A Child & Nature Reunion

Looking for a fun thing to do outdoors with kids? Try geocaching. This outdoor activity will help kids connect with nature as they set off on an exciting outdoor adventure.

Geocaching is a growing trend around the world. In fact, there are over 2 million active geocaches worldwide. It's a free activity that gets kids outdoors, sets them out on a treasure hunt guided by GPS to find hidden "caches" in your neighborhood or wherever you set out for your hunt.

How To Geocache

All you have to do to get started is create an account on Geocaching.com, download the app to your phone and voila! You're ready to join the world's largest treasure hunt!

Once your phone is set-up, you'll have to choose which caches to go after. Caches are containers of all sizes that may hold a logbook to sign or even an inexpensive toy or trinkets for trade. The caches may be camouflaged to blend into their surroundings. They are hidden all over the world by fellow geocachers and may be hidden under a rock, behind a tree or maybe even in a more urban setting.

Geocaching Tips

  • Some caches are easy to find while others may require a long hike. Be sure to check the difficulty and terrain ratings on the web page before you go.
  • A "1-star" difficulty and terrain rating are just about right for a young child.
  • When starting geocaching, set out for geocaches with a low difficulty and terrain rating. This will help ensure that your child can actually find the cache and grab it for themself.
  • If you opt for medium or larger caches, you're more likely to find toys and trinkets inside.
  • Don't forget that the trinkets are for trade so bring along a few of your own trinkets to exchange.
  • Remember that there is no guarantee the cache will be found at the location. You can increase your chances by checking the latest activity on the caches you’re venturing out to find.
  • If the cache hasn’t been found for a while or there are a few recent DNF (Did not find) logs, take that one off your list!

Geocaching and the Benefits of Nature

True. Geocaching is not an activity in which children study nature or practice the skills of young naturalists. But any activity that helps to bring kids outdoors and encourages them to spend time outside is beneficial to them. Just being outside in nature can help focus, calm and uplift a child. Spending time outside in nature helps to develop a comfort or ease with the outdoors, encouraging even more time outside.

So this activity might be just perfect for a child who does not readily play outdoors or has a difficult time finding things to do outside. Every child is different. While one child might enjoy the serenity of sitting alone in nature, reading, or practicing nature journaling.

Another child might need a more organized activity to keep interested—which is exactly where geocaching comes in! Geocaching encourages children to really observe nature, as they look for clues to find the cache. As they set off on their "hunt," they have to tune into the natural environment in order to find the cache. This is where nature observation—one of the key young naturalist skills—comes in.

Most importantly, geocaching is an excellent activity to do with your family or as a group. Just be prepared to make it a regular activity as your kids will love it so much!

Happy hunting!