Summer

☼Summer of Fun☼ Activity 21

#SummerofFun

Hi ya Kids!

How’s everyone doing today?

Great! Me too!!

I have a great activity for you all today; it’s one that makes it onto our summer of fun list every year, without fail and it’s never a one time activity. Usually, we do this activity 3, 4,or more times a month.

Activity No. 21 – Letterboxing

I hear you asking what is letterboxing? All while crinkling up your nose and looking all confused.

The simple answer is, it’s a scavenger hunt…

buuuttt that’s not really it….

It’s a treasure hunt

noooo, that’s not really it either.

I guess it’s actually both of those things! Letterboxing is a great way to spend quality time together, enjoy some outdoor time, get a little exercise (don’t worry you won’t even know you’re exercising), and finding and exploring places and things you never knew existed! YEP! There it is, “that little something”. You’re starting to expect these aren’t you? 🙂

Tweet: Letterboxing – spend quality time together, enjoy the outdoors, get a little exercise, find and explore places you never knew existed!

Letterboxes can be found all around the globe. No, seriously all over the world. 

There are two sites and an app we usually use for letterboxing: Letterboxing.orgAtlasQuest.com and then the app, Box Radar.

There are other sites and apps, I’m sure, but we find these to be the most simple to use.

Now you know where to go to find out about letterboxing let’s talk about what you’re going to need.

According to Letterboxing.org, to get started, you’ll need: a “trail name,” rubber stamp, pencil or pen, small sketch book, one or more ink pads or brush markers, a simple compass, and clues.

1. Trail Name

A trail name is your letterboxing identity. Some letterboxers chose to use their real name, but most chose a trail name that means something special to them. Examples of trail names are Mark & Sue, The Drew Clan, Team Green Dragon, The Wild Cats, Silent Doug, Clueless, and Choi. (Our family’s trail name is the Color Monkeys, you’ll understand why in a minute)

2. Rubber Stamp

The image for the rubber stamp should mean something personal to you or your family and is either hand-carved or commercially made. This is your “personal stamp” and you’ll use this to make an imprint in the log book contained in each letterbox that you find. If you letterbox as a family, you can either use one team stamp or a stamp for each person. (We shopped and shopped and shopped for our stamp, then finally found one we could all agree on…a monkey sitting on top of a ball – that explains the monkey part of our trail name….)

3. Pencil or Pen

The pencil or pen is used to add your trail name and date next to your personal stamp imprint that you’ve made in the log book. You might also want to add a personal comment about your experience finding the letterbox. (Don’t count on the box you find to have a writing utensil. Think about how many times you’ve walked away from the bank teller’s window with her pen in your hand. It happens a lot that a box is found and there is no pen or pencil, so this item is very important)

4. Sketch Book

The sketch book is your “personal log book” where you stamp imprints using the stamps in the letterboxes that you find. It’s best to use acid-free medium to heavy weight paper. Paper with a smooth finish gives the best impression. An alternative is to make an imprint from the letterbox stamp on plain paper or index card then later cut it out and add it to a scrapbook. (We’ve used commercial bought log books and homemade ones. As long as it has plenty of space and has fairly thick pages, ink bleeds through the thinner papers, anything will be alright)

5. Ink Pad

At a minimum, you should carry one inkpad. The easiest type to use has a raised foam pad. Archival Ink pads by Ranger are really the best, dry instantly, are waterproof and readily available in the big box craft stores. Ancient Page also possess the same qualities. StazOn alcohol pads are terrific too. If you find that you enjoy letterboxing, you may want to purchase a set of 24 Marvy Brush Makers. Their large brush point and bright, non-toxic, odorless watercolor make them perfect for rubber stamping because the color stays wet longer than other markers. They’re a good choice on stamps that are suitable for inking in multiple colors. (While we were shopping and shopping for a stamp remember above where I mentioned the monkey? Well we couldn’t decided on an ink color either, imagine that, hence we ended up with a multi-colored ink-pad….AHHHH now it’s all falling into place….the COLOR MONKEYS!!)

6. Compass (optional)

Although many letterbox clues don’t require it, you should consider purchasing a simple baseplate compass, such as the Suunto A-10 (about $12). You won’t need a fancier compass with sighting or declination adjustment, since nearly all letterbox clues that reference compass bearings use magnetic bearings (We actually have 2 compasses; you know the ol’ adage- two heads are better than one? Well, two compasses are usually better than one, at least for us, because that’s two sets of eyes reading the coordinates-better chance of success that way. Not to mention, a couple of my guys couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag with both ends cut open 😉 )

7. Clues

Now that you’re fully equipped, you need to locate some clues to letterboxes near you. The primary web site for letterboxing clues is www.letterboxing.org. Another popular web site is www.atlasquest.com. Once you find the clues to a letterbox that you’d like to find, read it carefully and try to locate and print out a trail map of the area in which you’ll be hiking. (We typically print out the clues, but have just recently started using Box Radar. Most of the letter boxes we find on the websites can also be found on the app along with the clues. Since letterboxing is supposed to be an environmentally friendly activity the less paper we use…the better)

And that, as they say, is that! Letterboxing in all of it’s glory. It’s probably the most addicting activity we do.

There is one more morsel of information you need: some letterboxes have been moved, taken, destroyed, or are just not there. It happens for a lot of different reasons. Don’t let a miss or a not found box discourage you. There is success to be had…just keep going!

On our way
We’re all packed up and ready to go on our first letterbox hunt of this summer
letterboxing
Our first box was nowhere in sight! BUMMER
Hoffman Reserve
Our second box location was in this lovely reserve. Watch out for the Frisbee golf players
letterbox
THAT box has to be in here somewhere!
letterbox
HERE IT IS!! I found it! I found it!!
be discrete
Off to find a discrete place where no one can see us ( we don’t want to give the hiding place of the box away. That would spoil it for other hunters)
Open the box
LOOK! Inside is a stamp of a cupcake and a notepad. See, no pen or pencil. Glad we have one with us
Stamping
Working on getting the box stamp in our notebooks and putting our stamp into their notebook. Be sure to put your trail name, where you’re from and the date you found the box in their book.
Finishing up
Be sure to put the name of the letterbox, the date, and a little blurb about your experience in your notebook.

Till Next Time,

♥ Robyn

Go see if there are letterboxes near you!!

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6 thoughts on “☼Summer of Fun☼ Activity 21

  1. Nice idea. My 13-year-old son seems to be turning into a vampire. Apparently he needs the curtains drawn because it’s too bright and he doesn’t want to go out because it’s too hot. Yet he’s got his dressing gown wrapped around him.

    Liked by 1 person

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