Geocaching teaches Orienteering, aka. finding your way around with coordinates. It’s a useful and practical skill for anyone. The problem with useful and practical skills is that teaching them to kids can feel a bit like school. Sit your kids down and say “today we are going to learn….” and you might be met with some seriously sad faces. Try this instead, “today we are going on a treasure hunt”… and suddenly, you have everyone’s attention.
Geocaching is basically a treasure hunt using a GPS and coordinates.
Here’s how it works. People have hidden “Caches”, boxes or containers, containing a logbook and possibly a few trinkets all over the world. You can log in to the official Geocache website (https://www.geocaching.com) , choose one a cache you want to find, enter the coordinates in your GPS… and then go look for it. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? When you find it, sign the log book to let others know you were there. If there are trinkets in the cache, you may take one, but only if you replace with a trinket you brought. Then feel free to go online to let people know you found it.
That’s the basics, now for some details.
Some of these cache’s are easy to find, others are hidden very well. They come in all sizes (from breadbox down to film canister or smaller. Searching for them often requires a keen eye. And you MUST put the cache back where you found it! (It’s only fair for the other players). The hunt can take you anywhere, from deep in a forest to a city park bench. Fortunately, the online listing will give you a level of difficulty, and will also let you know the approximate size of your quarry.
Another way to join in the fun is to create your own cache for others to find. Bury a box with a log book and a few trinkets, and then list it online for others to find.
The only equipment you need to get started in Geocaching is a GPS. (Oh, and a pen to sign the logbook).
Granted, there are apps. for the phone, but I prefer a hand held model that is separate from my phone. It feels more secure.
How does Geocaching teach a valuable skill?
I know there are many of you who have survival cache’s buried or hidden. You want to be sure that your family can find them again, even if you aren’t there to help. Trying to find the third tree to the left is not as accurate as giving GPS coordinates.
Use the summer months to teach your kids (or yourself) Orienteering, take up Geocaching!
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