By Character Diva
Everyone wants their child’s education to be full of fun memories. As parents and teachers, we want our children to practice skills in unique and memorable ways to help them feel engaged and understand the content better. I can think of no better way that incorporating Disney activities into the classroom.
Writing letters seems to be a dying art. With so many people relying on emails and text messages, who has time to wait for an answer by mail? But knowing how to write a letter is still an important skill, and one that my daughter’s class was practicing. And besides, who doesn’t love receiving mail addressed to them? It just makes you feel that much more special. Because I think it’s important for my children to experience as much as possible, I came up with a fun idea on how to incorporate Disney characters into my children’s lessons (and I have some tools you can use too, even if you’re not going to a Disney theme park anytime soon!)
Knowing that we would be going to Disneyland in a few weeks, I asked my children’s teachers if they would like to have their classes make cards or write to either their favorite character, or a specific character. Disney Diva Tip: If you or someone you know is going to a Disney theme park soon, try and pick a character that is very popular and you will most likely see, such as Mickey or Minnie, or if you want a video response, try a popular face character like Cinderella, Elsa, Mary Poppins, or Peter Pan. Their teachers loved the idea, and so my son’s kindergarten class hastily started drawing pictures for their favorite character, while my daughter’s class voted to write to Mickey.
As far as the content of the letters go, it again, can be up to you. As mentioned above, drawing pictures worked very well for my son’s class, and my daughter’s class all wrote some lovely detailed letters and asked Mickey several questions ranging from how he likes Disneyland in the fall to how often does he visit with Darth Vader. The key is to let your child’s imagination go wild!
Whenever possible, I would encourage your child to write to a popular character, but sometimes that doesn’t always happen, especially when you don’t want to stifle their creativity. So what do you do if your child picks a “rare” character, or one you wouldn’t see at the park? My son loves trains and chose to write his card to Casey Jr. from Dumbo. Luckily, Disneyland has a Casey Jr. attraction, so I was able to hand his card off to a very kind cast member who posed holding the card in front of Casey Jr. so he could see it. Just another example of how amazingly helpful the cast members are, even when it requires a little creativity on our part. Whatever works right?
When we went to Disneyland, I decided to pay a visit to Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell is a perfect choice to help you with this assignment because not only is she a face character (meaning she can talk and interact with you), but as a fairy, I figured she could fly all over Disneyland helping me deliver all of our mail.
Disney Diva Tip: This was particularly useful with my son’s class who wrote to many different characters. Saying that Tinkerbell was going to deliver all of their letters definitely helped spread the magic. You can see our video message Tink sent my daughter’s class telling Mickey that she would be delivering their letters to him soon below.
One last note if you have Tinkerbell (or another character) receive the letters… if you need them for something else (I wanted to get a picture of Mickey holding the letters from my daughter’s class), make sure you communicate that with the character or the cast member assisting them. (In fact, if you see a cast member standing around, it’s always best to let them in on your plan ahead of time). We explained to Tinkerbell what we were doing, and she graciously put the letters in her house for us for her to mail them later, and then as we were leaving, I snuck back and she handed them to me to hide in the bottom of our stroller. Tink was great… I highly recommend visiting her at Pixie Hollow because she definitely helped spread the Disney magic.
Because a couple of students in my son’s class had also written Snow White, we decided to pay her a visit and deliver her cards. Snow White loved them so much she wanted to keep them (even after I had offered to get rid of them for her).
Disney Diva Tip: If your class has a nickname or something to make them know that the message is specifically for them, I highly recommend asking the character to sign an autograph or address the video message to them. The extra personalization is a nice touch and then they know that the message really was just for them.
With those videos done, it was time to meet Mickey. Now I realize that we could have met Mickey in California Adventure, or in numerous spots with him wearing festive attire. But I wanted these pictures to be at his house, because where else do you receive and read your mail? (Not to mention you can also take pictures by his mailbox.)
I also wanted him wearing his classical outfit because if my children’s teachers ever decided to do this project again, I wanted them to have the luxury of using the same images (even if they were unable to go to a Disney theme park themselves). The line was slow-going (so make sure you set aside plenty of time if you decide to recreate the same experience), but it was worth the wait and we got some amazing pictures of Mickey holding the letters.
As for a response, we had Mickey Mouse autograph a postcard and we made copies for my daughter’s class. You can also do video messages to the whole class (which is nice because you only need one and it can also be much more personalized) or just forge Mickey’s or another character’s autograph (you can see what it looks like at the top of the article above). It’s really up to you and how elaborate you want to be. (I know some people throw in glitter to represent Tinkerbell’s pixie dust as well.)
So what if you aren’t going to a Disney destination any time soon and you’re wondering how you too can get pictures and videos? No problem. We’re letting you use ours. For FREE! We do ask you read the following disclaimer first however…
Disney Diva Disclaimer: You are free to use our videos or pictures with your children or class, however all images are copyrighted and belong to www.tipsfromthedisneydiva.com. Permission is required for any other use. Please contact Tips from the Disney Divas & Devos if you wish to publish these images or videos onto your own site or anywhere else.
We hope that your students enjoy this project as much as my kiddos and their classmates did! Looking for more fun ways to write Disney characters? Disney has a program where you can write an individual letter to a Disney character and you can receive an autographed postcard! Click here for more details.
Ready to book your own Disney vacation and stock up on your own videos and pictures for your class? Contact Patricia Payne from All for Dreams Travel! Because she is paid by Disney, her services are FREE to you and she can help you with all of your planning needs, from airfare to Fastpass reservations. Click here for a free quote.