A few tips for geocaching with kids

At last week’s family fun day, two of our volunteers taught my children how to geocache. We decided Spring Break was the perfect time to hit the trails and get a little lost in the woods. Thinking of doing some geocaching of your own, maybe with kids or grand kids? I’ve got a few suggestions that might make your trip go more smoothly.

  1. Download a geocaching app on your smartphone. We used Geoacaching which was very user-friendly; I opted to purchase a one month subscription. You can also get the coordinates from a geocaching website, like geocaching.com. The smart phone app was nice because it helped me lure the teens into going with us.
  2. Wear long pants and long socks. This seems like common sense but my 7 year old was more than happy to wear a pink fluffy skirt and her ladybug rain boots. After tromping off the trails and searching for our first two caches she understood why long pants were a better option.
  3. Let the kids do the leading and the finding – within reason. I insisted on being in the front whenever we ventured off the trails and everyone followed that rule. But once the app alerted us that we were close, I let the kids take over and start searching for the caches.
  4. Make sure you bring trinkets. Some caches have goodies inside and the kids can take something, like a really gorgeous marble, and leave one of their trinkets behind. Also bring a pen to sign your name on the list in the cache, and have the kids come up with a cool geocaching name for your group.
  5. Set a reasonable goal. I said we would try to find four caches, and after our third one (which was a bit difficult, but probably our best memory of the day) the kids were ready to go home. I reminded them of our goal and we trudged on, finding two more caches on our way back to the trail head.

6. Bring water and snacks. A stack of graham crackers can be a lifesaver after you spend twenty minutes off-trail and end up on a service road (that you could have taken the whole time).

7. Be ready to get lost. Not really lost, just enough that the children start to doubt that you actually know what you are doing. My favorite memory of our first geocaching trip was the kids complaining about how certain they were that we were lost. I may have accidentally taken us very far off course but the end was worth it. The cache was in the middle of a beautiful cypress dome and I’d like to think they were thankful (but see tip #6 about why you should bring snacks).

8. Have fun. We identified wildflowers along the way, spotted a lot of lubbers on one section of the trail and definitely learned what poison ivy looked like (and tried to avoid it). Even the complaining was fun mainly because it made me laugh.

So, how much fun did we have? The kids asked to go again. And no one got poison ivy.

 

Interested in learning how to geocache? Come to the Cypress Dome Trails on April 22 and learn how to geocache. For more information, visit eventbrite.com.

 

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