Fun Things To Do On Walks is another new series to the blog. I started thinking about walks with children and friends, how sometimes walking anywhere with others can be a bit boring for them and started to think of ways to make the walks more appealing to others that may not share your joy in being out and going for walks, in essence, how to make walks fun. This series will look at ways that you can introduce fun into otherwise mundane activity.
The first post (this one!) introduces Geocaching, ok, so I might be a bit late to this topic, but it is one that I think could be really interesting for both friends and family of all ages. So, what is Geocaching? Geocaching is a bit like a giant treasure hunt that uses navigational systems (usually some kind of sat nav system or map co-ordinates) to find a “Cache”. The “Cache” is the treasure and a lot of the time contains a log book for you to leave your name and the date that you found the cache, sometimes there are small items left with the cache for you to take and leave a small item of your own in its place (like a key ring or small toy) and some even have clues left as to the location of the next cache. I love that this activity teaches navigation and geography skills while being fun and is based on hide and seek and treasure finding, what’s not to love?
There are lots of different ways to find geocaches in your area, from looking at websites (this site is fab for info and other Geochaching things!) or apps on your phone (I use an app called Geocaching by Groundspeak, I run it on iphone and its available in the App Store however I believe it is available on other phones, just check Google Play or other download sources for your device) once you have located a cache you will need to find it. I use the app on my phone which, when open, looks like a navigational map, the cache location is indicated with a circle. Caches will be located in the area, sometimes under things, in things or on things, keep your eyes peeled and look in as many places as you can in that area. Most caches are in small containers (like a small lunchbox or film canister), if you are using certain apps they will tell you what sort of sized container you are looking for, and whether it is hidden in an easy, medium or hard place to find. Some apps and sites will also let you know when the cache was last maintained (the hider of the cache has gone back to check on the cache and make sure it is ok) which is really useful information. Once found, and you have left your name in the log book, place the cache back in the same place you found it.
There are some rules to follow, some being common sense and some more health and safety.
- When you find a cache, place it back in the same spot
- Never leave anything perishable (such as food in the cache)
- Make sure you put the lid back on tight!
- When looking for a cache be aware of where you are treading – don’t get too close to edges, water or boundaries.
- Wear suitable shoes, some caches are hidden up or down slopes.
- Wear suitable clothing and pack some sturdy gloves (some caches may be hidden in brambles)
- Pack some small gifts to leave in caches (like small key rings, kinder egg toys, something you would enjoy finding, but make sure it is something suitable for children, ie no sharp points or anything that could cause harm or offence)
- Do not damage the cache in any way and if you found it damages, if possible report it to the site that you originally found it on, giving as much detail as possible as to its location (do not remove)
There are lots of caches located near or on my walking routes, however I have not been lucky enough to find one yet, either they have been moved or destroyed or I have not been looking hard enough. This year I hope to find at least one though!
Have you ever been Geocaching? What kind of treasures did you find/leave?