The Books - I Spy
I love these books from Scholastic! Each book contains page after page of crowded images. On each page, children see if they can spy certain items in each picture. We received an I Spy board book from the doctor at Littlest Page's last appointment, and I was impressed that she could point to different items when I asked. Little Page reads some of the older I Spy books which include word puzzles great for early literacy. These books are fabulous for long rainy afternoons, road trips, or any other time you need a little adventure without leaving the house.
The Activity - Letterboxing
Letterboxing is a hobby enjoyed by people around the world. It involves finding hidden boxes based on clues posted on a website and then stamping a "passport" to show you were there. So simple and so much fun.
- First, you'll want to go to a website to see what boxes are in your area. Atlasquest.com and Letterboxing.org are two of the main websites for North America. Both sites allow you to search for clues to boxes in your city. (Tip: Take note if the box is considered "active" and when it was last found. You'll have better luck finding a box that was recently discovered.)
- Pack up a stamp (see tutorial below), a pad of paper or notebook, an ink pad, and your family!
- Follow the directions in the clue. We chose a box at a local park. The directions were simple enough for Little Page to follow. We started at an old caboose located in the park, passed a couple posts, looked for an electrical box with a #16 on it, then walked several yards into the woods where the box was hidden at the base of a large oak.
This box took only a few minutes to find, and Little Page led the way. She was so excited to look for each new landmark and finally uncover the box!
- Find the stamp in the box. Most of these stamps are beautiful, hand-carved works of art. This one was created by "Dulcimer Dave" and is a replica of the caboose in the park.
- Stamp your notebook with the box's stamp and write the date and location. Instead of a notepad, I used a 4x6 index card which I then placed in a small photo album.
- Now stamp your stamp in the notepad provided inside the box. You can write a message to the owner of the box if you'd like. We really enjoyed seeing all of the elaborate and beautiful stamps others had added to the book as well as reading their messages.
That's it! There are boxes all over the states, so we plan on working letterboxing into future family vacations and road trips. You can even create boxes of your own for others to find. But first you'll need a stamp...
Part of the fun of letterboxing is making a personal stamp. The stamps range from incredibly elaborate to fairly simple, but your kids can make their own stamp with just a few steps!
- Gather a jar lid and foam stickers.
- Let your child arrange the stickers on the lid.
- For more detail, use a pencil to indent the foam. If you write a word, don't forget to write the letters backwards!
For more information on letterboxing, visit www.letterboxing.org. It's a great family-friendly activity I encourage you to try!