Thursday, May 28, 2015

101 Letter-Writing Ideas

I know I keep telling you guys how much I love my new job, and part of that is because I work with some amazing people. While I don't look forward to giving up my afternoons and evenings of Netflix-watching and house-organizing, once I get to work, I am having lots of fun, and I feel really content. Thursday nights in particular are a treat because I get to work with my friend Steph. We have so much fun! On a recent Thursday, we spent quite a bit of our downtime talking about Compassion and letter-writing. Steph started sponsoring a little girl in Ghana about two years ago, and she and I were talking about different things to write about in some upcoming letters. I think that soon she's going to send her a letter about the Derby Festival here in town, with plenty of pictures of the fireworks! While we were chatting, I rattled off some other random letter ideas, and told Steph she should just make a list for future reference. And then she told me to make a list. So I decided to write up these letter-writing ideas, as quickly as I can (as a fun challenge) and share it with you! If I missed anything, tell me in the comments!

*Note: these ideas include some specifically related to my city, Louisville, but they may inspire you to write similar letters about your own city (or you can write about Louisville, too, because there's some cool stuff going on here.)

  1. The weather. Not as boring as it sounds. 
  2. Snow. If it snows where you live, describe it to your kids. Keep in mind that most of the countries where Compassion works have a very warm climate and I'd wager that 90% of the kids will not see snow in their lifetime. 
  3. The history of your country
  4. The history of your state
  5. Someone famous from your city or state 
  6. A traditional dish your family prepares
  7. Your experiences with eating food from your child's country (they LOVE this)
  8. A hobby or craft you're good at
  9. What you were like when you were your child's age
  10. Your parents
  11. Your grandparents
  12. Your best friend
  13. Your favorite childhood pet
  14. Your job- what you do, why you like it, who your coworkers are
  15. A list of your favorites- and send a blank list for your child to fill out and return (fingers crossed)
  16. Something you want to learn to do
  17. Your church
  18. Your pastor
  19. A recent sermon you enjoyed
  20. Missionaries- talk about any missionaries you know or have met or have heard about
  21. Someone you admire, even if it's someone you've never met
  22. Watch a movie from your child's country and write to them about it
  23. Try something new and write to your child about it
  24. Tell them about your favorite teacher when you were a kid
  25. Or what Sunday school was like
  26. Or what summer vacation was like when you were a kid
  27. Write about the Derby Festival
  28. Or your last trip to the zoo
  29. Or talk about Museum Row and the neat things that happen there (Frazier International History Museum, Slugger Museum, Science Museum) 
  30. Write about horses and how they relate to Kentucky 
  31. Flags- write about your country's flag and explain how it came to be. Talk about your child's flag and ask them what they know about it. 
  32. Tell them about your neighborhood
  33. Or your neighbors
  34. Or your last trip to the beach
  35. Or the mountains
  36. Or the aquarium
  37. Or a national monument
  38. Tell them about your favorite period in history
  39. Or your favorite historical figure
  40. Share about your typical day
  41. How does your family celebrate New Year's?
  42. Or Valentine's Day?
  43. Easter?
  44. Father's Day and Mother's Day?
  45. Memorial Day and Veteran's Day?
  46. Thanksgiving?
  47. Christmas?
  48. Write about the seasons. A lot of our kids don't have four seasons- they have rainy and dry. Or their seasons are different than ours in other ways.
  49. Fall festivals, pumpkin picking and other autumn activities
  50. New babies- do you have a new baby in your family? Write about it! Send pictures! 
  51. Gardening. Do you have a garden? What do you grow? What would you grow if you could? Ask your child if his family grows any fruits or vegetables. You might learn about a plant you've never heard of before! 
  52. If you've been baptized, write about that experience
  53. If you are a Christian, share your testimony with your child
  54. What did you want to be when you grew up? How is it different than what you are doing now? 
  55. What's your favorite sport? 
  56. If you don't care about sports, maybe research one and write a letter about it anyway. Something familiar, like basketball, may not be very popular in your child's country. Or you could write about something a little more obscure, such as curling or sumo wrestling
  57. Have you ever visited a cave? Caves are cool. Write about caves. Kentucky has Mammoth Cave, which is the longest cave system in the world. Run with that. Anything science-y, really. 
  58. Write about your name!! If you don't know what it means, look it up. Share how you got that name, if there's a neat story behind it. Ask your child about her name. I did this recently, and received several responses! 
