Geocaching is a great way to get kids excited about going outside and exploring new places! Who doesn’t love a “treasure hunt?” This year I introduced my three rambunctious boys to Geocaching and it only took one ammo-can full goodies to get them hooked. Now when I get done with work every day, the question is always, “Mom, can we go treasure hunting today?”
I love this because this is currently my thing to do with them. Dad is allergic to poison ivy, and even though we have found a good preventative, he still does want to push his luck by traipsing through the poison ivy bushes in the woods here in Virginia. He joins us in the Autumn/Winter months as some of those plants have died down. But until then, I get to enjoy Geocaching with my guys as “our thing to do.”
What is Geocaching?
Here’s a quick video to give you an overview of what Geocaching is from Geocaching.com.
Doesn’t it look fun? I encourage you to download the Geocaching App. Once you sign up at Geocaching.com, you can get a free month trial of the premium membership here: https://www.geocaching.com/freetrial/
Here are some tips that I learned along the way while introducing geocaching to my boys:
Make a Plan BEFORE you leave the house. Spontaneous geocaching is not always 100% successful for little guys (and gals). Look for the big geocaches, check out favorite points, read some of the log entries on the geocache before adding it to your list. Initially we tried to just find all the large geocaches in our area, but after one time of walking through the woods by the lake near us for 45 minutes and NOT finding a geocache, I discovered that I needed to look to see when the last find was … that particular one hadn’t been “found” in over a year. (Not a happy adventure!) So now I look for geocaches that have some activity on them, just to make sure that our journey to find will be worth it!
Filter the geocaches to search for BIG containers that have LOW difficulty and even LOW Terrain in the beginning. You want the Regular or Large sized geocaches that have SWAG in them. There is not going to be as much excitement from your kids if you find a micro-cache with just a log … they LOVE the big ammo cans that have a bunch of neat swag in it. You can find out more about ratings here for difficulty and terrain.
Take a backpack with a small first aid kit, maybe a washcloth in a ziplock bag, SNACKS and water. There were so many “spontaneous” geocaching adventures that I had wished I had the backpack with me for minor cuts and scrapes and just a wet wipe or washcloth with water. Walking into spider webs, getting scraped by branches, bee stings, it all happens on those geocaches that are deep in the woods. It’s just good to be prepared!
Don’t forget to bring something to trade – you always want to leave something to take something! We always carry a bag of swag in our backpack (and in the car) for geocaching adventures and leave extra in geocaches that need a little bit more swag.
Let the kids find the cache! I let my guys take turns using my phone to navigate to the cache. As a homeschooler, I find this a good exercise for them to understand mapping, distance, direction … it really does give them some ideas of how far 50 feet is from where they are after you have found a few geocaches. When we get to the geocaching area, even if I see it first I always give them the joy of finding the geocache. Relax and let them find their “treasure!”
If you have one in your life, let a veteran geocacher take you geocaching to introduce you to the game. I wish we had someone who knew what they were doing to take us on our first geocache. We had a few DNFs (Did Not Finds) before we finally got the hang of it because the difficulty of the cache was just a bit more than we were ready to take on …
You can learn more about geocaching here at Geocaching.com and start your adventure!! Also if you catch the geocaching bug after your first find (which I’m sure you will), check out Cache Advance and their awesome monthly subscription box, the Cache Crate! This will help you enjoy the game even more!