This weekend, my brother-in-law took my sons on their very first geocaching adventure. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS coordinates that started in 2000. Who knew this game was going on all over the world?! I was so happy to see the kids so engaged and excited and that all of the kids (ages 4,6 and 10) could participate together.
Want to find your first cache? We found it best to start with the original site: geocache.com and also downloaded a phone app called Geocache. Here are the basic steps to embark on a geocaching adventure:
- Click here to register for a free basic membership on geocache.com
- Once logged in, visit the Hide & Seek a Cache page. Enter your postal code and click “search.”
- Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
- Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device (you can use your smart phone or a device such as a Garmin).
- Drive or walk to the location and use GPS to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
- When you find the cache, sign the logbook inside the cache container and return the geocache to its original location.
- Share your geocaching stories and photos online when you get home or on your phone.
If you are having a hard time finding the cache, you can check for hints and read other geocachers’ comments. There are also difficulty ratings for each cache, which will give you an idea before you start. They are usually rated on how hard it is to find and also the terrain you have to cross to get to it.
Caches are basically containers (usually plastic boxes with a geocaching sticker on them) that have one or both of these things: a log book for all of the people who find the geocache to sign and treasures that can be exchanged in the box. So you might want to bring along a few trinkets, such as coin medallions, painted rocks, stickers, pins, and any other small treasure you or your kids would enjoy finding because if you would like to take something from the cache, you need to replace it with something else for the next person to find.
The boys went on our hunt to find two geocaches that were less than a block away from us at our local park. They loved using their uncle’s phone to lead them to the location, and immediately started looking all around for the treasure. To explain geocaching to the boys, we told them it was like a treasure hunt, and the “treasure” was finding where someone else hid this little log book in a container. When we found it, we nominated one person to sign the log book, and another to return it to its “hiding spot”.
Geocaching has been a fun and engaging activity for our kids- and a great way to get outside and spend time together. Have you tried geocaching with your children? Comment below to share your stories!