Ask your children if they want to go outdoors for a hike, and you’ll likely hear groans of protest as they turn back to their screens. Invite them on a high-tech treasure hunt for a geocache, and they’ll start peppering you with questions as they put on their shoes and head for the door.
- Phone or GPS capable device
- Geocaching® app and account, free and available on IOS and Android (see credits below for link)
Geocaching combines cool technology with the thrill of finding a hidden box of mystery prizes – no wonder kids (and adults) find it irresistible. It involves finding hidden containers or objects by using a handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) device. There are more than 5000 registered geocaches hidden in Ottawa. Geocaching with kids can range from a simple outing that includes an easy-to-find cache to multi step lessons in GPS technology, geography, and map reading. Many caches are educational in nature—don’t tell the kids—and are closely linked to regional history or geological features. Some caches are hidden by children for other children, making these finds especially appealing. Geocaching is an excellent scouting activity because it includes orienteering and other outdoor skills.
- After you register, you and your participants can seek caches by many different parameters, including postal code and keyword.
- Choose one to find, input the coordinates into your GPS, and get going!
- Cache descriptions include a significant amount of information, including exact coordinates of the location, description of the cache, and type of cache (most consist of a waterproof container filled with items).
- You’ll also find difficulty and terrain ratings (one through five, with one being easiest, and five being most difficult), clues, tips, and comments from others who have found the cache.
- Caches often contain small gifts and toys that are of interest to children, however cache etiquette requires that you place something in the cache if you remove something, so plan to bring along some small items to put in the cache, at least one for each child. Caches also often contain logbooks, so the kids can sign in and leave comments.
- Once you’ve arrived at the coordinates, allow your group to search for the cache on their own.
- Go geocaching as long as you like!
- elect caches with easy difficulty and low terrain ratings for younger children. Move up to more advanced ratings as you and the children gain experience.
- Advanced versions of the game include multistep puzzles and trackable traveling objects such as geocoins and travel bugs, so there are plenty of new challenges to keep kids interested in future outings.
- You could even set out looking for caches of a particular theme!
- There is also the option for you to hide your own caches for others to find, though it is suggested that find 20 caches first. Maybe after your group has found several caches, guide them on how to hide them.
- Bring along a camera to record the outing and advise participants to bring along and notebook.
- Aim for a 2:1 ratio for optimal supervision. It is mandatory that this activity outing is planned well in advanced in order to obtain the most about of parent or adult volunteers possible.
- Review safety rules of travelling in a group, staying within visible distance, and exploring space outside of program. Be cautious of outdoor dangers like fast moving cars and other people.
- Be careful about touching unsafe objects. Have your group check with a supervising adult to ensure they have found the correct cache be touching it.
- Make sure to bring water, walking shoes, snacks, or anything else needed for either a short hike outdoors or a day-long outing.
Engage in a “wrap-up” process through the geocaching experience rather than at the end. Because many caches aim to educate the geocachers, use every opportunity your get to discuss the history, geography, or science behind the cache you’ve located.
Adapted from: https://www.lifewire.com/geocaching-with-kids-1683671
App download from: https://www.geocaching.com/play