Geocaching is a free, fun, and family-friendly activity. Using just your hand-held GPS unit (or any smart phone with a free downloadable app), the goal is to hunt for a hidden cache, and then put it back for the next hunter. Although this game has only been around for 10 years, people all over the world are catching the fever.
Treasure hunting conjures up visions of pirates and adventure for most children. Geocaching has changed this outlook and many adults around the world, are excited about the hunt. Geocaching has become the any man's game that is challenging for any age, as physical as you want, and free.
Basically, this fun activity is simple to learn and very easy to get hooked on. Here are the three steps to get started:
- Register online (its free). Don't forget to set up accounts for all the kids, too.
- Dig out the old GPS. Or, you can use the one in your car, if it's portable. You can also download the app to your smart phone (it's free, too).
- Do a search on your location and start hunting. Most caches are right out in the open but non geocachers (called muggles) have no clue they are there. And it's probably a good idea to be watchful that no one sees you collect the cache. If muggles find it, they usually end up trashing the container and all of its contents. Think of it as a secret mission-the kids will love it.
That's it. When you find one of the geocaches (they are rated for difficulty and terrain), all you have to do is sign the log, re-hide the container, and then later post it on the website that you found it. There are caches all over the world. Some of them are very small (micro) and some are as large as a suitcase. All of them are weather proof and made to last for many years.
There are also, usually, small treasures inside the containers, if there is room inside. They are mostly tiny (low cost) toys or stickers. If you take one, then it's customary to replace it with another token. Dollar stores sell bags of small toys (like army men or dinosaurs) for a dollar or less. Kids love putting them in and picking out a prize from the container. But the hunt itself is more than likely to be the most exciting for everyone, not the treasures. And it's a great opportunity to get outside and explore your own backyard. Plus, you can do this while on any vacation, too.
Join the geocaching Facebook page for tips, or add friends on the geocaching site for group hunts.
Find more family-friendly activities.
Nashville Downtown Examiner Debbi Tannock has been covering the downtown scene in Nashville for over five years.
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