Get Off the Couch with Geocaching
Worried your child is spending too much time with media? Can’t get them off the couch to go play outdoors? Don’t despair, you are not alone and there is a cool way to change that trend.
Geocaching is a great way to get kids outdoors and let them keep an electronic device in their hand. Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt! People hide geocaches everywhere—from just down the street to the most remote wilderness areas. There are about 2 million geocaches worldwide and many are hidden in your state parks.
What is a geocache?
Geo means earth and cache means hidden item. Geocaches range from very small (like a film canister) to large (such as a metal lunch box). Many are camouflaged, but they are not buried. Geocaches hold things like a log book to sign your name, tradable items for kids and adults, and more.
How do I find a geocache?
Use a GPS unit or smartphone app to find the coordinates (the exact location) of a geocache nearby. Then set out on your adventure, enjoying the sights along the way!
How can I play?
- Visit Geocaching.com, or use a smartphone app to find caches where you are. Choose an easy cache for your first hunt. Caches have ratings on difficulty, size and terrain.
- Download the coordinates to your GPS or use your smartphone, and head out to look for your treasure. It might take a few minutes to find the cache once you reach the destination!
- Approach the cache safely. Some of the best hiding spots can also be homes for wildlife. Open the container, sign the log, and trade a family-friendly item with something in the cache.
- Replace the container exactly as you found it. This keeps the game fun for the next geocacher.
- Log your find on Geocaching.com and tell the world about your adventure! Collect a "smiley" face symbol for each geocache find you report.
Be sure to Leave No Trace of your visit!
- Stay on trails for as long as you can.
- Leave what you find, including flowers, rocks and artifacts.
- Consider others. Don't park in campsites; keep voices low.
- Take your trash. Help keep our spaces beautiful.
- Respect wildlife; you are in their backyard!
Kids today are spending between 7-11 hours per day with electronic devices according to the American Pediatrics Society and only minutes per day outside. You can change that trend by spending more time with your kids in nature.