Geocaching: Exploring the Outdoors for Family Bonding

Geocaching (pronounced- geocashing) is an outdoor treasure hunting game using your GPS device

Geocaching is a community-wide game that is gaining in popularity across the world. I was recently introduced to it through Twitter tweets by other outdoor adventurers. I looked up exactly how to play and found that it is really easier than it sounds. There are geocache searches made specifically for children and others that are easy enough for them. Many geocaches are hid in local parks. After finding our first cache, the children and I were hooked. I loved watching the excitement in their faces and experiencing us working together towards a common goal. They loved the challenge and the great trade items inside. It’s a great way to add interest to your  hikes while promoting family bonding.

As children get older, it is easy to just let the family grow apart. It takes time and work to keep a family close. I believe a family should be a place of love and security for children. I learn so much about my children as well as learn about myself as we spend time outdoors together. There is something relaxing about the fresh air, allergies or not, that can help change a person’s whole attitude. Stress seems to evaporate with the morning dew or afternoon sun. There is peace within us and peace with one another as we look outside of ourselves. It’s a time where simplicity and technology merge. I hope you will take time to explore the possibilities of what geocaching can mean for your family. Here are a few tips on how to get started using your iphone. You can also use a Garmin.

  • Go to www.geocaching.com and watch the introduction video.
  • Decide which geocaching app is best for you and download it.
  • Choose a geocache that is medium to large sized for your first hunt and a one star difficulty level. You want to make sure you find something the first try.
  • Wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the terrain and temperature. Caches are often hid in bushes, trees or tall grasses.
  • Look for other “treasures” along the way. My son is ecstatic to find simple bolts or wires. You may want to name plants and animals you see and take photos.
  • Bring items to trade like silly bands, coins. . .
  • Sign the log book- you may need to use your own pen.
  • Place the cache back where you found it.
  • Have a picnic and spend time talking as a family. It may be a great afterschool activity for your kids before they get started with homework or something fun to do when homework is finished.
  • Hide your own cache in your neighborhood.

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4 Responses to Geocaching: Exploring the Outdoors for Family Bonding

  1. Jen August 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    We started doing this at the beginning of the summer for the first time too and have been a few times since. My kids had a blast and love the whole treasure hunt aspect of it. After we did it a few times and the kids loved it, we took them to a party store to pick out their own trinkets to leave behind. The only thing I had a hard time with was trying to decide from geocaching.com which ones were really young child friendly (not super far from the parking, difficult to spot, etc.).

  2. Debi August 27, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    We went geocaching earlier this summer & unfortunately did not have any success finding the three treasures we were hunting for. But my 5 yo. loved it & keeps begging to try again. Go figure!

  3. Lindy Brown August 28, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    There have been a few geocaches that we couldn’t find, but they could have “muggled”/stolen. Now, we look to see the date of when the last time a particular one was found before we go out looking. I haven’t found any in our area that are actually labeled for kids, but we are going to start putting some out at the parks. Hope your next one is a success, Debi! Glad to hear you all have been out!

  4. Beverly Hill June 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    I really enjoy geocaching. In particular, I like the ones that you have to hike through the woods to get to. They’re usually bigger and have better swag in them than the ones you find in the city. I dislike hunting micros for two reasons, 1) They don’t contain any swag/travel bugs and 2) Most of the times they’re hidden in a place where a large one could’ve been hidden just as easily. I guess I’m just all about the swag… 😉