Geocaching with kids

Geocaching in the woods with kids

Geocaching is one of our kids’ favorite pastimes – even though we do not always successfully discover a hidden cache! We have the incredible good fortune of living very close to these stunning woods, complete with well-cared-for trails. The location combined with the excitement of searching for hidden treasure always makes for a magical afternoon. Do you live in the city? There are probably some fun urban geocaches in your area, and some libraries have GPS devices you can borrow if you don’t have a smartphone or other GPS device of your own that you can use!

Tips for Geocaching with Kids

Are you just starting out geocaching with your kids? Here are some tips that might be helpful:

  • You need a GPS device. Some libraries have some you can borrow. We downloaded the c:geo app onto Mike’s smartphone, and it works really well..
  • Pack a small treasure to swap into the cache.
  • Pack snacks. It can take quite a while to find a cache!
  • Dress appropriately – comfortable shoes and clothing. Layers are nice to have.
  • Enjoy the journey. You may or may not find the cache you are looking for. Even if you find the cache, some caches are not very exciting. We find that, for our kids, the joy of geocaching is mostly about the excitement of searching for a treasure together as a family. Finding a cache is fun, but it should not be the sole focus of the trip.
  • When do you do find a cache, sign the log. You can also swap out a trinket. Just make sure you leave something of similar value if you do take something. My kids like to swap out squinkies, small cars, and fancy marbles.

Geocaching in the woods with kids

I asked the kids what they liked best about geocaching, and they answered: “Finding sticks and rocks.” With that focus, every geocaching outing is successful, whether or not you actually find a geocache!

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

25 thoughts on “Geocaching with kids”

    1. It’s actually only about a mile from our house! The trails opened fairly recently, maybe shortly before you moved?

  1. We too love geocaching. We have been doing it for years- sometimes we find them sometimes we don’t but it is always fun. After we don’t find one for awhile, I try and make sure the next one will be easy to find by finding large geocaches.

    Have you ever tried letterboxing? We liked that when the kids were younger. You just print out directions to find them rather than the GPS. Eliminates the arguing over who will hold the GPS device or smartphone.

    I wrote a blogpost with some reasons why I love geocaching so much with the kids if interested – http://www.growingplay.blogspot.com/2012/03/i-love-geocaching.html

    1. We always have a few! I love that my kids can pick up an ordinary grey rock and feel like they are holding a gem!

  2. i’ve always wanted to do this! what a fun adventure for your family! and that first picture is soooo precious! would look great on canvas :)

  3. That is one thing I have not done yet…I think my kids would love it! We did accidentally find one while having a picnic. The kids were climbing the wood planks of the shelter…kind of dangerous…and they found one up on the roof plank! It was rather exciting!

  4. Elisa | blissfulE

    The photos are fabulous, and I love your conclusion that they’ve found treasure after all!! Kids have the best perspective on things sometimes. :)

    (By the way, I’m so enjoying catching up on your adventures! Been missing you during my internetless time.)

  5. His Daughter (caching moniker) Pam

    To learn more about Geocaching, go to http://www.geocaching.com. Contact anyone who has hidden or even found a cache that interests you and explain that you want to get started in the sport. They will usually offer advice to ensure you find a few caches until you develop your skills more. Many times, they will offer to meet you and help out. If that makes you nervous then just nicely decline (they will understand). Go to an event near you and meet other catchers in a nice party-like atmosphere. Most catchers are very social, family oriented individuals. I’ve never met a cacher that wasn’t, but I’m sure there are some. I think they would eschew the events and would not offer to meet you, though. I don’t think I’d meet ANYONE for a hike into a secluded area without knowing them fairly well first, though. Jump in and join us!

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