Have you ever heard of Flat Stanley?
Stanley was a little boy who was flattened in his sleep by a falling bulletin board and then began to have all sorts of adventures in his new, ahem, thin shape. It is a children's book written by Jeff Brown, first published in 1964 and is the first in a still growing series.
Spinning off from the book, a project started in local schools to encourage more literacy and letter writing skills. Students would create flat travelers and mail them to other students across the country who would host the travelers ,taking them on "adventures" and documenting it all with pictures and journals. It became a great way to build community, teach interesting geographical tidbits, and encourage students to read. The project has grown tremendously and with a simple search, you can find hundreds of groups who will set up an exchange!
I remember my younger brother participating in this project when he was in elementary school. My aunt hosted his traveler and toted him around with her wherever she went, taking photos of Stanley participating in all sorts of hi jinks. That experience came back to me a few months back and I began to look in to joining a group so that my children could participate in an exchange. After searching around, I decided to start my own group, so I reached out on my personal facebook page and on a homeschool forum and several other families decided to join in on the fun!
And THAT is how Flat Ginger and Flat Super Aron came to be.....
Our group is working slightly different than most exchanges. It isn't an overwhelmingly large group, so instead of one to one exchanges, we are utilizing a circular exchange where everyone makes travelers and then we all send off our travelers to the family name that follows ours on our address list. We will all continue to pass on the travelers that we are hosting until our own make their way back to us! All of the travelers will visit ten states and twenty cities across the United States.
Gabriella and Aron had a ton of fun picking out a template for their flat companions. You can find a plethora of them online or you can make your own!
We printed them, colored them, and laminated them for durability. We want them to withstand the jostle of traveling via snail mail!
To make our journal, I used large sheets of construction paper that I cut into four pieces per sheet. Next I used craft scissors to make the edges zig zag. Then I used a different color of construction paper and cut out the cover. I laminated the front and back cover for stability and used my three hole punch to get it ready to bind together. I dug through my yarn stash and chose some that was multi-colored to tie all the pages together.
On the introductory page we wrote a little about our home state and included instructions for our care during travel.
They were mailed out a little over a week ago and our first stop is with a family in Allegan, Michigan! We can't wait to see what adventures they have and to read interesting facts about the locations that they visit.
We will also be hosting our own fair share of travelers and I will be sharing what we do with our guests here on my blog (look out for my first post on Wednesday!).
Are you interested in participating in a Flat Stanely/Flat Traveler exchange? Here are some resources that might be of help to you:
Flat Travelers on Squidoo
Fun Learning Activities
Flat Travelers Yahoo Group
Official Flat Stanley Site
Kid At Art
Homeschool Swapping Adventures Group on Facebook