Mailbox Math

I recently found these cute little Valentine mailboxes in the Target Dollar Spot, and knew I could use them for something. I think these could have many uses for many different activities. I found two different kinds of mailboxes: one looks like the kind people typically have in front of their house and the other has a little slot like the mailboxes at the post office. For Mailbox Math, I made these printable number and shape envelopes to use with them.

Here’s how to prepare the printable envelopes:

First, print the envelopes (I used card stock), and cut out each envelope as shown in the picture. Do not cut down the middle — this is the fold line.

Mailbox Math: How to make the envelopes

Next, fold each envelope in half, as shown.

Fold the envelopes in half

Then add glue to the inside and stick it down (or use double sided tape). This gives your envelope a front and back to make it look authentic.

Add glue here

Cut out the shape or number cards and attach them to the mailboxes with a loop of tape (see picture below). The shape cards are shown below, but the number set can be used the same way.

How to Play “Mailbox Math”

To play the shapes game, children sort the envelopes by shape into the correct mailboxes. There are four cards for each shape. To play the counting game, children count how many on each envelope and sort them into the correct mailboxes. Each number has four cards. I made numbers 1-10, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy 10 mailboxes. You could buy maybe 5 mailboxes (or however many you want) and choose which numbers to use this week; then switch the numbers out the next week.

sort the shapes into the mailboxes

The envelopes fit perfectly into the mailbox slot.

put the envelopes in the mail slot

The activity above works well for center time. Here’s another way to use these mailboxes, which works well for small group. Place a few cards on the table with one mailbox. Ask a child in the group to find a certain shape. For example, you might tell a child to “Find and mail the purple heart.” or “Find and mail the green hexagon.” You could do the same activity with the number cards.

call out a shape for children to find

I also thought these mailboxes were cute, too. You could use either kind for this game. Here’s the shapes activity…

sort shape cards into mailboxes

And here’s the counting activity…

count how many on each card and sort it into the mailbox

Download and Print

Click to download the PDFs and print.

Shapes EnvelopesNumbers Envelopes

Need Mailbox Literacy Activities?

If you’re looking for Literacy activities to use with these mailboxes, you could print out the Letter Sound Picture Cards, which are just the right size to fit into the mail slots. You could label the mailboxes with letters and have children sort the beginning sounds pictures into the mailboxes.

I also found a Syllable Activity over at Pre-K Pages that uses these very same mailboxes.

Do you have an idea for using these mailboxes? Please share it in the comments section below!


  1. Rena' Hoggard says

    This is an awesome idea. Thanks for sharing this with me. I will definitely be using this next week. I hope I will be able to find those mailboxes this weekend.

    • says

      For some reason, all Target stores don’t always have the same things, but I hope you find them. If not, someone on my Facebook page suggested using the square Kleenex tissue boxes.

  2. Michele says

    When did you find these adorable mailboxes at Target’s dollar spot? I definitely don’t see the same things in the Targets here by me!

    • says

      I found them about 4 days ago. Sometimes Target stores don’t have the same things, but sometimes I think hoarders buy them all up. :( I hope you find them, but if not, someone suggested using the cube Kleenex tissue boxes.

  3. Tamara says

    Hi. Are the Target Dollar Spots inside Target, or a separate shop completely? Have never come across it in Australia :(. They are SO cute!!

  4. Gina says

    Very Cute, I can see using these in the Dramatic Play area for mail carrier bag fun! Writing the children’s names on the envelopes, as well, to encourage name recognition, and they can ‘deliver’ the mail to their friends, too. :-)

  5. says

    I passed up the v-day mailboxes at Target because I had too much in my cart! What else is new?! haha, but now I want to go back and get them for math and literacy center activities. I hope they are still there!! Thanks for sharing! I always love your ideas!

  6. says

    I love that I can print this off.
    We don’t do Valentine’s Day but we do Friendship Week. I know that seems a little harsh but the parents appreciate it! We start the Bucket Filling Program that week!

    I can use these letters for the community helpers theme for the mailperson. I bought the little mailboxes from the post office here in Canada.
    We also use this for a transition game. Everyone has mail to post in the boxes on their way to washing hands for snack.

  7. Karen says

    Thanks so much for the great mailbox ideas! I had seen them in Target but didn’t know how I could use them in my PreK5Class. After seeing your suggestions, I bought 8 of them and have happily been spending the last 4 “snow days” getting them ready for when/if we ever get back to school. LOL (It’s been a rough and snowy winter here in PA.) I laminated my cards for added durability and put velcro on the back of the cards that attach to the mailboxes so they can be changed as my letters of the month and themes change. I can’t wait to get back to work, hopefully on Monday, to let the children “mail” their letters. Thanks again for all your great ideas!

  8. says

    Thanks so much! I bought a couple of each of these and was working up ideas for them. Now I can use yours. May have to make another trip to get some more mailboxes. Wish I had seen this before I went to Target this afternoon.

  9. Laura says

    I found both kinds of mailboxes at Target in Augusta, GA (Robert C. Daniel location) as of late Friday afternoon (02/07). It appears they had received a new shipment because there were lots of both kinds! Thank you for your wonderful ideas!!!

  10. Jan says

    Thanks for sharing the mailboxes activities.Can’t wait to get to Target to find them. My kindergarten friends will have fun with both the literacy and the math activities.

  11. says

    Love this idea! Thanks for sharing such adorable little mailboxes for the kiddos! Our preschool just finished our annual Valentine’s Day card swap, but we went with the old-fashioned paper lunch bags! Maybe for next year?

  12. corlette says

    Hi thanks so much for those ideas i an in Antigua so i have no way of getting those mail boxes so i had to use some boxes, but it was quiet fine i am training to be a preschool teacher and i love it. Thanks so much.

  13. xan says

    I am not allowed to use holiday themes. I used this idea on a unit involving mail carriers. I am also going to use it for financial literacy, I will tape a plastic coin on each mailbox and children can sort the remaining coins into the boxes.

  14. laurie mayhnard says

    I loved the envelopes and idea. I saw this post a little late and Target has already moved on to Easter in our area. But I found small wooden gift bags at our local craft stores for a dollar each. I just painted them blue so I could use them throughout the year and put a paper strip across the top and it looks just like a mailbox. Also works well because students can work on both sides of the mailbox.
    I tried to include a pic, but couldn’t.

  15. Missy says

    Karen, My kiddos are loving these. (The kids just caught on to the fun yesterday! Better late than never.) I wondered if you thought of adding the color word in color and the name of the shape in black ink. I have some children who would enjoy “reading” the letter they are mailing. Thanks for creating this mailbox/sorting activity.

  16. Maria says

    You have so many great ideas and this I’m sure will work a treat for counting and number recognition. I have just started out as a pre-school teacher to four year olds learning English as a foreign language and so am gathering ideas and this looks fantastic. Not sure will be able to find those cute mailboxes though!

  17. Sandy says

    Karen – Your creations are so much fun! I have been using your site for years – both for freebies and also items for sale on TpT.

    Keep up the good work – we appreciate it!

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