Sending smiles and an international family postcard swap!

posted in: Sandra Horning, Valeri Gorbachev | 64

Several weeks ago I read a lovely post about collecting postcards at an Australian blog called Adventures with Kids. This got me thinking about a postcard swap for M and J – they both love making cards and receiving post – but when I searched online for one I couldn’t find any open internationally specifically for families. Not one to give in easily I thought I would set up my own… but of course before I could do that I wanted to find some lovely books to share with my girls, and with you, about writing, sending and receiving post.

Photo: Post Box

The Giant Hug by Sandra Horning, illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev is a heart warming, funny and informative book about the joys of sending and receiving mail. When Owen is asked what he wants to send his Granny for her birthday he is determined to send her a giant hug. Not a picture of a hug, but the real thing.

At the post office the clerk is rather surprised at this request but plays game. “We don’t normally send hugs, but I suppose we could give it a try.” And so starts the journey of Owen’s hug – passed from person to person involved in sorting and delivering the mail right across the country, sometimes accompanied by laughter, bristles, blushing and delight. Granny is thrilled when her giant hug is finally delivered right into her arms, and we’re all left laughing when we discover what she sends back to her much loved Grandson.

We all loved this story. M’s interest was immediately captured because the illustrations reminded her of Richard Scarry – and not just because they depict cute animals doing all sorts of human jobs. The generosity and willingness of all participants to play their part in spreading the happiness was lovely to see – I’d love my kids to live in such a community. As well as providing us with many good giggles, it also gave us the opportunity to discuss how post actually gets from A to B, and M found it intriguing to think of all the different people and places that would see her next card she puts in the post. J loved the book because of all the cuddles and hugs we had as we read it! All in all a perfect book about how you can post a little bit of love to friends and family wherever they are.

The Giant Hug: ** (2 stars)

In response to this delightful story J and I illustrated some postcards of our own in anticipation of mailing them to some of you in what I hope will be a fantastic International Postcard Swap for Families. We bought a pack of blank postcards from a stationary shop and just had fun with the paints!

If you would like to take part with your family here are the details.

1. Sign up for the postcard swap. The deadline for signing up is Friday April 30th.
Email me at zoe (dot) toft (at) kuvik (dot) net with
*your name,
*your kids names and ages,
*postal address
*and (if you have one) your blog name and address.
Alternatively leave me a comment to this post saying you want to take part and I will email you for all these details (please don’t leave them in the comments, just to keep your details private).

2. By late Tuesday 4 May I will email you with the names and addresses of 5 families you will be sending postcards to. These will not necessarily be the same families you will receive post from.

3. Make / write your postcards and please make sure you post them out to your recipients by Tuesday 10 May.

4. Eagerly await the arrival of the postman! As this is an international swap it may take a few weeks to receive your postcards.

Other questions?
1) What is the deadline to send the postcards by?
Please have all 5 of your cards in the post by Tuesday 10 May. Please don’t sign up for this swap unless you are happy to write and send 5 cards internationally.

2) What should I write on the message side of my postcard?
It’s up to you of course, but given that we’ll all have “met” via Playing by the book it would be nice if you could include a kids’ book recommendation – perhaps something very popular where you live, or one of your kids’ favourites. If your recipients have blogs you could read a few of their posts and comment on them on your postcard. If your kids are old enough they could write the cards themselves. Really, it’s up to you what you do, but the idea is to send a little bit of fun and joy around the world!

3) What size should my postcard be and what should it be made of?
I don’t know the rules and regulations which cover various countries’ postal system so just use your common sense. You do not need to make the postcards you send, but it may be something your children will enjoy doing. If you wish to put your postcard in an envelope that’s fine, but you may incur additional costs.

5) Will I be receiving postcards from the people on my list?
I will set up the swap so that (hopefully) you will not receive postcards from anyone on your list. I thought it would be a nice surprise not knowing from where in the world postcards will be coming to you. I will endeavour to match people up so that you receive postcards from at least 3 different countries (though this will depend on who signs up for the swap), and from families with children of a similar age.

6) Can I help spread the word?
Yes please! Obviously this swap will work better the more people from more countries sign up. If you sign up for the swap please find some way to spread the word about this swap! You can direct people to this page (a round up of how to participate, without the book review included above):

and you can use this button on your blog:

International Postcard Swap for Families Logo

To get the button you can right-click on it above and save it, or copy the HTML code below:

<a href=""><img src="" /></a>

You could email your friends who might be interested, you could tweet about the swap, post it on your Facebook page, or just tell friends about it over a coffee! The more people know about the swap the better the swap will be for all involved.

6) Anything else?
If you receive any particularly beautiful or interesting postcards please let me know – in June I’d love to write a post about everyone who participated and the postcards and book recommendations which were sent.

Any other questions? Please get in touch either by leaving a comment of via email.

I’d like to shout out a big thank you to Hanna at Create and Live Happy, a great crafting blog, and Aimee at Adventures and Pursuits, who is currently hosting The Great American Postcard Swap, for their advice about setting up and running a postcard swap!

And finally, as it’s Thursday I’m linking up with stART – do head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures to see what other book and craft activities families have been getting up to!

64 Responses

  1. Alcheme


    I discovered this swap throug María, too.
    Well, count with us!!

    Thanks, Zoe.

  2. Jennie

    Hi, I know that I am a day late, but can I still get in on time to participate?!

    Our fingers are crossed!

    Thank you!!

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    […] an operation to remove two wisdom teeth yesterday and getting all of my postcards finished for the international post swap that I had signed up for. I also had a couple of postcrossing cards to write and post. I’ve […]

  4. Rebecca

    What a shame, I got your message too late for us to join in. We’ve had total internet shut-down for the last 2 weeks. Hope it goes brilliantly and you can count us in for a next time, if there is a next time! I know Joaquim and Sebastian would love it.

  5. Anu

    I heard about this just now, and headed over to your site to see that I was too late 🙁
    first, all the best for this wonderful venture… and please lets have many more in the future… we shall look forward to it…
    second, if u have a mailing list or anything like that, please add me to it.. i would love to participate

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    […] we have been sick. I do have another two postcards to post this week which we received via the international family postcard swap. We have had so many wonderful cards! Most of our cards are from The Netherlands, Finland and […]

  7. Ali Mitchell

    oh this looks brilliant, I’ve just found it though. Do you think you’d do it again this year?
    What a great blog too, I’m going to get very inspired 😀
    thanks, Ali x

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