Have you ever heard of letterboxing?
I'd never heard of it before today. But it's little wonder I haven't heard of it before today; after all it is a fairly new "sport"
I mean, it's only been around since the mid-1800s!
(Am I really that unobservant??)
Letterboxing can be described as a "modern-day treasure hunt," but it appears to be so much more than that. Not only is it fun, but it's an excellent way to enjoy quality family together time, learn about history/science/nature, etc, and discover more about the city/state in which you live. In fact, letterboxing seems to be an ideal hobby for homeschoolers—family time, learning, and fun, all wrapped up in one activity!
So what exactly is letterboxing?
First, a person called a "Placer" puts together a small plastic box filled with a few specific items:
- a logbook
- an ink pad (sometimes)
- a unique rubber stamp
Then they hide the box somewhere…anywhere! It could be hidden in the woods, along a nature trail, at a park, in a zoo, or just about anywhere else. (I've been told there are several boxes hidden in our local city aquarium!)
Then the Placer writes out a set of clues that will lead someone else to find the box. The clues could be anything from straightforward directions to quirky riddles. Often the clues include extra information about the area in which the box is hidden, a history lesson, or some other interesting, often educational, information. (This is one of the aspects of letterboxing that makes it so appealing to homeschoolers.)
The clues are then posted on a website like atlasquest.com so "Finders" can look up the clues to find the box.
Once a Finder actually finds a box, he will "stamp in," which simply means the Finder places his stamp in the logbook, as well as stamping his own logbook with the stamp from the box. The Finder then places the box back where he found it, making sure it's just as hidden as it was before.
Letterboxing has become so popular that there are literally thousands of boxes in practically every city in the U.S. I was even told today there are over 40 boxes hidden in our dinky little town of just 1,500!
We plan to go on our first letterboxing hunt this weekend. I'll post about our adventure next week if we're successful!
If you'd like a more eloquent introduction to letterboxing than my rambling, Family Fun magazine has an informative article.