Why Geocaching with Kids is So Awesome

by Laura Pink

One of my favorite family activities is geocaching. When I talk about geocaching around other people, I often get the question, “What’s geocaching?” I figured if I get asked that a lot from people I know, my readers probably have questions about it too.

Geocaching Basics

According to Geocaching.com, geocaching (“JEE-oh-cash-ing”) is defined as a “worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure.” My husband describes geocaching as “GPS-based treasure hunting”. Those who participate in geocaching are called geocachers—or cachers—and they compete against hundreds (even thousands) of others in seeking a geocache—or simply a cache—which is a hidden container. The container may hold a variety of items, but usually contains a logbook, which geocachers sign once they’ve located the cache.

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To find caches, you’ll typically need a basic GPS unit. There are also smart phone apps that have an actual GPS, or will allow you to input coordinates to find geocaches. My husband and his friends actually mostly use their smartphones when they geocache. Geocaching can also be done with aerial satellite maps and a compass, but it’s much harder and not as accurate.

You can find geocaches in your community, or wherever you want to geocache. Also, there are forums that allow you to connect with other geocachers if you have questions. Sometimes members will organize events where you can meet face-to-face with other cachers. My husband has been all over the state geocaching. My favorite thing about it is that we have been to places that we may not have seen if we hadn’t gone there geocaching.

Good for Families and Kids of All Ages

One benefit of geocaching is that it’s doable for all ages, and it’s also something the whole family can do together. Geocaches are marked with levels of difficulty, with 1 being the easiest and 5 being the most difficult. Younger children have a great time looking for geocaches that are a level 1 or 2. Older children can find the geocaches with a higher level of difficulty, which may require some climbing or hiking on more challenging trails. A couple of weeks ago, we climbed a hill that made me feel like my heart was going to burst out of my chest all in the name of geocaching.

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A Sport for All Seasons

Geocaching can be done year-round, and geocache owners will advise whether or not their cache is “winter-friendly.” In winter, some caches will require waiting until swamps or creeks are frozen in order to get to the cache; in other cases, you may have to use snowshoes to tromp through deep snow. Some geocaches might be buried under snow and therefore more difficult to find, but that can also make it more challenging and fun.

If you are looking for some family fun this spring, definitely check out geocaching. It’s great exercise and great family time.

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Laura is a working mom of two who loves to write. She lives in Northeast Wisconsin with her husband and two daughters. She loves to read and go camping with her family. When she grows up she wants to be Tina Fey or Amy Poehler. You can learn more about her on her personal blog, notjust9to5.com.

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