There are so many amazing parks and natural areas right around us! I am trying to utilize these resources more for my family. One of the ways I am challenging us to explore more places is through the use of geocaching. Geocaching is a fun (free) activity to do with your family. There is an app that you can get for your phone, but it is also available as a website. The app uses GPS tracking to help you find caches (think: Treasure Boxes!) of various sizes and difficulty. There are over a million hid all over the world!
I love the Geocaching site, because it has so much information that is useful for families. For instance, if I am taking my one year old son in a stroller, I need to know if the cache is off of a paved walkway. Reading the many reviews available written by other participants can come in extremely handy for this. If I am by myself with all of my kids, I want something REALLY EASY. I am also a sore loser, so I get frustrated if I pick something too challenging and I can’t find it. For folks who have more leisure time (or more patience) you can choose something more on the challenging end of the scale. That’s the beauty of it, though. Families can pick what best suits their individual needs.
Some of the boxes are larger (like ammo cases) and some are tiny microcaches. (We found one rolled up inside of a bolt one time!) Each cache contains a paper log to write your name and the date of your find. With the larger containers, geocachers are encouraged to leave a small trinket inside and take one of equal or lesser value with them as a token of the find. This is my kids’ favorite part. I really do try to think of interesting things to leave in caches. It’s disappointing to open one and find only crayons, a ketchup packet, and a tube of sunscreen.
There are also Earthcaches. With these challenges, there isn’t actually a box to find. It’s more of a treasure hunt for information. You answer questions as you go along while learning about a place then send the answers to the creator of the cache in order to get credit for the find. I like this kind, too, but my kids prefer the hunt for the treasure!