NOTE: Michelle shared this post a couple of years ago. We have a project to share this week, but before we do, we wanted to repost this story on Letterboxing. If you haven’t discovered this past time with your children, you are in for a treat 🙂 

This summer we have discovered a fun new hobby… Letterboxing or as my kids call it… Treasure Hunting.

What is Letterboxing? It is a fun hobby that combines hiking, clues/maps and stamp collecting. You follow the clue to find a box. Inside the box you will find a special stamp and a notebook in a waterproof container. You stamp your notebook with the found stamp and the Letterbox notebook with your signature stamp, then you re-hide the box. This is a great way to encourage kids to hike! The first time out my little ones did a 3 mile hike and wanted to keep going for the next box.

What do you need to get started… just a journal for collecting stamps, a signature stamp to leave your mark (homemade or store bought), an ink pad and pen, possibly a compass and a clue map. I also keep sunblock, bug spray and a water bottle in our pack.

To find lettingboxing hunts in your area log on to Atlas Quest. Choose a hunt that is active (been found recently) and has in fact been found before. Some letterboxes are not maintained well and it is very discouraging if you can’t find the box, especially the first time out.

I have printed out a bunch of hunts in our area and we leave our letterboxing kit in the car. It has become a fun spur of the moment, afternoon activity for us. We have not created our own signature stamps… yet. We will sometime soon but I was anxious to get started so we grabbed what we already had and set off on an adventure.

Have any of you tried letterboxing yet? Our favorite find so far was found in a small, old cemetery. It was a very cool fairy stamp.

Michelle ~ Wee Folk Art


  1. I’ve never heard of letterboxing. I just typed in albany NY and there are 178 letterboxes. Who knew? Tomorrow we are going on our first. Thanks for inspiring yet again.

  2. I can’t tell you how much fun we have been having letterboxing. At the beginning of the summer we started a little club. There are 4 families that go out together. I like having other people there since many of the areas are secluded. Love your blog!

  3. We love letterboxing! We have had our best adventures while on vacation. You end up visiting places that would never have been on your radar had a letterbox not brought you there. We also love to see our book get filled up with stamps from around the country.

  4. It is so funny to read your two last posts and find two things that I love already..
    Letterboxing…I found the existance of that when searching the web looking for handmade stamps, I like them very much. But I have not tried letterboxing, as here in Spain there is no much about it, it seems to be a USA thing only, and thats a pitty, seems so funny!!

    And the Soulemama “this moment”…I love it also..

    Hugs from sunny Spain.

    1. Maybe you could start letterboxing in your area. Get a few families together and make up a few adventures, and before you know it, other people will catch on!

  5. I’ve seen this on a smaller scale in museums, but I can imagine it works better on a walk. Love the idea.

  6. I did letterbox several years ago. I even have a Letterboxing of American T-shirt. I prefer it to Geocacheing- which is what my husband does. I’ve planted a few letterboxes in my time, all of which, I’m sure are abandoned by now. My kids call geocacheing “Treasure hunting”

  7. this past week while hiking in Connecticut, and my daughter was so excited that we’re actually on our way out to try some more letterboxing today! We also took a stab at geocaching which I thought was fun, but she didn’t like it as much.

  8. I have a blog that promotes early literacy at home. Literacy also includes writing and what better way to encourage a child to write? I love this idea. I hope you don’t mind but I’m linking up. Stop by sometime and say “Hi”. I’m also going to browse around to see if you have any more great ideas. I’ll be sending readers your way.

  9. We love letterboxing too! We discovered it about a year ago and find that it takes us on interesting detours when we travel… up trails and into areas we otherwise would never have found. We just recently carved our first hand made stamp (much easier than anticipated) and so much fun! http://passengersonalittlespaceship.blogspot.com/2012/06/carving-our-first-letterbox-stamp.html We also use the letterboxing.org site. If you haven’t already tried it, it might be worth a gander… Happy hunting 🙂

  10. After reading your post I started following links and adding more about letter boxing. Seems to be quite popular in our area too. We’ve gone out four of the last four days and had great fun. Discovering fabulous outdoor places close to home that were “hidden” spots I doubt I would have discovered otherwise. My kids love tramping and stamping.

  11. Just a general comment to everyone that has shared about letterboxing… YAY!!! Whether you are an old school letterboxer or just learned about it through our post, we are delighted to hear this is an activity your family enjoys. What a perfect way to be outdoors with your family, solve puzzles and clues, go on treasure hunts, and do it all for FREE! Although popular in England for over one hundred years, it's popularity has boomed in America over the past decade. How exciting for this to have become a global past time 🙂  

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