By Dani Navarre
As a parent, you learn to appreciate the little victories in life, whether that means celebrating a win after a soccer game or reveling in the triumph of getting your child to eat all their vegetables. However, nothing quite beats the satisfaction of watching your child grin from ear to ear as they win their own small victory by exploring and discovering the world around them through geocaching. With over 2.4 million geocaches waiting to be discovered worldwide, every location can be turned into an adventure and each family outing a victory.
Recently I sat down with real-life Geocaching dad Monte Michaelis to discuss his experiences geocaching with his children:
How do you explain to kids what Geocaching is?
“I tell kids that Geocaching is like a treasure hunt that’s happening all over the world, all the time, even in their own neighborhood. I have them imagine playing a videogame where they are the main character, only the game isn’t played on a screen. It’s real life, in real places, and there’s no telling what they might find.”
How do you keep kids motivated to start or stay Geocaching?
“I think the secret is to make Geocaching a family activity. The kids should feel involved in choosing the geocaches you look for, ones that cater to their interests. I would also encourage parents to use Geocaching as a reason to try things for the first time.”
Why should parents Geocache with their children?
“I’m the father of two daughters, and I want to spend time with them. I want to talk to them about what’s going on in their lives. I want to share experiences and have adventures. Geocaching is the perfect way to do these things, because the whole point of it is to be in the places you love with the people you love.”
So are you ready to hit the trails? If you want to know what kind of geocache you should look for on your first kid-expedition, you came to the right place! Make your child’s first adventure a success by choosing geocaches that are age-appropriate. Geocaches are ranked by difficulty and terrain, so start easy by choosing ones with one or two stars. Try to select geocaches with multiple favorite points, as they sometimes prove to be the most intriguing. Before heading out, do a little research by checking the Recent Activity log of the geocache to see if it has been found in the past few weeks. Bonus points for combining a day of geocaching with other family activities, like a walk to the local library, a trip to the zoo, a short day hike, or even a stroll around the neighborhood.
Here are some insider tips from Monte and other geocaching parents to make your first time geocaching with your little tyke a success:
Let the kids be your guide. Children are eager to participate, so let them take the lead through navigating or looking under each rock and bush for an elusive geocache.
Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are genuinely excited about geocaching, your kids will be, too. So start practicing your happy dance and be ready to break out those moves when you find one!
Become a pirate. Choose regular to large-sized geocaches that will provide fun toys and trinkets that your kids can trade for. Remember to trade up or equal, so have your little ones bring along some knickknacks to leave behind.
Make memories to last a lifetime. Bring a camera to capture all those memorable moments.
Bring snacks. They can mean the difference between a fun day at the park and a before-dinner meltdown.
No matter where you go or what you find, geocaching can make every family adventure into your own little victory.