Posted: Nov 03 2014
Trying to go on a walk with my son two years ago was a particularly frustrating experience...
Sound familiar? We would get every excuse under the sun and for someone who loves walking I wondered if it was something I was ever going to be able to enjoy again! Along came Roman (my boyfriend) and we were introduced to the world of Geocaching and it has transformed our walking exploits into fun outdoor adventures.
For those of you who have never heard of it, Geocaching is a type of treasure hunt where you search for caches hidden by other Geocache players. You can find caches pretty much all over the world and they are hidden in urban areas as well as the countryside. We tend to focus on the ones in nature and have been rewarded in learning more about our local area and discovering some beautiful walks.
The caches come in various different sizes: micro (typically an old 35mm film canister), mini (a small Tupperware box) to a large one (old ammunition box)
You can locate the caches by logging onto the Geocaching website and doing a search in your local area. You can either use maps to locate them or many download the GPS coordinates onto an app on their mobile phone and find them that way.
Depending on the size of the cache they may contain ‘little treasures’ for children to find and swap. Rubbers, small toys, stickers… that type of thing. You can also come across the odd travel bug which you take from the cache and leave in another one (usually on a different walk) and thereby helping it on it's journey. Read more on travel bugs here!
If you get really keen you can set up your own travel bug with instructions on where you would like it to travel to and then you can then track it on its journey. It’s fascinating for kids to watch it travel around the world and can be a great opener to discovering and learning about the countries it has visited.
We've progressed from walks where the aim was finding a single cache to trails where you can go on a longer loop and find multiple caches. They are often laid out by local people who know the best walks so you often find yourself in some stunning spots. Take a look here for further information on trails.
Our Geocaching adventures have given us a lot of pleasure over the last two years. We've explored new areas, spent more time outside more and the activity has naturally evolved into teaching my son new outdoor skills like: compass reading, map reading and wildlife spotting. The 'finding treasure' element added so much fun initially that it completely distracted my son from 'walking' so much so, that he now loves walking and even enjoys climbing hills!
I am also loving our walks now too :)
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