Monday, August 3, 2009


Have you ever been letterboxing?  If you have, you know it's fun.  And if you haven't, you should!  Letterboxing is a way to encourage family exercise, an appreciation for nature, and teaches children - and adults - to pay attention and follow directions.

We went letterboxing during our reunion, thanks to Aunt Fran, who made and placed six Kung Fu Panda themed boxes along a trail near our cabins.  And now, we're hooked and ready to find letterboxes here in Stafford.  (They're everywhere, I tell you!  Pretty cool!)

Since I really had no idea what this whole letterboxing thing was a week ago, I figure many of you may not know much about it either.  So, without further ado, here's a little step-by-step demonstration, curtesy of my boys (with guest appearances by cousin Mic and Poppy).  You can thank them later :)

Before you can go out, you need to make a stamp for yourself.  We used erasers and carved our designs into them.  Let me just tell you, the simple designs work much better!  Or, if you really want to be like us, you can draw a very tiny, very detailed picture on your eraser and get very upset when your mommy tries to convince you to go a little simpler.  Then, your mommy will concentrate really hard and - after a lot of blood sweat and tears (you think I'm kidding, but I'm not) - your mommy will get that tiny, detailed picture carved into that eraser.

So, you've got your stamp.  Sorry no picture for that step.  This mommy was kind of busy with other things...  You'll also need an ink pad, a small log book or journal, and baby wipes (to clean off the stamps).

Now grab your clues and you're off!

You'll follow your clues and learn to follow trail markers and signs.  You'll also have to observe what's around you.  That fallen tree might just be the clue you're looking for!

And you'll hike.  Take the dog.  Dogs like to explore new trails.  Our dog likes to see how many ticks she can collect.  She thinks it's as great as collecting stamps in a log book.  I think it's gross.

After a few clues, you'll be led to a very special spot - right where the letterbox has been hidden by someone who came along before you!  You then have to do a little searching and you'll come out with a little, you guessed it, box!

When you open the box, you'll find a stamp and a log book, much like the ones you brought with you.  The idea is to stamp your stamp in the letterbox's log book and stamp the letterbox's stamp in your log book.  Later, you can look back in your book to see all the different stamps you've collected.  And someday, when the owner of that box goes back to it, he'll see all the different stamps that have visited his box!

We really enjoyed this fun activity, and will definitely be adding to our log books.  We've already learned of a few letterboxes hidden in our area and can't wait to get out to find them.

If you want to join the letterboxing craze, click here to learn more and find boxes in your area. Have fun!


Cailean said...

Very cool! Thanks for the step by step. A family in our ward does something very similar that is popular here in Seattle. I've thought about our family starting it too. This post got me excited!

Dustin said...

This sounds a lot like Geocaching.

Susan said...

Go Fran! What a great thing to do. Poor Mayo - when you don't have opposable thumbs you are reduced to collecting ticks, don't you realize that was the only way she could participate? And she was probably collecting them so they wouldn't get on the boys. She's such a good girl!

And I have a sneaking suspicion I know who needed the intricate stamp. I'm thinking ballerinas here.

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