This post is republished with kind permission from The Foundation for Jewish Camp and originally appeared on their website:

We love the stories from parents of how they find half written ‘practice letters’ hidden in their kids’ room once they have left for camp.  We spend all this time finding the perfect camp stationery, making return address labels and packing the perfect assortment of pens but we never really stop to see if they actually know how to write a letter (or at least one that doesn’t read like a text chain lol). 

We can’t guarantee that your mailbox will be overflowing, but we can promise that you will pretty much race to get the mail every day! (…If you can tear yourself away from refreshing the pictures!)

Here are a few of our tried and tested tricks for getting letters from your kids over the summer.

  • Pre-printed address labels. If you want your kid to write to Grandma once a week, pre-print that many labels.

  • Pre-printed return address labels. Anything to make the process easier so your happy camper can get back to playing cards and trading candy during rest hour.

  • A larger envelope or clipboard with storage to house letter writing supplies. If you can’t find the stamps, the letters are going to end up under the bed with all of the dirty socks.

  • Fill-in letter. The letters my campers send don’t really say much. Or much that I haven’t figured out from the pictures already.  Fill-in letters make it easier for your kids to write and give you the information you want to know – like what are your friends’ names in your bunk.

  • The Incentive Plan. We know families that create contests between the siblings to see who can write more letters – a little parent induced sibling rivalry never hurt anyone.  I remember my mom promising me Capri Suns in my lunch all year if I wrote a decent amount of letters. (I was notorious for writing and not mailing, which may be the reason I can’t look at another apple juice box.)