So many of the things that we enjoy to do or go to are requiring masks to be worn this summer…yes, you read that right. Masks, summer and kids do not go well together. So, we are going to our other favorite to keep us busy and give us some new adventures.
We really enjoy a sport called letterboxing. What you do is you look up a general area you would like to hike at and search for letterboxes in that area. You get a series of clues that should lead you to the letterbox. My family has really enjoyed doing this in the past and we have plans to do it throughout this year.
If you want to start letterboxing, the first thing you need to do is to visit Atlas Quest. This is a database of all the letterboxes there are. It is amazing! Create an account and look at all the possibilities for trips to find these amazing letterboxes!
Now, there are some basic supplies that you will need in order to get started. You need a custom stamp of your own. My kids have designed their own stamps and included their code names that they created to go with the stamp. We found or created the designs we liked and had them created into a stamp by RubberStamps.net. They do an amazing job and we have loved the stamps we’ve gotten from them.
The next thing you will need is a blank notepad. We found these at the dollar store. You want the unlined kind so you can stamp into the notebook and not have the lines in the way. While you are there, grab a cheap pack of baby wipes (to clean the stamps after use), a stamp ink pad and a pack of pens. My kids will say a pack of gum as well because they love to have that be a part of their pack.
Now that you have all your supplies, you need a basic idea of what you are doing. You will be looking up a letterbox to go and search out. Follow the clues for the hidden box. Once you find the hidden box, you will open it and you should find a notebook and a stamp. The person who hid the box either had a stamp made or made one themselves to hide and they generally go along with the theme of the clues they left for you. Most are hidden on public property, very few are on personal property.
Take the hidden stamp and use your ink pad to stamp it into your notebook. We also include the location and date in our notebooks so that we can look back at where we have been. The letterbox also has a notebook so you will take your stamp and stamp it into their notebook with a date and a message if you wish. We always left our code names so they could look us up on the database and see where we have been. Kind of a tracking system without having to go back to your letterbox to see who was there.
Now that you have stamped in your notebook and the letterbox’s notebook, you have to return the notebook and stamper and hide the letterbox again. The key is to do this very privately. You don’t want others to see what you find or where you found it to avoid it getting stolen. You need to be sneaky and hide it just as well, if not better than it was hidden before but in the same place. If you don’t hide it in the same place, the next finder will not be led there by the clues and they will be very sad to have not found and added the stamp to their books. We have searched for a few letterboxes and never found them and for our kids, that is really sad.
This summer, we are going to do a scrapbook of our letterboxing journeys. I will take pictures, print them and make it into a family adventure scrapbook. I plan to go back and add in the ones we have already done as well. My kids really enjoy it, it gets us off the devices and out into nature and we get some much needed exercise as well.
What do you like to do for a family adventure? Do you have any special traditions that you do every summer? Please, share in the comments!