As a free, family-friendly, fun option, geocaching is the perfect activity for getting outside and enjoying the weather. If you're tired of the same activities for the little ones that just don't hold interest anymore, consider incorporating a modern version of a treasure hunt in the form of geocaching. To learn more about this and how to introduce geocaching in schools and out of school clubs, here's everything you need to know:
What is Geocaching?
The concept of geocaching incorporates modern technology with plenty of time to enjoy the fresh air. As a hybrid treasure hunt, your kids will engage in the natural world, finding hidden "caches" in your neighbourhood. A cache is a container that is located within various surroundings. Inside the container is a logbook to sign and other trinkets to trade or swap. Players will use a smartphone for hunting for the items, with many GPS units holding a geocache functionality.
If you're looking to start geocaching, download an app on the phone. Common platforms like Geocaching.com connect users to geocaches worldwide, bringing several decent locations virtually anywhere. Some caches are easy to spot, but others may require a long hike; always look at the terrain ratings and difficulty on the website before you leave. One-star ratings are often appropriate for geocaching in schools and out of school clubs.
What benefits can children derive from geocaching activity?
The benefits of geocaching are expansive, bringing many unique activities and ideas into a child's environment. As an initial benefit, getting outdoors and enjoying nature is the primary advantage of geocaching. Learning about different habitats, settings, and plants are all beneficial skills. These include tree identification, insects, animals, and flowers are all critical skills for young and old. Likewise, children will learn about GPS and map reading skills as they interact with the geocaching app. Consider teaching youngsters about GPS, coordinates, satellites, and more.
Geocaching requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills for all age groups, particularly with younger generations learning essential skills. Integrating map reading, GPS, and observational skills, users of all ages will find geocaching to be the perfect combination of logic and physical activity.
10 Tips for Geocaching
Once you've downloaded the application and started the search, you'll need to find the cache. The app will locate the container within 30 feet of the cache, but the rest is up to you. Here are ten tips to help you find the cache to help you start locating the first geocache.
1. Always Use Your Senses
The GPS or smartphone will only get you within 30 feet of the location. When getting close to the cache, use your hands, eyes, and geo-senses to locate the container.
2. Look for Something Out of Place
Try to find something that seems out of place within the environment. A cache container comes in all sizes, colours, and shapes. You'll want to look under park benches, inside driftwood on the beach, or sit in a tree branch. If you're positive something isn't going to have the cache, it's precisely where it will be.
3. Remember the Disguise
Consider thinking outside the box when you're looking for a cache. Many geocaches are disguised as an element of nature. These disguises might include birdhouses, bricks, or rocks within an area.
4. Bring Your Detective Skills
Try to evaluate an area objectively, considering different angles and approaches.
5. A geocache should never be buried
While the geocache might be in several unique locations, you'll never find them in the ground or sand. They may be under leaves or rocks but won't require a shovel to find them.
6. Scout Through Everywhere
Make sure to check everywhere when looking for your cache. A container might be under a park bench or tucked high in a tree.
7. Respect All Surroundings
Make sure you leave all locations in the same (or better condition) than when you found them. Never walk in flower gardens or damage wildlife trying to access the cache.
8. Carefully Review the Hint
Several cache pages will include valuable hints or tricks to determine where to look.
9. Review the Latest Activity
Look through the latest updates and logs from other geocachers. They may contain valuable information that can make your search a bit easier.
10. Always Remain Calm and Patient
Getting into geocaching and knowing what to look for takes time. Make sure you're ready to go and enjoy yourself.
How to get started: seeking a cache or how to prepare?
How to Seek a Cache
If you've found a potential cache, you'll want to use an app while trying to find them. Always check the app's map page for nearby caches. Select the location you'd like to use, which will bring up details and hints to help you on your quest. A few apps may require trial and error to become proficient, so spend some time learning the program before bringing it into the classroom.
A map view will show you how close you are to the container but won't necessarily offer you the best route to take to get there. Users decide the best method for reaching the location, including the terrain details on a map and assess the surrounding environment. Make sure to look up from the screen as you search, which will help you keep an eye out for nearby hazards. As closer to the location, switch the application to a compass view. The compass view will point you in the direction to look, especially when you're near the cache.
Once the children find the location, everyone needs to use their sleuthing skills. Be mindful of the container size and watch for anything unusual or unnatural. After you've found the cache, it's time to check it out.
Look through the cache and spend a few minutes updating the log. If there are any items, feel free to take one and leave something different. Make sure you carefully reseal the cache and hide it exactly as you found it. Don't try to find a better spot or leave markers that will give it away. Some people don't enjoy trading, which is perfectly acceptable too.
How to Prepare a Cache for Others
Some kids genuinely enjoy creating and hiding a geocache. Most recommend starting a cache after finding several of your own (often 100 different containers). This experience will highlight what makes a good cache, including container trinkets and hiding locations. Always consider where you're going to put the cache, avoid high-traffic areas and what it will take to find the container. You don't want to make the location too simple to locate, but a tricky site might require plenty of hints.
Any geocache will require permission to hide on private land. Some public parks will also need a permit before placing the cache. Make sure that all cache containers are placed with permission and consent. Finally, consider the impact your cache will have on others. If the location becomes troublesome, make people could become annoyed or frustrated.
Geocaching in the UK and other countries
With Wales geocaching remaining one of the most popular holiday destinations, there are many locations to participate in geocaching. One decent geocaching location is the Utopian Vista, a small, camouflaged clip lock box against the rocks at the top of Carn Ingli. The area is legally protected, making it imperative not to disturb the stones.
Whether the various lochs and glens or visiting the highlands, Scotland geocaching has plenty to offer geocachers. As the Cairngorms National Park is popular among cyclists, skiers, and walkers, it's the ideal location for cache containers.
Geocaching in England offers picturesque views with plenty of rural villages and parks to explore. These locations include popular hikes, stunning views, and incredible marsh scenery.
Global Geocaching Communities:
This platform holds international geocaching records wherever you're looking. Available as a free application for both Android and iOS, anyone with a smartphone can get started effortlessly. Simply create an account and find a geocache nearby. Once you've finished your treasure hunt, record your experiences online for local communities.
Organized by state and specific geographic location, this platform is perfect for residents within the United States wanting something different. Many geocache locations hold an age (how long the cache has been running) along with the total number of finds. It also incorporates a point system for users wanting a slightly competitive feel for the geocaching industry.
Using GPS, kids will enjoy searching for a cache hidden in a natural environment. Whether it's a small container hidden in a tree trunk or a large container hiding trinkets, there's always something new to discover for kids young and old. Getting off the beaten path is a fantastic way to encourage physical activity while promoting crucial life skills.
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