Last month my family began Geocaching. Geocaching is basically modern day treasure hunting. Somebody hides a “cache” and posts the GPS coordinates on a geocaching website. Others then go and find that cache, sign a log (piece of paper) to say they have found it and log their find on a geocaching website. The caches vary from small (tip of your pinky finger) to large (ammo cases). Some contain only the log to sign, and others have treasures inside with the notion that you leave behind something if you take something out. We have found not only geocaches in our area, but also geocaching benefits.
This is perhaps the greatest benefit. Many caches require you to walk a short distance in order to find them. Some caches are also tough to find and leave you wandering in circles. Those circles add up! One cache (seen in #6) required us to make use of a local bike trail.
Map Reading / Orienteering
My boys are both boy scouts and one thing they are learning is how to read a map and compass and basic orienteering skills. Geocaching has helped cement these lessons. They are able to put their knowledge to use in a real-life setting.
Family Time Together
Some may argue that exercise and family time together could be contenders for the “Greatest Benefit” spot, but as a homeschooling family, we already spend a LOT of time together. Geocaching has given us additional time together participating in an activity that we all enjoy doing. There is often a little competitiveness to see who can find the caches first.
I have younger children who are still working on writing their names. Signing the logs has given them a lot of practice writing their names.
Geocaching benefits our environment too! Many geocachers will practice what is known at CITO (Cache In Trash Out) where they will remove trash and other unsightly debris in an area when geocaching.
Exploring new areas
When you begin geocaching you can look at a map of your area. The map may be speckled with little dots. These dots indicate caches that have been hidden. I have been able to explore a few new areas where geocaches are hidden that I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise.
Many people who hide caches hide them near areas containing history. One example we have found was hidden near a Statute of Liberty. The cache description gave a brief history of the Statute of Liberty.
Geocaching benefits can be found in the form of character building traits too! There have been some caches we simply could not find. It took us multiple attempts to find this particular cache. Geocaching teaches you patience and to not give up. If you get frustrated, stop and come back another time.
Geocaching benefits the whole family, but as you can see there are individual benefits too. I think it is important for families to be active together and find something everybody enjoys. For us, this has translated into geocaching. We also enjoy hiking, but now try to “hike” where geocaches can be found.
Does your family participate in geocaching?
Do you know of any other geocaching benefits?