Fitness & OutdoorsParenting

Geocaching: Tips for Getting Started

Here we go again!  Over the summer, I wrote a post on what geocaching is all about. This is a follow up on that summer post, which you can access here.

We are well into Autumn now, which means Winter is right around the corner!  If you haven’t started geocaching with your kids (or friends or family — grown ups can have fun too!), now is the perfect time to start.

Think of it this way: if you end up hating this activity (though I don’t think you will), you have the perfect excuse for not participating anymore all lined up for you.  Soon it’ll be too cold to be outside geocaching.  There’s your out.  But if you end up loving it (which I think you will!), you’ll have something amazing to look forward to when the snow thaws.  Think of this as your little extra push to give it a try; I’ve got three tips on getting started with this outdoor activity for you down below!

1. Hype it up!

Most things can be fun if they’re met with a little positive energy.  If you want to have a good time geocaching, especially with your kids, you’ve got to bring the excitement!

Prior to heading out, spend some time hyping up this activity to your kiddos.  This is especially important for children who, for whatever reason, might need a little extra convincing.  You don’t have to explain the details or even tell them that you’re going to go geocaching.  Instead, let them know that you’ll be treasure hunting.  If your kids are into it, let them dress up!  Skyler always brings along some ninja gear and a toy sword when we go geocaching (to protect everyone and the treasure from zombies, obviously).  You can dress up too if you need help to yourself loosen up and have a good time.  Honestly, everyone looks ridiculous geocaching anyway, running about and snooping around the city, so you might as well embrace it!  If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, let them bring a friend.  This will increase their positive feelings toward the idea tenfold!

2. What to trade?

Remember that finding a geocache is only half the fun; after discovering the cache container, participants can choose what to keep from the items inside.  The only caveat is that people must replace taken prizes with new prizes of equal or greater value.  Never cheat on this part!  It’s only fair, and it ensures that there will always be prizes for future players.

I think this is the part that puts people off, but I promise that it really isn’t as involved as it sounds. My family has never purchased anything for the sake of geocaching and we don’t ever intend to. Most of the time, we task Skyler with choosing five to ten small odd end toys that he doesn’t  play with anymore and would like to give to someone else.  These are what we trade!  McDonald’s toys, marbles, Hot Wheels cars, etc.  If Fabian and I have a spare minute, sometimes we’ll sift through the junk drawer and find some things to contribute as well, such as unused tea light candles, pens, bracelets, and the like.  If we have them on hand, one of our favorite things to trade (with and for!) are travel brochures.  They’re free, they’ve exposed us to multiple things around town we’d never known about, and they can do the same for others!  If you’re stuck on things to trade with, consider making travel brochures you’re go-to.

3. Plan ahead:

In my experience, planning ahead for things makes it less likely that you’ll bail on them later.  Here are a few things you can do to get geocaching on your calendar!

  • Download the Geocaching app.  A Geocaching application will guide you to geocaches in your area, and give you a means to log your successes.  My family uses Groundspeak’s Geocaching app, but there are plenty on the market to choose from.  Downloading the app will show that you intend to play the game, and you wouldn’t want to let that storage space go to waste, right?  Use it!
  • Tell you kids ahead of time when you’ll play.  Hype geocaching up to your kids, have them choose their trade items, and allow them to dress up if they want.  The more excited they get over the activity, the harder it will be to bail on them.  Promise and deliver!
  • Convert a routine activity to a special time for geocaching.  Do you usually take your kiddos to the park after school?  Do you go on a family walk on Saturday mornings?  Is Friday night your household’s go-to day for eating out?  Embellish or trade up these standard activities!  Make a point to go geocaching instead of the park or a walk one day; go geocaching before dinner or the grocery store in exchange for good behavior.  Working the activity into things you also do will make it seem less imposing when you’re making time for it.  You’re just adding to or replacing a time slot you already have — totally doable!
  • Make a play date.  If you’re an adventurous parent who can wrangle multiple kiddos, or if you and some other parents would like to tag team this activity, set a specific date and time for a play date.  Put it on your calendar, and don’t let yourself back out on plans with friends.  Meet up, get outside, and find some treasure!

So what do you say, will you give geocaching a chance this autumn?  I’d love to hear about your adventures in the comments down below!  Until then, get searching and enjoy! 🙂

Medical disclaimer: As always, consult a physician before you and/or your child begin an exercise regimen or engage in rigorous outdoor activity. The general information above is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional.  If you experience any problems or have concerns when engaging in physical activity, stop and contact a doctor before proceeding with additional workouts.

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