  59. Share a story about a surprise blessing from God
  60. Or how God has been faithful to your family
  61. Or a prayer request. Your child is praying for you. Don't be ashamed to share how they can pray specifically for your life. 
  62. Describe a way that you serve others
  63. Or a way that you would like to serve
  64. How are you praying for your sponsored child?
  65. Share about a positive news story (be sure to include pictures!) 
  66. Where do your parents work? What do they do? 
  67. Where is your favorite place you've ever traveled?
  68. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
  69. Did you go to college? Write about what that was like, the challenges you faced, and how you got through them. 
  70. Does anyone you know live on a farm? Write about farms. Many of our kids live in agricultural communities- it would be fun to compare and contrast farms where you live and farms where they live! 
  71. Do you have a spiritual mentor or a really great prayer partner? Write about them!
  72. Write about an instrument you play
  73. Or your favorite painting
  74. Or a poem you like
  75. Have you ever been to a sports game? Write about that experience. 
  76. Pick a national park and write about it. 
  77. Seek out information about one of Compassion's graduates and write about them. 
  78. Here's one to get you started.
  79. Write about a sidewalk game. These games can be played without many extra toys or tools. Hannah has been sending lots of them to her kids, and they love them! 
  80. Write about astronauts. Your child's country may never have sent people into space, and may not have much of a space program. Look up astronauts, the International Space Station, and info about rockets, and share it with them. 
  81. Do you have a favorite plant? Perhaps a flower or tree you're particularly fond of? Write about it! 
  82. Write about your favorite singer. One time I wrote my girls about Dolly Parton and shared about her Imagination Library program, and told them about the story behind her song "Coat of Many Colors.
  83. If your child has recently experienced a loss, write about a time you lost someone you love. Talk about what they meant to you and how you got through it. 
  84. Look up news stories from your child's country, briefly share about them and tell your child about your prayers for their country. 
  85. The Olympics are happening again next year (I think.) Write about them. 
  86. Try writing a note to your child's parent or caregiver sometime. Tell them you're glad that your families are connected and you're praying for them. 
  87. Same for their teacher, tutor, or helper at the project. 
  88. What was your favorite subject in school? 
  89. Was there a subject you struggled with? How did you deal with that? 
  90. Was there a challenge you worked to overcome as a child? How did you do it? 
  91. Write out a description of what you do at church- what time you get there, the order of the service, describe your pastor and share about any friends or family who go to your church (my kids love hearing how some Sundays, our family takes up a whole row of seats!)
  92. Talk about your extended family, and what you do when you get together. 
  93. If you're married, share how you met your spouse. 
  94. Talk about weddings you've attended and describe some wedding traditions from your country. Ask your child about weddings in his or her country. 
  95. Share about your talents, and ask your child about theirs. 
  96. How do you remember your sponsor child? Is their picture hanging in your home? Do you keep a photo of them on your desk? Tell your child about this stuff! 
  97. How has being a Compassion sponsor changed you? 
  98. Have you ever influenced a friend or family member to become a sponsor? Share about that journey! 
  99. This isn't really a topic, but just pick out a cute card and send it to your kid! The card company does all the thinking for you- and what a lovely surprise for your child! 
  100. Has your child reached a milestone recently? Maybe they've moved up a grade at school, or participated in a competitive event at the project. Write them a note of encouragement about these things! 
  101. Read back through your old letters from your child. Send them a note about how they've changed, what you thought when you first sponsored them, how excited you are to receive their letters. And how you hope to write letters for many years to come. :) 


  1. What a great list!!! I'll be sending folks your way when I hear they can't think of topics!!! And the current popular topic with my kids is animals. Almost every kid has jumped on that topic and shared what they want to learn more about! I have some research to do this summer ;)

  2. Love the list, Mrs. Jones. I'm aiming to write to each of my sponsored youth every 4-6 weeks and find it easy enough to respond to their letters, but have been working through what to write during the months without a letter to respond to. Many of the items you've listed could work really well for sharing heart-level stuff at the same time as offering fun info and expanding perspectives. Thank you!
    -- Debi


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