Hidden treasures…GPS devices…a high-tech scavenger hunt. This is the stuff that nerdy children’s dreams are made of. (Nerdy parents too, we admit it). It is time to introduce your little nerdlet to Adventures in Geocaching. What is it exactly?
First, you’ll need to purchase a GPS device, such as the Garmin eTrex. GPS-enabled phones obviously work too, if you want your child using your phone to navigate various terrains. The next step is to check out geocaching.com where you can do what all culty gamers love to do best–become part of a community! Register, enter your zip code, and then begin searching a list of geographic coordinates where various items have been hidden. Once you enter the coordinates into your device, you can begin your search. Finally, when you find the location, you’ll search for the “cache” then login your find and post pics for others to see. There are many different types of “Cache” ranging from basic one-location hunts, to more complicated journeys. Geocaching even has specific info/advice for caching with kids.
The available caches are vast, and it’s easy to get caught up in the drama as you read through descriptions like this one: “The Star Sapphire Central Battery was found by the Zamarons when they first arrived at their new homeworld. The battery is powered by the eternal love of two lovers, whose corpses are encased within the sapphire crystal.” The amazing thing is that, while much of a nerd’s life exists in a fantasy realm, this activity actually allows you and your kid to seek out hidden treasure in the “real world,” and join a community of hidden seekers that share your wanderlust.
If you happen to have a younger child, you might want to create a cache of your own, since they might not yet be interested in finding some of the items available to them in the caches. One enterprising mom (yep, her kid has Harry Potter glasses on–she’s of our tribe!) created her own fairy house cache (and as you can see, she is now making it her mission to create fairy houses “all over Northwest Arkansas.”)
Once you get going, you and your child can create caches together and become game-masters as well as game-players. In fact, you can use Geocaching as an activity with a whole group of kids, or as a homeschool/afterschool/birthday activity. Geocaching.com also offers starter kits that help get you begin finding, hiding, and using your phone as a GPS. Next up, you’ll need some Geocaching swag to display your prowess as a hunter. These stickers, decals–even temporary tattoos–are elusive and will only be recognized and understood by other ‘cachers (the travel bug decal is a particular favorite). Being part of the exclusive club is part of the fun!
What kinds of caches will you dream up? One of the great things about having kids is that it allows us to indulge in fantasies and whimsical fun that we might not have made time for in our daily lives. If Geocaching with your little one can bring back some of the nerdy spirit that dwells within, who knows what might be next!? Share your Geocaching adventures in our forum.