If you haven’t geocached, you need to take your kids out and start doing this FUN activity. It is a high tech treasure hunting where the treasure is finding a piece of paper and signing your name in most cases. The best part is there is now an AP for your smart phone to look up geocaches while being out and about. Go online to www.geocaching.com and create an account. The real fun is following your GPS (or smart phone), reading clues on each cache and problem-solving to find the hidden container. We work together as a family and that makes it more fun. Today, in order to reach one, Elwyn had to sit on Griffen’s shoulders just to reach it.
Here’s the breakdown of what geocaching is and how to start it.
- You have a GPS.
- Log into www.geocaching.com and get the coordinates of a location near you – make sure that you read the description too, there may be clues in it.
- Enter the coordinates into your GPS.
- Take you and your kids out to the coordinates
- Find the hidden treasure (and when I say treasure, I mean a container)
- Sign the log in the contain with your geocache name, exchange goodies (AKA swag – we carry a bag of army men in the car with us.)
- Return the “cache” to the same place that you found it for the next person.
My kids have such a BLAST going geocaching. We invested in a $100 GPS that is specifically for caching and during the summer, we go once a week out to find a cache or two. If we are going to be gone for more than 3, we pack a picnic lunch. Geocaching allows us to work together as a family, using clues to find a “treasure:. We get outside, away from TVs, computers and cell phones to hike and exercise our minds and our bodies.
We use it as part of our homeschooling.
There are also treasures that are in the container that range from something the size of the end of your fingernail (MICRO) to ammo cans and 5 gallon buckets. There could also be geocoins and trackers. If you are lucky enough to find one of those, AWESOME! Write down the number, log it in and pass it on. Then, you can track it on it’s journey.
This year, because all of the kiddoes had different events that they are attending over the summer, we decided that Lar needed to take his vacation time at HOME! Not too mention, we have been spending most of our extra monies on landscaping and gardening items for the new house. We still have a long way to go with the landscaping, but a little here and a little there never hurt anyone!
As you have seen from some of our previous posts, we are cachers… geocachers to be exact. In this year long journey, our goal was to hit 100 caches in one year. We didn’t quite hit our goal(April 21 was our 1-year anniversary), but are still working hard towards that 100 mark. After this morning, we hit the 93 mark… ALMOST THERE!!!
We decided to hike around Willow Lake in Prescott this morning… and then took the kiddoes to Jack in the Box for a much needed lunch for the hungry troops and then headed home. We ended up “caching-in” on 5 caches around the lake and one in the Granite Dells of Prescott. There were so many cool sights around Willow Lake – Ducks, snap dragons… there was even an old stone fireplace that was the ONLY thing left standing… I tried to research Willow Lake to see who occupied there. There was an interesting sign about Glassford Hill which can be seen in the distance.
Here is some info that I found online on Wikipedia: Colonel William A. Glassford traveled the area in the 1880s and helped build a system of 27 heliograph stations to monitor the movements of Apache Indians, U.S. military troops and civilians. Glassford Hill was a part of that early communications system.
Tomorrow it’s just me and the little 3. Lar and Grif are heading out to the cub scout day camp and Shelby Lynn is still gone in Tucson until Saturday.
I have a new “summer-time” digital design that I am finishing up. and we (and the pups) will be heading out tomorrow… maybe a picnic…maybe a kids movie… don’t know for certain yet. I am THRILLED to be on a mini-vacation at home.
Lar has been off of work on vacation, or should I say “staycation” this week. we decided to load up the kids and the doggies and head out to find a few new geocaches in our area. Shelby left last night for her Rainbow Girl Grand Assembly in Tucson, so I am short ‘handed” the big sister.
The adventure began, stopping at Circle K for a few sodas… their water was out, so the adventure REbegan heading to Maverik for a few sodas and a snack for Berlyn. We headed north to a few caches north of Paulden.
Off to Jake’s Claw TB Hotel to pick up a travel bug to move to a new location today.
Then, we headed off to Industry meets Nature. Beautiful views… cash was WAY too hard woth the 4 little ones and the 3 dogs…
We passed on the travel bug to Chuck Wagon. Berlyn managed to find this cache (It is always GREAT when the little ones accomplish something.
Across the highway, we headed down Old Highway 89 to Sullivan’s View – Sadly, Grif and I couldn’t find it.
All in all, it was a GREAT morning geocaching with the little ones. (aside from not finding 2 of the 6 that we went on).
|For more information on geocaching – a GPS style treasure hunting visit – http://eatstayplay.com/geocaching/.
You can also sign up for a free newsletter at http://www.findyourgeocache.com/
In this day and age of technology, it is hard to persuade kids to get outside. I know this for a fact! We have 5 kids in our family ages 11, 8, 6, 4 and 2 who love playing on their computers, wii and gameboys. (My husband is a Network Administrator and I am a digital graphic and web designer, so computers are our life.)
A year ago, in order to both get additional exercise for our homeschooled family and find a family activity that was not only fun, but also a way to get our kids ‘thinking outside the everyday box”, we discovered geocaching from our friend of many years, The Outdoor Princess. With a family of this size, it was hard at first to organize ourselves to get going with any activity. In the last year, to date, our family has placed 5 and found and logged 83 caches. Here are a few tips to get your family started in geocaching.
1. When searching for caches online, find ones that are not on main busy roads. It is much too hard to get your kids out of the car and search for the geocache safely.
2. The Caches are ranked on the website 1 to 5, 1 being the easiest. Only take the kids out on caches that are ranked 1 to 2. Success is the key. If they can’t find it, it will no longer be fun.
4. 3-5 caches is about the limit for 2 year olds. (Trust me on that!)
5. Always think ahead, carry hats, sun screen, extra batteries for the GPS, a camera or 2 and bottled water. We have a canvas bag that we load up with the essentials to take with us. Don’t forget a SNACK!!! Nothing is more trouble than a hungry 4 year old. If you are going to be gone for a long time, pack a picnic lunch.
6. Before you jump in to find a cache, make sure that your kids each get a turn at carrying the GPS (they will not break them and it makes the experience more fun for them.)
8. Kids are smarter than you think. They will follow clues, sometimes better than adults. My 8-year-old discovered that the names of the caches are sometimes clue – If something is called a honeybee, then it is probably hidden near something yellow and black.
9. You never know what you are going to come across. Keep that camera readily available.
10. To get started you do NOT need a $500 GPS. We picked one up for less than $60 and it has lasted us a full year and is still going strong.
11. When traveling on vacation, make use to check out the area that you are going to. On the way, there are bound to be a few that they kids will enjoy to find, also a chance to stretch your legs.
12. Take photos of every place that you go. I guarantee that your 6 year old will have an adventure story to go along with each place.
13. Don’t pick flowers! You never know what they are… and a 2 year old itching will end the day.
14. Bring some little knickknacks to exchange. A dollar store bag of army men go a long way.
15. Have FUN! This can be a GREAT family experience! It has been for our family.