by Sonny and Sandy from PodCacher.com
Geocaching with kids can be an amazing experience…
They love the exploration, discovery, mystery, treasure and outdoor aspects of this fun hobby. As you plan your geocaching outing with kids, you’re probably thinking of the obvious things to take along like plenty of water, lots of snacks, extra changes of clothes, a first aid kit, etc. You are definitely a well-prepared geocacher.
Now, before you head out, here are 3 things to AVOID while geocaching with kids.
Kids love to take their time and explore. They aren’t in a hurry to get from point A to point B, especially when there is a lot to see, touch and experience between the points. We could learn a lot from them! Let the kids take the lead, and see what you can find to savor as you walk to the next geocache. Bring along a bag or bucket to gather nature “treasures” to take home. Take the time to jump from rock to rock (and don’t fall in the make-believe lava!). Don’t try to squeeze in too many caches. Take your cue from the kids regarding when it’s time to call it a day.
Some kids might love finding altoids tins under lamp-skirts or on guard rails, but they are in the minority. Kids love toys and swag. The smallest trinket can be the greatest treasure in the eyes of a young child. Don’t deprive them of the fun of swag by only going for the tiny containers. It may be a little more work to find an area to cache in that has larger containers, but if you’re going on an outing with kids, it’s definitely worth the extra effort. Be sure to encourage the kids to bring swag along to trade. You can all stop at the dollar store before heading out to geocache, or they can raid their toy bins at home. Take the time to teach them about “trading even or trading up”. It’s a great lesson to learn at a young age.
Resist the urge to orchestrate every aspect of the experience for your kids. Hand over the GPS, or your smartphone (with a sturdy protective case) and let them learn from trial and error. Don’t be the one to find every geocache first. Give younger kids a “nudge” in the right direction so they can enjoy the fun of “finding” the geocache. Let go of your expectations of how the day “should” go, and just enjoy what happens. The kids might be excited to find even more geocaches than you expected OR they could be all done after just a couple. Be okay with heading to a playground to give everyone a break.
Help out new geocachers, share you advice for geocaching with kids in the comments below!