What is Geocaching?Geocaching > Geocaching 101 is your place to find out all there is to know about geocaching. The site defines geocaching as a real world, outdoor treasure hunting game, using GPS enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specifics set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at the location.
Geocaching and HomeschoolingGeocaching and homeschooling are a natural fit. I have always said that homeschooling should really be called World Schooling but I think GeoSchooling has a nice ring to it. My philosophy about education is to develop a sense of curiosity, encourage creativity, and sharpen critical thinking skills, through practical experience and exploring the world from your own backyard to the farthest reaches of the globe. There are many ways I set out to achieve just that and geocaching is one way. Geocaching partners beautifully with nature study. It is also a fun and engaging way to use mapping skills. I have incorporated some survival skills training through this outlet as well.
Lessons from Geocaching
- Mapping skills
- Longitude and Latitude
- Critical and creative thinking (trains a keen eye)
- Nature study
- Cooperation and teamwork; if you attempt this as a family or with a homeschool group
Geocaching | The Homeschool Roadtrip
Geocaching For Kids - One of our favourite geography activities.
You may be surprised by the things you will find like a swinging bridge. This cause a bit of fright for my daughter. The look on her face is just priceless.
But she managed to muster up the courage to cross it. My four year old was even more scared as the bridged began to swing and bounce. She soon got over it with big brother's help.
How to StartFirst, sign up at Geocaching - The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site for a free account and access to geocaches in your area. You can pay for a premium account but I suggest holding off on that for awhile. You will not be disappointed with the free account, especially if you are just starting out.
Secondly, you will need a GPS enabled device. I simply use my iPhone. I downloaded the geocaching app from Groundspeak for $9.99. Here is an article about different apps available: 11 Geocaching iPhone Apps Worth Finding — Apple News, Tips and Reviews.
Finally, read up on the geocaching link above called Geocaching 101 to give you an overall view of what you should expect.
What to Bring
- Pen or pencil to sign logs.
- SWAG to put in the cache container if you decide to remove a SWAG item. The type of item will depend on the type of cache. However, most items are simple like party favor type things, dollar store little toys or hot wheels. I have seen temporary tattoos, plastic kid jewelry, a tiny bag of buttons, and little animal toys. Fun, inexpensive and family friendly items are what is expected. Etiquette dictates leaving items worth the same or more than you take. You do not have to leave any items if you do not take items. Once, I left some quarters because I was unprepared and my kids really wanted to take a souvenir.
- Bug spray and/or sunscreen
- Work gloves; okay this is not a need but some caches you need to dig for and I am a bit of a whimp.
- Flashlight; not necessary but it may help to have a small one on hand.
- Nature packs: my kids bring their nature books, backpacks, and snacks...the standard nature walk fair. We incorporate the two activities and with two of the kids under 8 it is nice to have snacks and water as we have walked pretty far and searched for some time.
- First aid kit; simple one that contains band aids, antibiotic ointment, bug bite cream, etc. I always forget mine and we pretty much geocache in parks and urban areas anyway.
EARTHCACHE.ORG is a place to find interesting geological discoveries near you or while you are on vacation. It works like geocaching except the reward is in the journey and the geological discovery. There are no containers to find but you will still need your GPS. It is a fun way to learn about geoscience. You may be surprised at what you can find in your area. Make sure to bring a camera!