While in Minnesota a couple of years ago, we decided to give Geocaching a try as a little adventure day out with our young kids. Although my husband and his father are military men who also participated in the Boy Scouts, we were still novice and learned a few lessons along the way. All in all, it was a lovely day with family.
1. Plan ahead for how many stops you would like to make on your hunt.
Go to Geocaching.com to find some caches you can hunt down in your area. You will be able to filter your results for the type of experience you are looking for. In our case, we needed easy access by stroller, so we ensured we chose carefully with that in mind. We also didn’t want it to be too hard to find as a novice group.
You would be surprised how many caches might be in your area. My in-laws lived in a very small town and we still had many options to choose from for our hunt.
2. Have a backpack for gear to ensure all needs are met.
There are essentials you should have on hand as you explore. These should include:
- first aid kit (skinned knees happen!)
- wipes (going potty outside may become necessary!)
- diapers, bottles etc..if you’re still in that stage of the parenting game.
- hand sanitizer (see above bullet)
- items to replace in the cache – think small and not perishable.
- a pen to sign the log.
Depending on how long you will be gone, snacks or a picnic lunch will keep your little explorers happy. Most important, ensure everyone has plenty of water. Consider also reapplying sunscreen throughout the day.
3. Come prepared to walk.
Wearing appropriate footwear and clothing for the terrain and weather is vital when you’re walking and hunting down your caches. Your littlest family members can join you by stroller or a carrier so you can off road it a bit easier. If you think you might have some rain on your walk, bring an umbrella or other rain gear. Summer showers are quick, but common in some areas. Be prepared!
4. Be willing to stop and enjoy the places where you end up.
Finding a shady place to picnic or have bottle of water and a snack is a must when you’re in the heat of summer.
At one point in our journey, we ended up near a park that we could not pass up. The toddlers in the group would not allow it. And, it was a nice pit stop because there was a bathroom and water fountain near by. Bathroom stops are key for little ones.
5. Be prepared for disappointment.
It is possible you won’t find your cache. When we made it to the park, we looked high and low, used our coordinates to the best of our ability and still could not locate the cache. So, we played a bit, and went on our way.
6. Caches can come in the most unexpected places and sizes.
This one was on a walking path, IN the pole part of the sign below.
Some of which only offer enough space inside for a small scroll of paper and an ‘I was here’ dated signature.
While others have goodies you can take with you.
BUT, don’t forget to put something back in the cache for the next treasure hunter if you take something out. Otherwise, simply sign the paper inside and put it all back.
This cache was in the middle of a parking lot under a light pole box! We did forget to bring small items to trade, so we left all the contents inside the cache after signing the log.
7. Bring your patience.
You can pack all the supplies and prepare with all the information from the Geocaching site, but the truth is, with little kids, your day will be unpredictable. Be willing to roll with it and if you have to hunt down one less cache, so be it. We ended up looking for three of the five we had planned. It was a hot day and ice cream was calling our name after those three stops. Thankfully, the route home took us back to the ice cream shop. The kids were stoked to have a treat and I was glad to be out of the stifling heat of that day!
Have you been geocaching? What tips would you offer? What’s the coolest hiding spot you’ve found for a cache?