Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Letterboxing {Geeky Fun}

Looking for a family activity that's interesting, creative and fun?  How about a creative birthday party idea for older kiddos?
On a hike in Swansea, MA

Luke's discovery in Somerset, MA
We started letterboxing a few years ago, and found that it was a great way for our family to enjoy a hike together without hearing complaining from the kids that the unplugged activity was "boring". Letterboxing is considered the predecessor to Geocaching.  It mixes orienteering (challenge with navigational skills) with stamp-making and collecting.  This is basically a free activity folks!

A local Geocache (we've done this too)!
The basic idea of letterboxing is to follow written directions like a treasure hunt with a compass to find a hidden letterbox (great lesson for kids to learn to use a compass!)  Set out on your hike, and watch for the land marks! Inside the box is a rubber stamp (some home-made, some commercial) and a notebook.  Sometimes, the letterbox owner will also enclose a pen or pencil and an ink pad, but your best bet is to bring your own.
On the hunt in Fairhaven, MA

Seth found this one!

The letterbox!
Once you find the "treasure," you leave a copy of your stamp in the box's notebook, and take a copy of their stamp in your personal collection.  When you get home, you can log on to the letterbox's site and leave a message for the letterbox owner.

Getting ready to stamp in.
We have discovered so many new places in our area by going on these little treasure hunts!  There are hundreds of letterboxes all over the world! The two best sites to find letterboxes near you are Atlas Quest and
Westport, MA

Dartmouth, MA

Taunton, MA

Bristol, RI

Portland, ME area (Baxter Woods)

I have my kids carry a small backpack with their letterboxing kit and a bottle of water.

My cousin Ani's first letterbox discovery!

Stamping in

Everyone takes a turn

My oldest son had a letterboxing birthday party a couple of years ago.  The first thing we did was have the kids make their own letterboxing kits.  They made their own "stamps" by sticking foam stickers to sponges with foam rubber hot glued to one side. They worked really well!  They got to choose a notebook, a pen and an ink pad to put in their plastic boxes.  These doubled as party favors for them to take home!

Letterboxing kit-making station

The kids loved personalizing their boxes with stickers
We hid five boxes in various places around the outside of our house and around the neighborhood.  We split the kids into teams, gave each team a map, a compass, a set of gloves, a disposable camera, and written directions and set them free! Everyone had a blast finding the hidden boxes. The kids still talk about this party as one of their favorite parties ever.

Teams setting out on "the hunt"

A letterboxing kit makes a great gift!  Make a special notebook, and put it in a nice plastic box (like a pencil box), a special pen, an ink pad and a rubber stamp and maybe a pair of gardening gloves and a compass. Include a homemade book about the history of letterboxing, and maybe a few choice letterbox locations close to you.

Using scrapbooking materials, I covered ordinary notebooks to make special gifts.

Coordinating colored pens, stamps and ink pads

What activities do you enjoy with your family?  Leave me some great ideas in the comments below!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Labor Day Freebies! {Via Catch My Party}

Our friends over at Catch My Party have been gracious enough to host our labor day freebie!  It's printables to dress up your barbecue, and it's retro {Mad Men <3 inspired!}

I hope you enjoy them, and I'd love to see any pix from your festivities!  I do mourn the end of summer, but there are so many good times still to come in 2011!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Freebie Roundup Summer/Fall 2011

I am taking this week off to get my life ready for back to school, holidays and some upcoming special events.  When I come back, I'll share more stuff I'm working on, more geeky fun and adventures, and most importantly: more freebies.

Before I go, I want to do a freebie roundup of all the freebies from my blog.  We will be combining my blog with my main website, and I will make sure I have a freebie page with links to the Clickable Party freebie universe!

(full printable on its way via Catch My Party)

Stay tuned for free Flintstone birthday printables and Mario Brothers birthday printables!

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