage. This will help prevent the cut-outs from falling off. Another way to make sure that the pictures stay attached is to take the envelope to the post office and ask for it to be stamped “non-machinable.” This will cost a few cents extra, but it will be worth every penny when it brings a smile to the recipient’s face!

Jessica Lippe is a freelance writer from Southern Oregon. She can be reached at