Geocaching makes it possible to pull your kids away from the television and get them on nature walks. Don't believe me? Welcome to the fantastic world of geocaching. This high tech treasure hunt is catching the world by storm, and here's why you want to get on board.

What Is Geocaching?

Geocaching is basically a global treasure hunt that uses your GPS to guide you to the treasure. People all over the world have hidden trinkets and objects at various locations, which you and your child can go out and find. When you find the treasure, you replace the object with one of your own, and the game continues for the next person. A cache can be on a trail in a national forest, or in the playground across town.

Why Geocache With Kids?

  • Once you have a hand held GPS mapper, it is absolutely free. This makes it a recession-proof adventure that never has to end. You can go geocaching on your next vacation, or while you're visiting grandma's for the family reunion, or on your family summer camping trip. If your child finds this is something that interests him, he will always have a place to find hidden treasure.
     
  • Geocaching introduces your children to the outdoors right in your own backyard.
     
  • Geocaching is an excellent homeschooling tool. You can teach basic map reading skills to younger students, and get more involved with older students. Teach them about latitude, longitude, and geography. While placing items out for others to find, do research on local history. Have your child pick an object that represents what he learned about the area.
     
  • Geocaching teaches your children the value of the journey as well as the destination. With this technological treasure hunt, you are taking your child away from video games, and giving them an opportunity to be a real life Indiana Jones, or pirate treasure hunter. The values of discovery and exploration are awakened in their minds, and a nature walk becomes a booty gathering.
     
  • Geocaching is like playing hide and seek, with a global community. Your child will begin to feel a sense of comradeship as he finds that others are interested in playing the same game, all around the world.

How to Get Started

  1. Go to geocaching.com.
     
  2. Register for free. Read the helpful tips on how to find your first geocache.
     
  3. Get a hand held GPS device. This can be your smartphone, or one that you purchase. I found hand held GPS systems priced as low as $80, and up to $500. Personally, I'd rather use a smartphone since it has a function other than finding trinkets in the woods. There's also an app for geocahing (of course there is).

Remember Safety

  • Make sure your child knows that geocaching is a family activity and shouldn't be practiced alone. It's always safer to stick together.
     
  • If going out on a hike in a wooded area, pay attention to your surroundings. Even though you have GPS you can get turned around.
     
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you keep your head on the GPS, you may inadvertently fall into a hole, or trip or run into a tree, or...you get the idea. Just pay attention.
     
  • Pack extra batteries for the GPS, water, food, and clothing.
     
  • Always let someone else know where you're going and when they should expect you back (or receive a call from you).

Geocaching is taking the world by storm, for a reason: it's fun. Introduce your kids to the adventure and watch them lose interest in television. It can create a desire to explore the world all around them.

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