Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Brownie Badge: Letterboxing

My stepdaughter fell in love with letterboxing after a Council event she attended. They were able to make their own stamps, find a couple letterboxes, and learn all about this amazing grown up hide-n-seek game played all over the world!

Our troop did the "World of Girls" Journey and Letterboxing was one of the additional activities badges you can earn. I explained the basics to the girls and they unanimously decided they wanted to earn this badge.

For the activities, I used the same stamp carving procedure they did at the Council event. It may sound scary, but after reminding the girls about 500 times to always cut AWAY from your fingers I'm happy to report no injuries in the making of this letterboxing adventure.



Letterboxing #1 - Get started with letterboxing
I went online and found some basic Letterboxing terms and had the girls match them up. They also had an extra copy to put in their log book. We used 2 pieces of chipboard for the front and back covers and lots of blank cardstock cut to size for the interior pages. I had the books together for the most part and the girls simply decorated the front covers, inserted their dictionary terms, and made sure to put their name on the book. I kept the journals until after our field trip, because otherwise they would be sure to forget them.

I really lucked out, because Michael's had chipboard albums in their $1 bins at 60% off, so I ended up getting the chipboard for the albums for very cheap. There were 5 pieces in each, so 2 packs for a grand total of 80 cents made 5 journals, plus cardstock. I watch the sales and grab packs of cardstock at JoAnn's when it's $1.99 for 50 sheets. Very economical that way.


Letterboxing #2 - Practice solving clues - fill in the blank clue
The second activity we did was solving and making clues. I had come up with a few things the girls had to solve. Some were just logic and others they had to find something to get the clue. After they solved a few clues I had put together, they came up with their own and took turns sharing and allowing the other girls to solve it. They learned about how hard it is to write clues for others to interpret and depending on how precise you are it will make it harder or easier.



Letterboxing #3: Find your own stamp - Make stamps with rubber erasers
This is how the lady coordinating the Council event introduced the group to stamp carving. She was gracious enough to loan our troop her tools and we did the same thing.

You buy the pink erasers and use a linocutter to carve the design. I reminded the girls to cut away from themselves. A couple other things to keep in mind

  • Draw the design FIRST with a pencil. If you mess up, simply turn the eraser over and rub the pencil off. A couple of the girls were amazed by this and redid their design a few times, because they liked rubbing the pencil markings off. Ha!
  • The design will be reversed when stamping, so letters have to be backwards. Start at the right with backwards letters. This was a little confusing to the girls, so I had a couple samples to explain by showing.
  • Linocutters are SHARP. Always cut away from your hands/fingers/etc.
  • Depending on the depth of the carving, you can add texture and such to your design. 


Letterboxing #4: Search for a letterbox 
We are fortunate enough to have several letterboxes close in our area. So, one of our troop meetings was a field trip to the local park. We followed clues and found a letterbox. We learned that sometimes it's harder than you think. In hindsight, I would suggest going before your troop and finding it, so you don't spend 30 minutes searching an area with kids looking for a letterbox.

To find letterboxes in your area, check out this site: http://www.letterboxing.org/



Letterboxing #5: Make a letterbox
This was the final step in earning our badge. The girls voted on our stamp design and voted I should find it. Ha! I actually ended up making a lightning bolt stamp to symbolize our troop crest.

We got a container, log book, stamp, ziploc baggie, and information on gaining permission from the city to hide the letterbox. We have not placed our letterbox, yet, because my Summer got away from me. As soon as we place it, I'll update you and you can search for it.

Hope this helps. It wasn't too bad of a badge to earn and the girls loved the activities.

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