You know the drill. Your kids complained about going on that beach vacation or to an amusement park, but then complain about being bored after the first day. That’s when it’s time to up your game and take them on an adventure with the help of their devices. Geocaching is an adventure where screentime is allowed.
If you’re new to the idea of geocaching, think of it as an epic scavenger hunt where your kids stumble across a cache of goodies hidden away for treasure seekers. You can find caches in just about any area with hidden trinkets, keepsakes or sometimes just virtual treasures. Pokemon Go uses the principles of geocaching for kids to “catch” Pokemon with the help of their devices. However, Pokemon Go was criticized for leading players into potentially dangerous situations like sending your kids into the street or a building to catch coveted Pokemon. Rest assured geocaching spots are typically found along trails, parks and other open spaces where your family is welcome to roam in safe conditions.
Getting Started Geocaching
Here’s how it works. Either grab a handheld GPS device or your smartphone and head over to Geoaching.com to find “the world’s largest treasure hunt.” Once you create an account and find a geocache, your kids can start looking for a small box resembling Tupperware filled with treasures. Your kids will also probably find a log book in the box to sign recording they found the cache and can grab a small toy, pencil, sticker or keepsake as their treasure before moving onto the next stop on the geocache.
It’s easy to get caught up in geocaching fever, and you want to make sure you come prepared. Bring a backpack with plenty of water, a snack and some treasures of your own to leave behind in the cache. Gather up those stray dinosaurs no one plays with anymore or ask your kids to make some artwork to trade for whatever they find in the cache. Your kids will love thinking about who found their treasures as they navigate the next stop on their adventure.
Turn it Into a Family Tradition
The good news is you’re unlikely to run out of caches to explore, making geocaching a fun family tradition for all your vacations. There are dozens of caches in the Orlando area alone if your kids need a break from the Magic Kingdom and its swells of intense crowds. There are also geocaches in New York City, Los Angeles and just about any other location you can imagine. And if you want to turn it all into a lesson, talk to your kids about how maps and compasses work and transform it into a learning adventure on the road.
The next time your kids say they’re bored on vacation, just fire up your smartphone and tell them it’s time to head out for a morning of geocaching. Just make sure to take lots of family selfies so they have bragging rights to show their friends where they found their coveted treasures.
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