Playful Learning Blog Tour: Mail Center

playful learning blog tour: mail centerI’m thrilled to be a stop on Mariah Bruehl’s blog tour for her must-read book Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder, a useful resource for parents and teachers who want to infuse learning with playfulness. Yes please! They say that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but this book is certainly an exception. The cover is gorgeous, and the content is equally rich. Mariah has worked in the field of education for over a decade, runs one of my favorite blogs, Playful Learning, and owns a brick and mortar shop in Sag Harbor, NY where children can take workshops and grown-up can buy super-useful supplies. Mariah also teaches E-courses, and I’m giving a spot away to one lucky reader at the end of this post.

Playful Learning is full of meaningful — and doable! — activities for children ages 4-8. Although my own children are 1 and 3, it feels like the perfect time to add this book to my library… some of the projects already relate to my three year old’s abilities and interests, and the rest is food for thought as I plan for what’s to come.

As soon as I read about the Mail Center in a section of the book called Playful Learning Spaces, I knew immediately that it would appeal to my three year old.

playful learning blog tour: mail centerThe morning that the book arrived, N was busy putting together a care package for her uncle who recently moved to a new town. After wrapping up a painting and some home-baked cookies, we waited patiently in line to ship it at the post office. N helped me address the label and wanted to choose our new sheets of stamps. We were ready for a Mail Center! 

playful learning blog tour: mail centerI took inspiration from Mariah’s suggestions and assembled a center that would work in our space. I moved everything out of a bottom drawer in our dining area (it used to hold our table linens) and filled it with envelopes, cards, stamps, scissors, mailing labels, and our return address stamper. I also put our incoming mail in the far right side of the drawer.

playful learning blog tour: mail centerIt’s all self-service — N can go right to it, take what she needs, and then close it up when she’s done. She’s learning how to properly stamp an envelope and where to attach labels and return addresses.

I loved Mariah’s suggestion to create an address chest so that children can label envelopes on their own. Ownership builds confidence! Photos of loved ones go on the outside of the drawers and their address labels go on the inside. Since I didn’t have a chest, we improvised by taping photos of loved ones on the outside of envelopes. And now my daughter can stamp, address, and mail her own creations…all by herself.

playful learning blog tour: mail centerIf you would like your own copy of Playful Learning you can buy it on Amazon or purchase a signed copy from Mariah’s shop.

Playful Learning Giveaway(s)!

I’m happy to share that Mariah is giving away both a copy of her book AND a spot in her 6-week E-Course, Playful Learning Spaces. For a chance to win a copy of Playful Learning: Develop your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder or a spot in Playful Learning Spaces E-Course ($125 value), leave a comment here by Friday, September 9 at 9 pm PST. Please specify if you prefer one prize or the other. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on my blog on Saturday, September 10.

This project is shared with It’s Playtime.


  1. My daughter was one of the youngest in her class and has just been bumped up a grade now some of her class mates are almost 2 full years older than her. I am a little concerned, the further up the school you go the less playful the learning experience becomes, both the course and the book would surely be a great resource to encourage playful learning support at home. I would be happy with either.

  2. Looks like she had a blast! I love how playing & learning go hand in hand. I would be very happy with either prize. Thanks for the chance!

  3. Hi, book, book, book 🙂

    Since we do not live in the same country as the grandparnets do, MailCenter would be nice idea, just have to think on how to present it, we use nowadays sms and emails 😀

  4. What an awesome book! I work at a reggio inspired preschool and play is a huge part of our day. But we are always looking for new ideas. This book would be a nice addition to our library for the teachers.

  5. I work in a Head Start Preschool…while we do have a lot of fun, we are also mandated to teach these children as much as we can to help them be successful in school…thank you for this chance to win…I hope to win the e-course!

  6. This summer our girls they had an ArtistTradingCard exchange with family members through the mail and loved it! Receiving mail back addressed just for them was their favorite part!

    I’d love to win a spot in this Playful Learning course!

  7. Do I have to choose? I’ll take both please 🙂

    I suppose if you’re going to make me, I’ll choose the book…. but that e-course sounds very tempting!
    Yay for playful learning!

  8. So happy for the chance to get this book!! (would love the book, please!) I’m loving the playful learning blog tour because now I’ve been introduced to so many great new-to-me blogs like this one!

  9. Sounds like a great book. We’ve always had a mail center , but nothing as official as this. I have a box of envelopes on our desk and access to paper. There are always stickers and I save extra address labels that we are sent that i let my daughter use. Envelopes are a favorite and almost every drawing ends up in one!
    I guess we need some more organization!

  10. So happy to have found this blog!! Great ideas, and I love this. My daughter loves making “letters” for family, with lots and lots of stickers. Thanks for the extra tips! The book sounds fun!

    • I’m glad you found me too, Michele! It’s great to have you here 🙂

  11. What a wonderful idea! I love the family mail station. I think my child would really enjoy writing letters to his family, even just seeing the photos. Fantastic!

