Letterboxing is fun activity to get everyone outside. It’s a treasure hunt where the treasure is in the rubber stamp imprints that you collect in a notebook. If your kids are like mine, they aren’t always excited to go hiking. They love it when we hike up mountains and there are rocks and hills for them to climb but on non-mountainous terrain, my kids need either a scavenger hunt or letterboxing to help keep their interest.
Since discovering Letterboxing, getting out and spending time together has been easier than ever!
Items Needed for Letterboxing
- Rubber Stamp
- Ink Pad
- Sense of adventure
One of the first things you will need before going out to find letterboxes is a Rubber Stamp. Find a rubber stamp that represents you and your family. You can have one stamp for your family or perhaps one for each of your children. Rubber stamps can be found at craft stores, Amazon or you can make your own.
Carry at least one ink pad with you when you go letterboxing. My kids each wanted their own color to go along with their individual stamps. Many more serious letterboxers recommend archival ink pads as they are waterproof and do not bleed over water based ink. Although, I am thinking most of these ‘more serious letterboxers’, do not have kids because when my kid’s hands touch ink pads, they tend it to get it on their hands, their face, their clothes… Having a permanent ink pad is not one I would recommend especially with young kids. I like DECORA Stamp Ink Pads which are non-toxic, non-odor and easily washes off with soap and water. Pick whichever works for you!
When you find a letterbox, open it up and inside should be a rubber stamp and sometimes a notebook. Take turns having each child put their stamped imprint in the letterbox box with your ink pad. Next, take the rubber stamp inside the box and stamp your family notebook. Another idea is to get a single notebook for each child. My boys loved decorating their own notebook and can then stamp it anyway they want on the inside. On Amazon.com, I found this 5-pack of small notebooks that have been perfect for us all to have our own book.
This isn’t a necessity, however I like to have a pen to be able to write down the name of the letterbox, the date, location inside our family letterboxing book. You may also want to have one to date the log book inside the letterbox as well!
AtlasQuest is a website, where you can go to find comprehensive information on Letterboxing. On AtlastQuest you can create an account to be able to log any boxes you find as well as search for the next letterbox you and your family will be searching for. It is important to research where you are going and what boxes you will be looking for before heading out! Don’t just ‘wing it!’ Believe me, I’ve tried this and it’s the biggest time waster. There are boxes that may require a special tool to open the box such as ‘AA’ batteries… my son and I ran into this issue when were out looking for a box only to find out we couldn’t even open it! Research will allow you to also check to see if the coordinates, as well as tips or hints to find the box. And finally, research on the box will also let you see when the last time the box was found. If the box hasn’t been found in years, it may have been lost or buried and might be best to try out another letterbox.
SENSE OF ADVENTURE
Letterboxing is fun! It can also be a little time-consuming with kids so I wouldn’t recommend it for all your hikes but it certainly is a good incentive to help get your kids motivated! Get your kids involved by taking turns reading the clues and finding the boxes. Also, keep in mind letterboxes may have been hidden years ago and they may not be in the exact same location as the clue states. There may also be poison ivy, difficult terrain or perhaps it’s hunting season so wear bright colors. Please be wary of your surroundings. Bring your cell phone with you, let someone know where you are headed and like any hike proceed with caution.
Letterboxing is fun for kids of all ages. With a little planning, you and your kids can take a few hours, go outdoors together and discover something new and have fun!