This week, come learn about the global hide n’ seek adventures you can have with your family called Letterboxing. Literally found all of the world, you can find or place these waterproof boxes in your favorite places outdoors by using the clues found on the internet. My family has experienced some of the most beautiful places in California, North Carolina and Illinois we would have otherwise never found. This was all because someone like YOU planted a letterbox and shared clues on how to find it. Letterboxing has been an ideal motivator for my children when they needed extra incentive for hiking in new locales. And in preparation for long roadtrips, I usually print out a set of clues to give us a great chance to stretch our legs and have some fun at a halfway point. One good find and you are hooked forever!
The simple Ingredients for going Letterboxing: a stamp, a notebook to gather stamp impressions, a stamp pad and a pen. This is all you need. Your stamp can be store-bought, but many letterboxers hand carve an eraser with simple linoleum cutting tools. At age 3, Ula drew a picture of her holding hands with the sun on an eraser. I then carved the image out of the eraser.
Once my girls and I find a box, we use the stamp found inside to make an impression in our “stampbooks” and then leave impressions of our stamps along with the date and our hometown in the book cached in the water-proof box. Before returning the box to its hiding place discretely, we take a moment to peruse the stamps of those who had ventured out as we did in search of this one box. It is fun to determine which stamper had traveled the furthest to leave an impression. Given that many of the stamps are hand-carved, it’s like flipping through a mini-art gallery It’s pretty amazing!
Letterboxing is one of the greatest motivators for my children to go on hikes to new locations. There is a whole series in Topanga State park. But because these boxes are intriguing, some have gone missing usually because people didn’t know what they had found. It is important to uncover the boxes and return them to their site as discretely as possible to prevent poaching. I once found a letterbox that had been partially melted in a forest fire. Amazingly, the stamp was still intact enough for an impression, but the box itself was melted.
If you are wanting to “plant” a letterbox (to plant is to hide your own waterproof container and add your clues online so others can find your letterbox) you will need a few more ingredients: a stamp, a waterproof container, a book that will fit in the box and a small pen or pencil.
The Clues: The writing of the clues can be as complicated or poetic as you would like.