Do you remember walking to the mailbox with excited anticipation? Daily mail deliveries were unpredictable and mysterious – what would you find? A letter? A postcard? A welcome kit from The Hardy Boys Fan Club? Or perhaps a small package containing the 100-piece Toy Soldier Set ordered out the back of a comic book.
In today’s world of real-time status updates, texting, photo sharing, and viral videos, the old mailbox has lost its excitement – we’re more likely to find bills, official notices, and store flyers there.
But Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based AE Dreams aims to bring the mail experience of yesteryear back for today’s kids, with Turtle Mail – a wooden mailbox with a high-tech twist. Beneath the toy’s wooden framework is a Wi-Fi connected thermal printer capable of receiving and printing messages sent to it via the Turtle Mail app. The thermal printer uses a standard 2.5-inch size receipt paper roll (available at most office supply stores) instead of ink.
Messages sent to Turtle Mail by parents (and whomever else they designate) can include a mix of text and pictures. Children can be enrolled to receive daily activities from AE Dreams, including puzzles, mazes, coloring sheets, and word searches. Activities can be customized based on a child’s interests and abilities, such as reading level. Parents can also set a limit on the number of messages and activities that are printed each day.
Now, kids can once again experience the excitement of receiving mail that they can hold in their hands, pin on their walls, and collect.