Volunteers Needed! Summer Reading & Geography Challenge

Have you guys seen the videos going around Facebook about sending yourself postcards while you’re on vacation? The basic idea behind the majority of them seems to be you mail a postcard home each day you are away. When you’re home again, your postcards serve as a reminder of the wonderful trip you took. Now that #thebigone is reading and writing fairly well, I’ve been trying to think of a way to make this idea work for our family while encouraging summer reading.

Find out how you can help with our Summer Reading & Geography Challenge! Summer Reading | Learn Geography | Summer Slide | Early Learning | Post Cards | Summer Activities | Summer Learning Find out how you can help with our Summer Reading & Geography Challenge! Summer Reading | Learn Geography | Summer Slide | Early Learning | Post Cards | Summer Activities | Summer Learning

Summer Reading and Geography US MapStandard Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission from purchases you make through the links in this post (at no additional cost to you), which allows me to continue providing free content on the blog. 

I’ve seen suggestions of binding the postcards into books, framing them, and even turning postcards into a decorative chandelier! (Sudden itch to decorate with postcards? Here’s 10 more ideas which are all super cute!) My favorite project has to be the postcard travel journal you can see here. It’s super simple to assemble, and requires minimal supplies (hole punch, binder ring, and possibly some reinforcement stickers). The ring-bound journal is definitely the approach we will be taking.

I was wandering through Target with my husband the other night (which will surprise absolutely no one), and saw these great felt maps in the One Spot up front. I picked up the United States version immediately, because the $5 price tag made it tough to ignore. The wheels in my brain started turning, and I formulated a plan for how we would use the map in our home this summer. And of course, the more I thought about it and made plans, the more I realized that we obviously needed the world version as well.

Summer Reading and Geography World Map

(Note: I tried to find the exact maps online to link to, but unfortunately, it was a no-go. I’m linking to some other options, but if you want the exact maps I have, get yourself to Target- quick!)

Here’s the summer reading plan!

So, what’s my plan? I love the idea of sending yourself postcards while you travel, but unfortunately we just don’t travel a ton. However, I thought it would be super fun for #thebigone to see postcards from some of YOUR summer travels- or even just from your hometown! I would love for folks all over to send a postcard to #thebigone. Show (and tell) him what you’ve been up to lately, what your hometown is famous for, or a beautiful sight you have seen on your travels. This is a great opportunity to get your kids involved in drawing or writing, and can also facilitate a discussion of the mail (always fascinating to kiddos!).

Summer Reading and Geography US Map

After receiving a post card, we’ll take some time to read it together, and talk about what is pictured on it. We’ll mark the location the postcard represents on our maps. Sounds fun, right?! Then we’ll collect our cards on a binder ring, and #thebigone will have a cool ‘book’ of letters to him to read through whenever he wants! Mail call is such a fun and exciting way to get kids involved in summer reading. You’ll see their enthusiasm from the very beginning.

Why Bother?

At first glance, the idea may not seem very educational, but I think it’s going to be a great way to help my soon-to-be second grader avoid the dreaded summer slide. Here are the benefits I hope he’ll receive:

  1. Exposure to new cultures, locations, and ideas. There’s a wide world outside of the town we live in, and I’d like for him to learn more about it.
  2. Some basic geography skills. When a new postcard arrives, we’ll figure out where it is on one of our maps and mark the location with a pin. There will even be some computer practice involved with this step, as we use Google maps to figure out exactly where to place a pin.
  3. Reading! #thebigone has become a strong reader this school year, and is fairly confident with reading typed text up to a few grade levels above his current one. When we venture away from clean, perfect fonts, things get more challenging. Seeing a large variety of handwriting over the course of the summer will be the perfect way for him to work on adapting his reading skills.
    1. Bonus: Postcards don’t have a ton of room for writing, so #thebigone will practice this skill in brief, manageable bursts. There’s nothing too intimidating about working your way through a few sentences.

Summer Reading and Geography World Map

How can you help?

  1. Pick up a post card, whether during a weekly grocery run or while you’re on a trip. We’re not picky, we’d love to see cards from all over!
  2. Write a message, draw a picture, share a little bit about yourself. Be sure to sign it and let us know if we can find you on social media or online!
  3. Address the card, add your stamp, and send it on it’s way!
    1. Homebound But Hopeful
      PO Box 52186
      Webster, NY 14580
  4. Seriously, that’s it. SO simple! (And thanks in advance for being a part of our summer reading and geography fun!)
  5. Will we hit all 50 states before school starts in September? How about all 7 continents? Check back to see as our lists of summer reading postcards received grows!

Keep the fun going!

Build on a budding interest in geography and travel with these other fun ideas. Puzzles, games, and more help kids make further connections!

Do you do anything special to encourage summer reading and learning with your children? Tell me about your plans in the comments below!


    • Kate

      Thanks Ash! We’re very excited about it!

    • Kate

      Thanks so much, for participating in our project AND the nomination!

  • Shannon P

    Oh my gosh, this is such a cute idea!

    • Kate

      Thank you Shannon! We’re really excited about it!

  • babiestobookworms

    This is such a great idea! My daughter already loves getting mail and she just got a postcard from her godmother in Disneyland. She carries it all over with her! We aren’t planning on going anywhere, but I will see if I can find one from here!

    • Kate

      Thank you so much Vicki! Mail’s such a special thing for little ones!

  • Stephanie Lowry

    That is such a fun idea! What an engaging way to get kids enthusiastic about learning.

    • Kate

      Thank you, Stephanie!

  • Meredith

    This is such an amazing idea!! Saving your info!!!

    • Kate

      Yay! Thanks Meredith!

  • Mary

    What a great idea for summer!

    • Kate

      Thanks so much Mary!

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