  12. Wonderful idea! I’d love the check out the book.

  13. Thanks for sharing your review! Mariah has such inspirational ideas I would love either prize! Thanks for offering it!
    ~ joey ~

  14. I would love to be able to take the e-course. Thanks so much for the chance to win!

  15. I really like the idea for a mailing station. I’m definitely going to set one up once she’s old enough to use it.
    And I would love a spot in the e-course. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  16. I would love the book! I love these ideas! The mail is something my 4 year old is obsessed with! Thanks for the giveaway!

    nancebagance at yahoo dot ca

  17. Wow, what a generous giveaway. Thanks for the offer & I love the ideas…

  18. Hw to chose?! I guess I’d go with the book because it be a resource I’d always have around.

  19. I would LOVE to win a copy of the book. Mariah’s ideas are wonderful.

  20. This looks like a wonderful book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. I’d so love to win her book. Thanks so much! Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

  22. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog! I would LOVE to do a course like this!

  23. I would LOVE the e-course! We live in a small home with 3 children and struggle with creating a space for imagination and crafts. E-course, E-course, E-course!!

  24. I would love a copy of the book!

  25. I LOVE this idea and am hoping I can get the parents of my students on board to try it out in my kindergarten classroom this year. I would love to win a copy of the book and see what other great ideas are in there!

    • This would be the perfect Kindergarten projet, Allison. Have a great school year!

  26. Would love a copy of this book! Thanks for all the great ideas in your blog!

  27. As a teacher promoting positive play for parents struggling with their children this sounds a very useful resource
    Chris x

  28. The book sounds wonderful! If I don’t win it, I think I’m going to have to go buy myself a copy for my kids! 🙂 Thank you!

  29. Wow, love the mail center idea! I would love to win a copy of the book 🙂

  30. I have just ordered the book – the e-course would be the perfect addition to it.
    Thank you!!

  31. This book is looking better and better the more I read about it. I’d love a chance to win it; thank you!

  32. I love that the mail center teaches kids how to send actual snail mail – that is becoming a lost art.

  33. Ohh this is lovely. A spot in the e-course would be fab!

  34. So glad to have found your site through Mariah’s blog tour! And of course, love the book too 🙂

  35. the activities look amazing~ thanks for this krazykool giveaway!

  36. While the e-course sounds great, I’d really like to work with the book. My 4yr old just started back at preschool today and I’d love to use the book to help supplement his learning. Thanks for the chance!

  37. This book would be perfect for my kids. My son is 4.5 and daughters 3. Particularly in regards to the mail center idea all three children are starting to show an interest in letters and communicating with our family that lives in the US (We live in Germany). Plus they love going to the post office! Would love a chance to read about her other ideas. I am also a big fan of elearning so the course would also be interesting.

  38. Wow! I love the mail center idea! We will definitely be working on one for our house. Thanks for sharing!

  39. I absolutely LOVE the mail center idea!!! My daughter’s Oma is very into creating unique snail mail, and we should take on her as an inspiration on top of Playful Learning! I cannot wait to see the book someday soon! :o)

  40. Oh my… I’m not sure if I could choose between the two, but the book is at the very top of my wishlist!!

  41. I am already loving this book and would LOVE to take the course!

  42. I have Mariah’s book and I’m loving it! I would love a spot in her e-course. Thank so much!!

  43. I would love to read Mariah’s book and be inspired by her e-course. Thanks for the chance to win these!

  44. I would love to read Mariah’s book and be inspired by her e-course. I think I would have to go with the e-course if I win. Thanks for the chance !

  45. I love your blog! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of the Playful Learning book 🙂

    • Thanks, Laura! It’s great to have you here.

  46. I love this idea, and as much as I would like the e-course, I think I’d have to say the book would be better if I was able to win since my youngest (just about a year) hardly lets me get on the computer so trying to participate would be difficult. Maybe another year.

  47. I would love to win a a copy of the book! I have taken Mariah’s Playful Learning Spaces e-course and really enjoyed it. Thanks for this opportunity.

  48. Thanks so much for the chance to win! I already have the book (just waiting for it to arrive!) so I would love to win the e-course 🙂

  49. This weekend we cleaned out my desk for a writing center. I hope we get to fill it soon!

  50. My girls and I would have so much fun with the book – thank you!

  51. I’d be happy to win either prize 🙂

  52. My children love our Mail Station too! I would LOVE to win the E-Course! Already have the book and we are loving it! 🙂

  53. love the mail station! I love to have a visual when thinking about creating a new dramatic play activity. I liked the use of photos

  54. What a wonderful idea. We’ll be adding a mail station to our writing center in my preschool classroom just as soon as I can find something with enough cubbies for each of our 17 children! I love it! The book and the e-course both sound great; how exciting that you are able to give away one of each. Thanks!

  55. I would love to win the book, so I don’t have to go buy it on my own!!

  56. I am also planning on adding a mail center to our preschool writing center! I would love a copy of the book! Thanks for sharing!

