Ask your kids if they would like to go for a hike. The probable answer you would get is a protest as they go back to their TV/phone screens. Alternatively, suggest that you all go for a high-tech treasure hunt such as Geocache. Soon you’ll get questions from everyone – as they show interest in what you might say next. This GPS game is a family-friendly game to introduce your kids to the wonders of nature. It can engage your kids and family to the natural world.
So, what is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a combination of cool technology with the drive to find a hidden box of unknown prizes. Since these prizes are a mystery, kids and adults find this fun activity irresistible.
To locate these hidden containers (caches), you’ll use a handheld GPS device or a GPS enabled smartphone. Currently, there are more than three million registered caches in over 190 countries. You’ll be surprised by the number of caches in your local area.
The game has an advanced version that consists of trackable traveling items and multistep puzzles. For instance, the game involves objects such as travel bugs and geocoins. Since this advanced stage has lots of challenges, kids and family stay interested in the upcoming outings.
How to start Geocaching
Getting started in Geocaching is easy. All you require is a smartphone with GPS abilities. Alternatively, you can use a mapping GPS receiver – handheld one is ideal. Once you get a GPS device such as Garmin e Trex 10 (USD 84.98), you can enjoy geocaching for free.
Playing is not the only fun part as learning how to use the GPS receiver also interesting – kids love this learning part. Next is to visit geocaching.com and register for a free account.
After registration, your kids and family can start to search for caches. Here you can use different parameters inclusive of keywords and postal codes.
On to the descriptions and cache, you’ll find helpful information. For instance, you’ll learn the real coordinate for the location, cache’s description and its type. Most of the caches are containers (waterproof) filled with stuff.
On the same note, you’ll find terrain and difficulty ratings (from one to five, one is the easiest and five the most difficult). Similarly, you’ll find comments, tips, and clues from people who have found the same cache in the past.
Here is a video to help you out with Geocaching:
This is a quick tutorial teaching the basics of caching: from using the phone app to geocaching site, muggles, and geosense.
Naturally, children are explorers, especially when online. So, give them a chance to participate in this procedure. For young kids, you can begin with caches that have the least difficulty and low terrain ratings. As you gain experience, you can proceed to the highly advanced ratings.
But why would people be so interested in finding these caches?
Well, apart from the benefits we’ll discuss later, caches have small toys and gifts. Kids find these items really interesting – after all, they are free.
However, you must replace that item with something else. If you find cache etiquette, for instance, you should put something inside it once you take one. Therefore, you should carry a few tiny items to place inside the caches you find. Further, some caches contain logbooks. When you find one, your kids and family can leave a signature and comment on it.
Benefits of Geocaching for kids and family
There are numerous positives of Geocaching – both for the kids and entire family as well. Overall, it’s beneficial to the wellbeing and health of every participant. Perhaps you will never come across a better way to spend time outdoors than this one. Let’s explore each benefit.
- Physical benefits
As you do your best to find the caches, you’ll be negotiating over challenging and wonderful landscapes. Here you’ll rack up several exercise hours even if the caches don’t need lots of walking. Take note that even short distances take time to walk.
Are you on holiday and would like to explore your surroundings? If so, why don’t you try out Geocaching? It’s a great idea to make the most of your local area. You’ll explore places that you would not have done if you stayed indoors. Hiding the caches involves placing them in locations with historical background. So, the kids and family will get an overview of the paper hidden in the cache.
Going outdoors is a great way for kids to explore, learn and develop. As you search for your cache, you’ll notice that there’s a lot to discover. From local plant to animal life, all the way to hidden places and hills, your children will see activities to do.
Adults will also learn through Geocaching. You’ll discover new landscapes, plants, and areas, which leads us to….
4. Character building
Geocaching builds lots of personality traits such as leadership and teamwork skills. Perseverance is one of the skills that Geocaching requires. Remember you might spend the entire afternoon or longer to find caches. So, without perseverance, you might not finish the task.
Environments have similar appearances and you might think you’re walking in the same area – in reality – it’s a new place. Best to believe that you’re in a new area and you’ll find your cache.
If of late you have spent hours indoors, you would appreciate how nice it is to explore the environment through activities such as Geocaching. Since you’ll feel thirsty and hungry, it’s good to carry food and drinks. Of course, you can’t leave all the trash lying around!
Instead leave the area the way you found it – or even better. For instance, collect all the trash and put it in a plastic bag. You can then dispose of it in a way that doesn’t ruin the environment.
Surprisingly, kids love such activities as they feel good afterward.
The bottom line
Since its inauguration in 2000, Geocaching has proven its worth over time. Geocaching.com shows that there are over 3 million geocaches to be found in more than 190 countries across the globe.
Many participants are surprised when they discover concealed caches down their streets. They don’t believe these are places they have walked more than a hundred times and never discovered these caches.
Certainly, Geocaching will leave your kids and family in amazement as you take in the beauty of the environments. If you haven’t got into Geocaching, it’s not too late yet.