September 12, 2007

Last week I mentioned an end-of-summer adventure I was going to try with my kids: letterboxing. I’ve received a bunch of questions about letterboxing, so h
ere is my rudimentary explanation of what it is:

People all over the world put together boxes containing a blank book, a pen, a rubber stamp and an ink pad. They hide the water-proof box in public place (like a park) and then post clues on how to find it on the internet. Letterboxers look up the clues and search out the book, stamping their own books with the stamp they find and making a mark with their own stamp in the letterbox’s book. I hear there are over 20,000 boxes hidden in North America alone. (You can find lots more information at letterboxing.org. This article was especially helpful.)

I was supposed to go with three friends, Marianne, Amanda and Jana — my local letterboxing experts. But I was slow to get the kids up and going that day and we missed our chance to meet them. (Next time girls! Really.) So that my kids wouldn’t collapse from disappointment, we ended up letterboxing on our own. And we’re hooked!!

We packed a letterboxing kit before we left:


ink pads

blank book

a canvas bag to carry our kit

Luckily, I had all of this on hand. If letterboxing had required a trip to the store that day, I’m afraid it wouldn’t have happened. Apparently, many letterboxers prefer to make their own stamp — just the kind of project I love — but was glad I had these pretty insect ones on hand for our first try.

We found the box after following all the clues — which happened to lead us on an in-depth walk around one of our favorite parks. We stamped our book, and made some notes and added a green leaf and a red leaf to our book as reminders that our adventure was at the end of summer and start of fall. We put a snail stamp into the letterbox’s book (because we were so slow to find it) and our thumbprints as well.

We especially loved realizing there was a letterbox hidden in a place we already knew and loved. And further realizing there were probably letterboxes at many of our favorite haunts. For our family, I can imagine this being a perfect Sunday afternoon hobby.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erica September 12, 2007 at 8:42 am

WE’ve been doing letterboxing on and off all summer…we’ve got 2 really close to our home! It’s such an adventure!


2 Becky September 12, 2007 at 9:02 am

It sounds a lot like geocaching, but much less technical. We’ll have to give it a try in the midwest! Hopefully we can find one here. I’m sure my kids would love it! Thanks for sharing.


3 love.boxes September 12, 2007 at 9:36 am

Like treasure hunting only more fun!


4 michelle September 12, 2007 at 10:18 am

Such a cool post.


5 Mamma September 12, 2007 at 10:20 am

I’ve never heard of this. What a fun idea. Thanks for sharing.


6 Montserrat September 12, 2007 at 10:58 am

We’ve wanted to try letterboxing for a while but there aren’t any boxes out where we live. There are a ton of geocaches however, so we are hooked on that right now.


7 ReminisceHeirlooms September 12, 2007 at 11:06 am

I have never hear dof this! One of the coolest things I have seen!


8 Carrie September 12, 2007 at 11:07 am

That sounds like a lot of fun. I checked out the website and we just might have to try it. Thanks!


9 Sarah September 12, 2007 at 11:12 am

It’s like an artsy form of geocaching! Cool.


10 Miss Five September 12, 2007 at 11:34 am

Curse you, Design Mom!! I’m off to find a letterbox in my neighborhood. But really, how do you discover such fun things?!


11 jen September 12, 2007 at 11:46 am

My family loves letterboxing, too! Such an adventure for the little ones.


12 MANDUH September 12, 2007 at 11:48 am

This sounds like an almost free way to have fun! Can’t go wrong with that! I looked up my area and there are quite a few around… this is going to be a new tradition/hobby for my family. THANKS!!


13 Dana September 12, 2007 at 11:53 am

WOW! What fun! My daughter is just coming on 2 but I think that this would be amazing fun for all of us!

There are lots of letterboxes hidden within 30 minutes of our house – two with connecting themes!

Thanks for the link!


14 spyderette September 12, 2007 at 11:54 am

we enjoyed some letterboxing in utah this summer…my kids LOVE it and since they are everywhere, it suddenly puts a whole new angle on road trips! we will plan rest stops to coincide with a letterbox when possible.

don’t forget that the locations are to be kept a secret and that stamping should be done discreetly.


15 Anonymous September 12, 2007 at 11:58 am

Before the Internet LB was already popular, especially in Great Britain I believe. For the seriously hardcore, finding the box might require longitude/latitude coordinates or a topographical map. Fun!!


16 Macy September 12, 2007 at 12:01 pm

Fantastic idea! My son isn’t old enough yet, but I’m already trying to plan a letterboxing activity for the group of young women I am in charge of at church. Thank you!


17 Dansie Family September 12, 2007 at 12:40 pm

we started letterboxing after my 5 year old was born, but haven’t done any since we moved to utah. we need to get out more. i much prefer it to geocaching. it seems a little more down to earth. thanks for reminding me of this fun pasttime.


18 AP September 12, 2007 at 1:23 pm

I want to go!


19 BeachysCapeCodCupboard September 12, 2007 at 1:54 pm

How exciting! This one passed by my cyber-chasing eyes!


20 Girl con Queso September 12, 2007 at 10:38 pm

What a cool idea. I love it. (And I love the leaf symbolism)


21 annie September 14, 2007 at 12:42 am

wow, that’s the coolest thing. I love this blog!! Thank you for all of your wonderful ideas!


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