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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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