Geocaching: High-tech Treasure Hunt for Kids of All Ages
Take your children on a real-life treasure hunt! All you need is a smartphone, a sense of adventure and maybe a picnic lunch! And how do I find this treasure, you ask? Very simple, introduce your kids to Geocaching!
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt where participants follow a map using a special app on their smartphone (which accesses a billion dollar military satellite), to locate a hidden cache. Combining hiking, nature and family fun, it’s a nearly free solution to entertaining children of all ages.
We like the idea of using geocaching to introduce your kids to new parks, activities and/or neighborhoods around your community you might not discover on your own. Hunting for treasure is also sure to keep children of all ages entertained and begging you to take them caching again year round.
It’s simple. Download one of several geocaching apps to your smartphone, register for a free account and you are ready to rock and roll! Geocaching.com is the most popular and works for both ANDROID and APPLE Devices.
There are over 2.6 million active geocaches hidden all over the world, chances are you will find one nearby, maybe even within walking distance of your home.
While the only items required to geocache are a smartphone or GPS device and a free membership to a geocaching website, a well-packed “go-bag” may make the adventure much more enjoyable.
Caching containers come in many different types or sizes. They can be as small as a pencil eraser or as large as an ammo canister.
Some caches look like ordinary objects, such as an electrical outlet or a rock, but it’s normally just a resealable plastic container. Inside small caches, you will only find a caching log strip to sign (no room for a pen!). Larger caches may contain inexpensive objects or “SWAG” to trade.
Pick your cache
To get started, simply type in your zip code and search through the list of caches to find the one you want to tackle.
Each cache will list a difficulty and terrain rating as well as the size of the container. For your first cache, choose a large-sized cache that contains SWAG for the kids (okay, adults love it too) and pick one with a low difficulty to prevent frustration! There is nothing worse than trekking all over creation and not finding treasure.
After selecting the cache, click on the “Navigate to Geocache” button to see the map and start off on your adventure! Either follow the compass or map in the direction of the geocache.
Once arriving within a few feet of the coordinates, start searching the area for the cache. Look under rocks, in hollow tree limbs, behind signs, and look for anything that is slightly out of place, like a large bolt that doesn’t belong.
If you get stuck, go back to the geocache description and look for clues and hints (many times the name of the cache is a clue itself). Also, read through logs of previous cachers, some will add an extra clue or instruction if they found the cache difficult.
To keep hurt feelings at a minimum, have each child look for the cache, and instead of grabbing it when they find it, have them walk back a few steps and raise their hand or say “Got it”, and let the other children find it on their own.
You found a cache, now what?
- Take SWAG from the cache
- Add SWAG to the cache
- Sign/date the log
- Replace the lid tightly
- Return the cache to its original hiding spot
- Using the smartphone app, report the cache “found”
Congratulations! You did it!
Spending time outdoors, exploring new areas, and working together as a team will create “treasured” memories your children will remember long after their Xbox is obsolete. Now off to the next cache!
Photo Credits: Kate Kelly
Tags: android, app, apple, cache, cachers, caching, entertaining, entertainment, family outing, geocaching, geocaching.com, GPS, high-tech treasure hunt, hiking, inexpensive, kid's, log, nature, outdoors, outings, parents, smartphone, summer fun, SWAG, teens, toddlers, treasure, trinkets, tweens
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