For the little Jakes and Fancy Nancy Clancys who are tired of the same old paddling pools and pebble painting, here is treasure-hunt in a modern avatar. Fun, free and family-friendly, geocaching is perfect for getting the kids outdoors and adding some frills and flounces to their summer holiday adventures.
What Is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure-hunting game where participants use a GPS to locate the coordinates of hidden geocaches. Containers filled with knick-knacks (geocaches) take the place of treasure chests and a GPS device (or the GPS on your phone) will replace the maps and compass on this treasure hunt.
All you need to do is set up a free geocaching account on geocaching.com, enter your postcode to find the geocaches hidden near you and set out to find the geocache of your choice using the GPS coordinates provided on the website. You will be surprised at how many geocaches are hidden away in your area right now!
How Do You Identify a Geocache?
A geocache is typically a waterproof container with a log book or log-sheet and little trinkets put in by the geocache owner and other geocachers who find the cache. The cache container can be anything from a small film canister to larger, more elaborate fake rocks or boxes with secret compartments.
There are millions of geocaches hidden worldwide by fellow geocachers. They could be hidden away just about anywhere from your neighbourhood park or fields to a busy corner in the town centre.
The difficulty level of the terrain can range from low to difficult and will be displayed as a five-star rating alongside the coordinates of the cache. However, when you are venturing out with the kids for the first time, it’s best to start with an easy cache.
Depending on the size of the geocache you are setting out to hunt (the size of the cache mentioned along with the coordinates on the geocaching website), you can also get the kids to pack a small item to place in the cache and add that to the log book. That is, however, entirely optional.
Rules and Etiquettes
-If you take something from the geocache, make sure you leave something of greater or equal value.
-Make sure you do not move the cache from its original location.
-Remember not to put in food items or heavily-scented items that animals are likely to fish out.
-Do not cross private property to reach a geocache.
-Write about your find in the geocache logbook and do the same online on the geocaching website.
Creating Your Own Geocache
You can also get the kids to create their own geocache and hide it close to your home for other geocachers to find. But remember to follow the geocaching guidelines as you don’t want to leave suspicious-looking packages that can create alarm. Though you can always create your own geocache before you set out to find one, it’s always recommended to start by finding a cache to get a feel of the game.
Now, if that sounds like your kind of sport, get the little pirates to take out their rucksacks and hats, and head out for your first geocaching adventure. And remember to have lots of fun!