A new activity that Adelynn and I have recently discovered is “treasure hunting” AKA Geocaching. Apparently this has been an available activity for over 10 years, so many moms may already be aware of this. To give you a quick overview, for all those who are not, it’s basically a scavenger hunt. Random people hide “caches” (or to the rest of us rubber-made containers or bottles) around and about the community. And literally there are hundreds of them scattered around Cincinnati. In the container is always a log that you can sign when you find the cache and often times there are little trinkets to trade; think things you might find in the dollar section at Target. To find the caches you can either search the Geocaching website (you have to register and set up a profile first) or use the mobile app. This is what we do, but again you will need to register. From there, you pick the one you want to find, press start, and you’re off on your search. You can use the map, compass coordinates, and clues given by the owner to find the cache.
And there ya go…tadaa, treasure hunting!! Adelynn loves it. Well, she loves it 75% of the time, which I feel is pretty good for a 4 year old. The caches range in difficulty on a scale from 1-5, 5 being the most difficult. We generally try to stay with caches under 2 and these still can be challenging. At times it can be a little bit of a walk to get to the selected cache or the compass coordinates are a tad bit off which can make searching take a little longer than anticipated. Nonetheless, when she is able to find the container she is so excited. She feels such accomplishment in just the mere act of finding the cache. I generally spot them first but always try to let her scope out the area to find them herself. We open the box, sign the log, then choose a trinket to trade, if available. Currently we have been putting bouncy balls in as a trade.
Now, here are some momma words of wisdom from the novice geocacher.
- Wear good shoes. People like to hide these things in obscure, wooded places off the beaten path. On our first go around, I had on sandals and found myself climbing a small dirt hill by holding on to tree roots (I did not make Adelynn climb the hill).
- Piggy backing off point one, often times these are hidden off the trails, roadways, etc. and many of them were hidden years ago so be on alert for poison ivy and over growth.
- Not all caches are created equal. Some have great little treasures but some are just tiny bottles with a log sheet. You can often get an idea of what you will get when you read about the chosen cache or comments people leave in the review, so just be aware.
- This activity really takes some focus and a bit of an attention span. My 4 year old enjoys it but generally starts losing interest after the first find and after searching for the second has completely lost interest or energy. My good friend went with us most recently and had a three year old who barely could hang in there for the first find. So know your kids and what their interest level is.
Overall, it’s a fun new activity for the parent and the child. It gives us another incentive to check out new parks and new parts of town; though even just finding them in our known parks has been fun. If you have any recommendation for great places to search for caches, I would love to hear them. Please post your experiences and recommendations in the comments section below.