Saturday, May 24, 2014

Letterboxing Knockout

Last weekend we discovered a new activity perfect for our outdoors-loving daughter and Indiana Jones-coveting son -- letterboxing!  A treasure hunting game that builds navigational skills and encourages exercise as the box is typically hidden in an interesting yet beautiful spot in a park or forest in cities around the world. The seeker follows clues  -- sometimes they are straightforward while other times cryptic.  The prize is a water-proof container which holds a miniature piece of art...a hand-carved rubber stamp and a hand-made log book. 

To play:
1. Visit or
2. Read through the rules/etiquette of letterboxing
3. Select a trail name
4. Create a stamp (I chose to have the kids buy a stamp and ink pad at Hobby Lobby)
5. Purchase or make a small notepad to log your letterbox finds
6. Select a letterbox hunt from the website.  Be sure to choose one that is somewhat recent or that someone has visited recently because sometimes boxes get found and don't get replaced.
7. Once you find a box, stamp the logbook with your stamp and write in your trail name, the date and where you are from.  If you like, leave a short message, too.  Then take the stamp you found and stamp it into your own log book, date it and write in where you found it.

While Noah wasn't excited when I first presented the idea, he quickly came around once he settled on his trail name - Mr. E. He chose an uppercase E for his stamp.  Natalie, who worries she'll "never experience the joy of owning a dog" came up with the moniker, Woof-woof as her trail name and a stamp featuring a floppy-eared dog.

Our first venture took us to a park we'd never been to before -- Love Park  in Town & Country. An 89 acre park full of low branch trees, lush fields and a state-of-the-art playground. As we pulled up to the pavilion,  Noah shared "a Hobbit could live here". After lunch, the kids climbed trees and searched for creepy crawlies, then we set off on the Chipmunk trail in search of our treasure.

We found two letterboxes that day, but the real treasure came from the memories I've collected.
A perfect day for a picnic or an afternoon snooze.
Mom! Look what I found!

Love Park is filled with low branch trees -- perfect for climbing.

Following the clues

After our hunt at Love Park, we set off for Kirkwood Park and found another box.

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