Friday, May 15, 2009

Family Fun Friday - Letterboxing

Welcome to Family Fun Friday: THE place to share fun and frugal ideas for family activities. Please read the Guidelines and share with us!!

On a warm sunny Saturday in April, my family packed peanut butter sandwiches for a picnic lunch and drove to Goddard State Park, where we enjoyed an afternoon of letterboxing.

What?! You've never heard of 'letterboxing'? We learned about it earlier this year from some friends. Basically it's a treasure hunt, except you don't keep the treasure.

Intrigued? Watch to learn more!

My boys (almost 6 years and 4 years) loved hunting for 'treasure!' We spent the afternoon exploring park trails, looking for a "tree with a hole you can see right through," and hunting for "the weathered bone behind a tree near slithering serpents."

We searched for 2 separate letterbox series in the same park. Each had a pirate theme for the stamps and clues which made the 'treasure hunt' even more fun for my boys. For one series the stamps were real pirate flags, which lead to researching the real pirates once we got home.

Letterboxing definitely has an educational component. (Remember we home school!) We needed to know what birch and oak trees were, follow simple directions, count to 50, read a compass and use our imaginations to interpret the clues. Who says educational can't mean fun?!

So, to recap letterboxing:
  1. Print a set of clues to a (series of) letterbox(s) from Atlas Quest or Letterboxing.
  2. Drive to the public location where the letterbox is hidden and follow the clues.
  3. Use your black inkpad and the stamp from the letterbox in your notebook or journal.
  4. Return the letterbox to it's hiding location.
  5. In the series' final letterbox use YOUR stamp in the journal in the letterbox.
Recommended Ages: Fun for ALL!
Equipment Needed: Compass, Notebook, Ink Pad, Stamp, Pen
Cost: Total = $0 - $25
Where: Parks and public areas all over the US
When: Year-Round but especially good for summer. Weekend. Vacation. Holidays.

Have you been letterboxing? Look here to see if any letterboxes are hidden near your home.


Amy said...

Great pictures! It is clear that everyone was having fun and that the weather was beautiful! Thanks for sharing a fun idea! :)

Carrie said...

We have some friends who letterbox and it's apparently quite the rage. What a great idea for a fun family activity. I'm so glad that you are doing this carnival. It was fun to read what your family did!

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

We've wanted to try this for awhile now and it's DEFINITELY going on the list for summer!!!

I forgot about Fun Friday this week. Bummer!

ajourneyinmommying said...

Wow! Sounds like fun. I've never heard of this but it sounds like something Todd and the boys would love! ....especially when phrased as "searching for treasure" family idea. I need inspiration for this kind of exploring stuff as I am so not adventuresome! Todd likes to get off the beaten path. I'm all about the beaten path. Isn't there a reason it's beaten??? :)

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