Matthew's interest in checking our mailbox for mail daily was my cue to find him a mailbox toy. I scored a used Little Tikes Mailbox at our local consignment store for $9.99. This simple mailbox only produced one sound - a bee buzzing around it unlike the Fisher Price mailbox which has a song mode, learning mode and play mode with various mailbox sound effects.
The used Little Tikes mailbox came with only 1 plastic piece of mail instead of 3 but the missing pieces did not take away from this toy's play value. I improvised. Using small envelopes, I labeled them "Daddy", "Mommy", "Elizabeth", "Matthew", and "cat". Since Matthew can sight read, he hand delivers each piece of mail to the intended recipients without any help. It's very cute and puts a smile on my face whenever he does this. He looks so proud of himself too whenever he delivers the mail. It's hilarious to watch him try to give Yuri, our cat, his mail. Matthew follows Yuri around until Yuri finally settles down somewhere. Then Matthew will lay the "cat" mail in front of Yuri.
For several minutes of entertainment and Matthew's enjoyment in pretending to be a mailman, we like having this mailbox. It's great for pretend play. And to me, any toy that encourages pretend play encourages language development as well.