Geocaching: What It Is and Why Your Family Will Love It

Looking for a family activity that won’t break the bank? Geocaching may be the answer. Geocaching is best described as a large scale scavenger hunt aided by modern technology. People all over the world are on the hunt every day. Here is how you can join in the fun.

Tools needed

  • GPS (global positioning system)

  • small notebook and pencil

  • trinkets for trading (small key-chains work well, lapel pins, neat coins, cool rocks or gems)

  • Water, snacks, bug spray and sunscreen

What is geocaching
Geocaching is a global treasure hunt with a hand-held GPS (global positioning system) taking the place of the treasure map. The goal is to find hidden boxes, called geocaches or caches, using coordinates and clues given online by the person who hid the cache. After the cache is located, the hunter goes online to share the experience of the hunt with other geocachers.

Getting started
Before heading out for the search, you have to get the coordinates for caches hidden in your area. To get the coordinates, you will need to enroll for membership on the geocaching website . The membership is free and gives you access to the coordinates of caches worldwide. After establishing membership, you will need to do a little research to select your first target cache. Make note of any clues or tips left by other cachers and load coordinates into your GPS. With your coordinates loaded and your water and snacks packed, you are ready for the hunt!

Your First Find
Typical caches are small, weatherproof boxes. Inside the box, you will find a log (notebook and pen), and a couple of small, inexpensive trinkets. After you sign the log as someone who found the cache, you take a trinket out and replace it with a trinket of similar value and interest. Once you return home, go back to the geocaching website to document your find and your experience.

While geocaching is a great activity for adventurous adults, there are many reasons to bring the children along. School-aged children love the thrill of the hunt and the small toys found hidden around town. In fact, geocaching is actually learning disguised as fun. While children are lost in the thrill of the hunt and the discovery of small toys hidden around town, they are also learning about math (distance, height and measurement), geography (names of area attractions, navigation and direction), history (clues and historical markers are often used in geocaching).