Having been writing and posting letters since I was knee-high…
Add an extra level of fun to your pen pal letters by including an activity in the envelope for your friend to complete. Playing a game through the post may sound a little laborious, but actually it can be really entertaining. I’ve collected together five ideas below for games you can play with your pen pal through the mail.
Get adventurous with your pen pal and set each other tasks to complete. Keep it general or get specific to your friend’s locality, and have them search for certain things — for example, a statue in their town, or a black and white dog. Get your pen pal to snap a picture of each find, and email the photos across as proof (or print them and send them via snail mail, if they wish!) Remember to take your friend’s personality into consideration during this activity — if they are really shy, don’t challenge them to have their photo taken with a member of the clergy or a street entertainer, for instance!
Noughts & crosses
This is a very basic game, but it can still be fun to send back and forth with a friend — perhaps as a starter game before moving on to more complex ones. Just draw a grid and take the first turn, then send it on.
Hangman works on the idea of player’s taking turns, much like noughts & crosses, which makes it perfect for sending through the post. Being a simple and common game, everyone already knows the rules, so you can go straight ahead and get started. Think of a secret word, and draw a line on the piece of paper to represent every letter of that word. Make sure to write the word down somewhere so you don’t forget it as time passes! Each time your pen pal writes to you, they will suggest a letter. If it is correct, you write it in its correct space in the word, and if it is incorrect you draw one part of the hangman image. If you are new to this game, you can learn the full rules here.
If you and your friend play regular chess, then correspondence chess is a natural next step for you. If one or both of you are new to the game, playing chess through the mail can be an excellent way to learn, where you don’t feel in any way rushed to take your turn. The rules are exactly the same as regular ‘over-the-board’ chess, with the bonus that you have the opportunity to consult the internet and books before taking each move.
Write a story with your pen pal! Set a limit of, for example, two sentences per turn, and once you have written your section, fold the paper over so your friend can’t read it, and send it on for them to add to it. Once the paper is full, one of you can open it — it is bound to be hilarious! Make sure to send it on to your friend for them to read it too.
As well as games you can play together, your pen pal might also appreciate some activities they can do alone — perhaps wordsearches, crosswords, or sudoku.
Want to find a new pen pal? This blog post explains how.