  57. My friend just did this for her daughter is a wonderful idea!!!! I can’t wait to set this up in my home 🙂

  58. I’d love to win a copy of this book!

  59. I’d love to win a copy of the book! xx

  60. I would love either prizes! Looks very interesting!

  61. I would love a spot on the e-course!! What a generous giveaway!

  62. i love the idea of using photos to identify the address labels. I would love a copy of the book. Thanks

  63. Fantastic idea! Would love a copy of the book.

  64. We are truly enjoying Mariah’s book. I would love the chance to take the ecourse!

  65. I would love to experience the e-course. I am often inspired by ideas I find on her blog, and I can’t wait to read the book too! Thanks!

  66. I have a 1 and 3 year old plus teach 1st grade- I would LOVE this resource. Crossing my fingers.

  67. I love the mail center idea — especially the part that has address labels for loved ones! I’d love to learn more tricks………

  68. I would love the book : ) But either sound great!

  69. Well, I have the book…so, the next step would be to take the e-course! But, I could give the book to a friend!!! I know she would love to have it!

  70. A blog-lover, pre-publication book buyer, and on line shopper at playful learning…I need some homeschool inspiration and organization FAST and would love to participate in the learning spaces e-course.

    Love your mail center!

  71. I would love to get a hold of the book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  72. The book looks wonderful and what a neat mail center you made. I would love a chance at either giveaway but if I must choose , it would be the e-course!! I would love to see many ideas of creative playful learning spaces. Thanks for the opportunity and love your blog!!

  73. Looks like a fantastic book,I would love the book (if contest is open worldwide).

  74. I would love to win the book! And the mail center idea is wonderful. I love how engrossed your daughter is in the process. Thanks for sharing your review.

  75. Oh, book please, please, please! Okay, I know the winner’s chosen at random but it doesn’t hurt to put a few “pleases” out in the universe!!

  76. I just recently discovered Playful Learning and her stuff is amazing!! I’m so inspired! If chosen, I would love to win a spot in her e-course! Thanks for the chance!

  77. That is such a good idea! As a language arts teacher, I completely LOVE the idea of encouraging writing and ownership, especially that early on.

    I’d love a copy of the book. Thanks for sharing!

  78. I would love to win this book. I think it would be a great help to this creativity challenged mom when looking for fun learning activities that are gentle and that embrace the things I try to model for my kids.

    kaos2me at gmail dot com

  79. This looks like a fantastic idea for my daughter, too. Thanks for sharing it. I’d love the BOOK if chosen for the giveaway.
    I found your blog via Playful Learning and have now bookmarked it for future inspiration!

  80. I’m following Mariah’s blog all over the web! I love her ideas and would love to have this book!

  81. I would absolutely love a copy of the book “Playful Learning” for my little ones!

  82. would love to win a copy of her book :)))

  83. What a fun idea! Looks like so much fun. (Oh, and I’d choose the book!)

  84. This is the first time I am posting but I have been following your blog for a couple of months now. I teach art to elderly developmentally disabled, and your projects and ideas are so perfect for this group. I recently tried the bubble wrap prints which were a big hit! Thank you. I would love the book and think it would be a helpful tool to discovering more fun and and creative ways for them to express themselves.

  85. i’ve not read the book yet, just been following the book tour, but when i saw the mail center, i knew that would be one of my first projects, too. i love the idea of them having the independence to address their own letter and an outgoing mail box for them to use! yours is a great adaptation. i bet we get a slew of letter going around here very soon.

    a copy of the book and a spot in the class would be wonderful! thanks to you and mariah for the chance.

  86. As a first year preschool teacher I am always looking for ways to engage the children that I teach. I would love to win the book to find ideas to add to my classroom.

  87. Ooo! Pick me! I’d love the e-course, because I already have the book. Love it! 🙂

  88. I would love to win a spot in the e-course! Thanks for the opportunity to win. 🙂

  89. I would love a copy of this book! (and am using your mail center idea as a Christmas present-thanks!)

  90. I love this idea. We just got back from a trip visiting family and this would be a great continuation to that trip. We could make thank you cards and I love you cards for everyone. Thanks for the opportunity!

  91. The book looks great. Thanks for the giveaway.

  92. I would absolutely love a spot in the e-course! I’ve really enjoyed this blog tour and learning about new blogs.

  93. I love your web site! It has inspired me to get my two girls involved in creative activities! I would love to have a copy of the book!

  94. wow the book looks so awesome, just what we are looking for! totally love your blog

  95. I am an early childhood practitioner and consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area and a huge fan of Mariah’s work ever since I accidentally stumbled on her website two years or so ago. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to receive a copy of her book … the name alone is right up my alley and I can only imagine that the contents will spark my imagination and many a rich discussion with colleagues. I try to make joy and wonder an every day part of my personal and professional life, and as an educator it is what I hope the children remember most about their early school experiences and carry that spirit with them to elementary school and beyond!

  96. While both the book and the ecourse are appealing, if I have to choose, I’ll choose the ecourse! Thanks so much!

  97. I would love either!! 🙂 we do a lot of sensory play and crafts would love to add elements from here to it 🙂 thank you for the opportunity

  98. I love the mail center idea. It’s very easily adapted for both younger and older children. I would love either prize. Thank you for all the great ideas on this site!

  99. Looks like I have my morning activity for tomorrow. What a lovely idea! And the book would be wonderful too!

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