Geocaching was one of those things I had heard about when my oldest was a wee baby, but didn’t try doing until this year. My oldest is 6 now and my youngest is 3, so it seemed like a good time to try it, and man, do they love it! It’s like real life treasure hunting, and what kid doesn’t love that?
A geocache is a hidden container that holds unknown ingredients. You navigate to the geocache by using a GPS (in our case, our iPhones) and the geocache database (we use the geocaching app that is available for smartphones). You look on the app’s map for a geocache available in the area you are in and then use the specific set of GPS coordinates to find the cache.
Sometimes it’s pretty easy to find, other times it can take quite a while! The phone’s coordinates aren’t always super accurate so it might have you off by a few feet. While in a wide open field that might not matter, in a dense wooded area or an area with a lot of rocks it can make it hard! But that’s half the fun. The kids don’t always find the containers, a lot of times either my husband or I do, but the kids don’t care. They just want to see what is inside!!
The geocaches themselves aren’t exactly gold and jewels, more like dollar store trinkets. But the idea is to find the geocache and sign the log to say you have (bring a pen!). You can usually exchange something you bring for something in the container, so sometimes we bring little trinkets of our own. You never know what your kids will want – once there were old hotel keys in the cache and my kids went bonkers over them and STILL have the keys in their rooms. So who knows. One man’s trash is a 3 year old kid’s valued treasure, right?
We also typically don’t set out to “go geocaching” – it’s more like we decide to go on a hike/snowshoe/walk and then check to see if there are geocaches nearby. It makes doing these activities more appealing to the kids since sometimes they aren’t super keen on going for a hike. But sometimes we do just go out with the intent of geocaching because we want something fun. It’s definitely a great activity to do on a nice day if you have time, for both kids AND adults. If you look on the app you can usually pretty easily find several nearby. There were even at least 10 in my office’s business park last time I checked (so a fun lunch break activity?).