In this day and age, while technology rules the roost, getting our kids outdoors can be difficult. Surfing the Web on Ipads, “connecting” with friends through social media apps on smartphones, or (if you’re old-school) playing games on Xbox or PlayStation, often takes preference over getting out, running around, rolling on the grass and jumping in the pool.
I for one don’t like seeing my kids stuck inside when they could be enjoying the great outdoors and making memories. I have nothing against technology, however, I do feel that there needs to be a balance between incorporating it into our daily lives alongside good old fashioned Gross-Motor activities.
If you’re with me on this, then I have an idea to share with you… Geocaching!
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is an increasingly popular, fun and healthy activity for all ages. And families can get involved together. I don’t mean to sound like an expert, I’m not… I’ve only recently discovered this gem (I know, I live under a rock). But stick with me, I really think this is a lovely idea for families.
This increasingly addictive sport includes 3 of the most amazing concepts. Technology, adventure, and nature. Now what child wouldn’t love that? Participating members use a GPS and other navigational techniques to hide and seek-out containers called geocaches at specific locations which have been marked by coordinates.
It’s basically a treasure hunt on steroids!
How To Go Geocaching
The idea around this “sport” consists of using your handheld GPS to guide you to a specific destination where you will find a hidden container (cache). Once this container has been found, you log your visit into a logbook and trade one of the hidden treasures with your own.
Geocaching An Outdoor Sport?
This seems to be the perfect way to get children outside and in turn, entertain the entire family. You can even hide your own caches, send your coordinates to the website and get others to hunt them down. Some of these hidden gems contain a simple log that you mark once found (take a pencil) and others contain what is termed “SWAG” – little trinkets. Some expect you to solve a riddle or puzzle, and others keep you looking by sending you to dozens of other “hideouts”
The excitement and possibilities are endless.
Children can replace the SWAG with their own little toys, puzzles, and riddles. I just love the idea of a family treasure hunt, running around, curiosity growing, excitement brewing and in turn learning about and using technology in this innovative way!
Geocaching In South Africa
I think the first rule would be to always go in a large group. Scout out the area, make sure it’s safe before adventuring into the unknown. South Africa boasts many beautiful parks that have become involved with geocaching.
I do, however, think that this could really be a wonderful experience, especially for families to enjoy together.
There are many websites that encourage and give ideas as to where one can go geocaching.
BYOP -Bring Your Own Pen
CITO – Cache In Trash Out – Geocachers dedicated to cleaning up parks and hiding caches.
DNF – Did Not Find
FTF – First To Find
LPC – Lamp Post Find – A cache hidden under a lamp post.
SWAG – Stuff We All Get
TB – Travel Bug – A trackable item with a unique code that is carried from cache to cache.
TFTC – Thanks For The Cache
TNLN – Took Nothing Left Nothing
TOTT – Tools Of The Trade
What is your opinion on Geocaching? I’d be interested to know!