I’ve been focusing a little bit more on the girls’ writing lately. With our 7 Day Blitz and incorporating Poetry Tea Time into our weeks, it’s been going really well. Then I came across Banjo Robinson on Instagram and I wondered whether this could add even more joy (and purpose) to our writing.
Who Is Banjo Robinson?
For those who haven’t been acquainted, Banjo Robinson is a globe-trotting cat who loves to write about his adventures. He sends regular letters to your child, giving them interesting information about the country he’s currently in. They can plot his adventures on a world map he sends with his first letter and they’re always invited to write back to him.
For context my daughters are nine and seven years old. You’d be forgiven for assuming that my nine year wouldn’t be interested in an imaginary cat pen pal; but you’d be wrong. Both of my daughters have been so excited to receive these letters (we’ve had two so far) and they’re completely willing to believe that Banjo is real. They’re been having discussions about how on earth he could know our own cat, Harry. They’ve also come up with an elaborate scheme of how a network of cats is involving in delivering Cat Mail.
The most obvious link to the traditional curriculum here is Geography of course. We have a world map to locate countries on when we receive information about them. But I’ve been most interested in how letters from Banjo Robinson have captivated their imagination and fired up a spark of desire to write.
Since I read The Brave Learner (I promise that eventually I’ll write a post without a shout out to this book!) I’ve not been so concerned with writing as a physical process. Writing is so much more than that. It’s about the enjoyment of language, whether spoken or written; the exploration of ideas.
Our Banjo Robinson subscription is more than delivering on the enjoyment of language. The girls are beside themselves with excitement when a letter appears. They can’t wait to tear open the envelope and investigate its contents. Between them they read the letter and everything else in the envelope. They immediately start talking about this magical world where cats go on round the world trips and deliver post to each other.
We talk about the kinds of things we could write back to Banjo. Others might decide to sneak in lesson about how to construct a proper letter, but I don’t feel the need to. Should we tell Banjo more about our cat? Or about the long walk we went on? Or how we’re studying Ancient Greece and would love to visit some ancient monuments?
Writing Back To Banjo
P (7) rushes to grab paper, pens and felt tips to construct her reply. Usually she’d delegate all written work on joint projects to her sister, but for her this is too good a purpose for writing by herself.
Our latest letter told us of adventures in Egypt. The girls have had a bit of interest in Ancient Egypt (our Playmobil pyramid is a big hit) so this immediately engages them. P thinks that Banjo would love a drawing of a pyramid, complete with a cat on a throne. I’m inclined to agree. She also writes his name in hieroglyphics, plus her own on the back for good measure.
Meanwhile E thinks that he’d like a little book of poetry to keep in his backpack. She spends a couple of hours painstakingly copying some poems she wrote herself, first in pencil and then in handwriting pen.
I’m blown away by the care and consideration that’s being put into it all to be honest. Also, I feel a little sad that there is no Banjo Robinson. It soothes me to think that I’m actually squirreling away all of these beautiful letters and drawings and poems for us all to look back on when the girls are much older.
If there are any parents out there who are worried about their child’s writing, I would wholeheartedly recommend looking into a Banjo Robinson subscription. Add some joy and excitement to the process and see the difference. Also, don’t be afraid to write for them and just record all of these ideas; this is still a valuable part of the writing process!
This blog post is not sponsored by Banjo Robinson in any way. I bought my girls a subscription at full price and this is my honest opinion.