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Monday, June 7, 2010

Letterboxing...









 So I read my son this book the other night and he was so interested in the code and the mystery of it that I was looking for something for him to do with  me other than a traditional scavenger hunt... I found it... Letterboxing....


 
 This is a great book to use with a mystery unit: have kids identify the components of a mystery story; let them keep detective booklets to keep track of all the possible clues they find within, both in text and pictures; have them create a list of questions to ask the theft victims, then let them play parts and act out their questioning; create a class chart to keep track of the clues they find on their own, discussing how they think the clues will or won't help solve the mystery; have them come up with possible solutions to the mystery and back up their positions. Use the letter at the end of the book to crack the code and discover the hiding places of each item.


You can use this book to fit curriculum in a variety of ways: reading genre (mystery), analytical thinking, math (code), deductive reasoning (figuring out the clues), poetry (the story is in verse), rhyming pairs and phonics, art appreciation (color schemes used in each scene, pictures hidden in the illustrations), components of magic shows (the various methods of magic performers employ)...and so much more.

 
Ok Ok ....Your asking.... but what is letterboxing?
*** Letterboxing is said to have originated on the moors of Dartmoor, ENGLAND in the 1850's when a guide placed a bottle at Cranmere Pool for visitors to leave letters to friends and mail them.Because the "letterbox" was so remote, only the intrepid and adventurous tended to reach it, laying the groundwork for the adventurous outdoor hobby that letterboxing would become. Today modern letterboxing in the United States combines a nice walk with a treasure hunt...
Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime combining historical and geographical education with ones artistic abilities in a delightful "treasure hunt" through beautiful, scenic places. The letter boxes sometimes called Geo caches or caches are boxes that can be out in the elements... Usually Tupperware... In the box  are clues, a rubber stamp a pen and stamp pad with journal. The stamps are always rubber stamps and are created by the "hider" or "planter". Many people don't create their  own stamps and they use commercially purchased rubber stamps which is fine also.
 When you follow the clues to find a letterbox or geo caches you open the box and write your trail name (handle) and you add your stamp to there journal or pad... and the date you where there... You then seal it all up and hide it back in nature where you found it... Some geocaches have trinkets for kids and the adult ones sometimes have coupons or tickets to an upcoming event...They even have First Finder certificates...
   This shows you what can be inside a letter box...
number 1. is the Tupperware with directions that say Do not destroy box .. Letterboxing... ( you can decorate the outside with stickers...
2. Has the history of letterboxing
3. some people put in post cards that they make with
stamps.... I do not recommend putting your address..
4. a extra pen in case the finder (hunter) has not remembered this..
5. The pad unlined white paper and you may decorate it be creative and think of your audience...
6. any size stamp pad...
7. Your stamp that you have created to be represent you...
8. Zip lock bag to put around box, and to put around pad inside the box.

Each box that is planted has a title...
We made one today that we will be "planting" it is dinosaur themed... and very kid friendly.. We will find a good hiking spot to hide it and then we will post our clues at this great site or
HERE
  In an eHOW article I read about letterboxing trails for children...
It told you not to forget snacks and drinks for the little hikers...
Letterboxing can be an educational activity-  you need a compass, you need to be able to read directions, count steps...etc..
If your child is unable to go hiking due to an injury or handicap situation... Most libraries have specific letterbox challenges and activities...
  I am looking to borrow or buy this great book..
  You do need to look at the clues and decide on the terrain and distance... Lots of scout troops "plant" the caches and they usually have easy clues to follow... If you have time... and many of us don't find the box yourself alone or with a friend and then come back with your kids... Because interpreting clues with kids waiting to "find" something can be frustrating... My son found 2 his first day.. but he wanted to keep going and the last one was too- hard I couldn't find it... but some are not checked on in 6 months or a year and the winter snow and storms can shift a hiding spot.
   So How can you get started on some summer fun??? Go to one of the data bases with clues that I mentioned above www.letterboxing.org   or    www.atlasquest.com

  Now I know you want to ask me how I hear about these things... Some of you may have been doing this since 2003 but I found out last year at Vacation Bible school and then I stumbled upon it on a site for organizational lists....just yesterday... and we did our first "finds"...
But My grandmother and this book she purchased me as a young girl,  that I still have.... Masquerade...is what inspired me...
Masquerade is a children’s book, written and illustrated by Kit Williams, which sparked a  real treasure hunt by concealing clues to the location of a jewelled golden hare, created and hidden somewhere in Britain by Williams. It became the inspiration for a genre of books known today as armchair treasure hunts.

an Armchair Treasure hunt is one of many different types of games which can have one or more players who try to find hidden articles, locations or places by using a series of clues. This is a fictional activity; treasure hunting can also be a real life activity. Treasure hunt games may be an indoor or outdoor activity. Outdoors they can be played in a garden or the treasure could be located anywhere around the world.

People describe letterboxing in many ways but the following is one I agree with....

"We like letterboxing because it gets us outdoors and keeps us active. Also, there are so many avenues for creativity - stamp carving, clue writing, exploring, etc. It is artful but in an accessible way," the Olympia resident said.

Teachers... Even though you may have only 14 days left of school if you are from NY and such.... but think about how this "hobby" could be great in class carving stamps, small groups and geography and historical field trips... I also read about a man named Tim Kuehl of Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School who promotes the pastime to his students.. His Honors algebra class.. He has mathematical letterboxes that review the material at the end of the semester.- If they find them it's an extra credit toward a grade.  

This "hobby" has also been used for at risk teens... 

So please if you have been letterboxing... leave me a nice long comment about where and one of your favorite boxes.. you found or planted...


If you have a child and or children and have taken them letterboxing.. then please let me know... thoughts and tips you found doing this...

and if you are like me and were in the dark about this cool outdoor hobby.. that is all year round... then please drop me a line... so I don't feel so clueless .....


 

6 comments:

Rayna M. Iyer said...

What a fantastic concept.
I live in a city, so it may not quite be feasible, but the idea is phenomenal.

Jane said...

Sounds like a very cool idea! My dd loves mysteries and finding clues! Thanks for sharing! I'm following along from Tag Along Tuesday! :)

wacki04 said...

New follower from TTA! I hope you can return the follow :)

http://thekingscourt4.blogspot.com/

Christy said...

I love this. My favorites as a kid were the Nancy Drew books. I love mysteries and other things that make me think. Get lost in a book. The best thing you can teach a child. Come check me out at http://christys62.blogspot.com/

Turning the Clock Back said...

Just stopping by from the Tuesday Tagalong to check out your blog. Im your newest follower! Stop by my blog whenever you have time, lots to see and do!

Diane
www.turning-the-clock-back.blogspot.com

Ellie said...

I know they are doing this on the walking, bike trail, near the swamp.
I saw people with GPS playing along.
Looks like fun! I think it was called something else a couple of years ago, when I discovered it...

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