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The Ultimate Family Activity: Geocaching!

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Are you forever on the lookout for something your whole family can enjoy without spending a fortune?  Look no further, because I have the answer for you right here in this blog post.  Are you ready for it?  Here it is…GEOCACHING

 Geo-WHAT?

Geocaching (jee-oh-kash-ing) is a global treasure hunt.  No kidding, although I’m taking some liberty with the word “treasure.” All over the world, including your very own neighborhood most likely, are hidden containers (“caches”) ranging in size from a large snowflake to a 2-3 qt jug.  All you have to do to find them is download this $10 app  or purchase a handheld GPS device.  If you would like a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of the options, this website has some great advice.  Full disclosure, our family uses and loves the app.

 HOW do you find them?

Each cache was hidden by a person who thought it would be fun to do so.  That person entered the GPS coordinates for the location they chose into this website.  Once the cache is registered, anyone with a GPS device has the capability to find it.  You can search for caches near you, specify the range of difficulty you want to tackle, choose one you think looks fun/doable and use your device to get you as close as possible.  Once you are within a few feet of it, roll up your sleeves and search!

What do I do when I find one?

If you find a tiny cache (a “micro”) you either pat yourself on the back or jump around cheering like a maniac, depending on how long you’ve been searching.  There is usually a very small piece of paper inside (the “log”) on which you can write your name.  Then you put it back and either search for another or go out for a celebratory ice cream.

 If you find a larger container you do all of the above but also open it up, check out the collection of trinkets inside and trade something for a trinket from the collection you will have brought along.

How does it get the whole family involved?

When we go searching, my husband drives and I navigate until we are close enough to walk.  We hand the phone to our 6 year old who takes over as navigator.  When we get within a few feet we all, including our 3 year old, search until we find it. The kids trade trinkets and then beg us to look for another…and another…and another.

I can’t tell you how many new parks, open space trails and beautiful views we’ve discovered since adopting this hobby.  One of the best parts is, aside from purchasing the app, we spend ZERO dollars on this activity.

At the end of a long day of geocaching, we collapse together on the couch or treat ourselves to a milkshake, rehashing the highlights…and I can’t help but think there’s no better way to get to know one another.

Sarah Stith lives in Boulder with her husband and 2 children (3 and 6).  Before moving to Colorado, the family lived in Brooklyn, NY where Sarah worked as a dresser at The Lion King on Broadway.  She now works as Assistant to the Producer with BASHO & FRIENDS on an educational web series focused on teaching kids Spanish through music.  She is also the founder of Raising Little Heroes, a group devoted to finding volunteer opportunities for families with young children.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson September 23, 2014

    I’ve always wanted to try this. We were a failure on our one-and-only letterboxing attempt but maybe we’d have better luck with geocaching?

  • comment avatar Mary September 23, 2014

    Oh, this is so fun. Do you have any favorite caches you’d recommend for a first timer?

  • comment avatar Sarah Stith September 24, 2014

    Amber and Mary, I would suggest just downloading the app if you are able to and giving it a go. It’s hard to suggest a specific cache because there are just so many all over the place. If you buy the app you can set it to search for the largest size and the easiest difficulty and just follow the map! Good luck!

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