Summer is such a glorious span of three months. No homework and no projects….just fun! If you are Planning for Summer and looking for some Frugal Summer Fun you need to check out geocaching.
What is Geocaching
Geocaching is a scavenger hunt filled with technology. Carefully placed caches are hidden all over the world in areas ranging from cities to forest trails. These caches are hidden very well, but you should not need a shovel to retrieve it. Each cache has a “log” where the finder can sign or initial that the cache has been found. The size of the hidden caches range from micro to much larger. For beginner geocachers it is not recommended that you find one of those first. There is a give and take system in some geocaches as people leave treasures in the box for the next person to take (if desired). You take a treasure and leave another in its place.
Geocaches are rated on two different criteria…difficulty to find and terrain. Easy to find geocaches are registered as a 1. These are good for beginners and small children. A rating of 5 is for pure crazy people who like a big challenge. You will find the rating on the Geocaching website.
Geocaching with Kids
Time and time again I have mentioned just how awesome being part of a running group is. A few weeks ago the friend I was running with told me that her family started geocaching right before they went on vacation and she said that it made their road trip much less stressful. Say what?!?!? She also said that it was a great way to get the kids out of the house and having fun. I was instantly intrigued. Despite the fact that during the hot hours we may melt when we go outside I want to have summer fun outside with my girls. Could geocaching add that much excitement to our summer? Please note: this post contains affiliate links.
My First Geocaching Attempt
Being frugal (this site is called Coupons Are Great after all) I decided that I would just download the free version of the Geocaching app. We were at a park and I checked the app. Low and behold there was a geocache near us!!! Knowing nothing about geocaching we went on our way. The free geocaching app does an alright job explaining things for newbies, but it is far from perfect. We ended up not finding our first geocache. I thought my girls were going to be devastated and never want to go on this treasure hunt again. I was wrong! The next morning Little Sister (age 5) said “Mommy, all I dreamed about last night was geoMAPPING. Can we go again? I want to find a prize!” Just remember, you may not always be successful, but there is always the next geocache to find!
Tips for Geocaching with Kids
- Sign up for an account at Geocaching.com
- Spend time browsing on the computer for Geocaches in your area. There are 2,108,878 active geocaches and over 5 million geocachers worldwide.
- Note the “Last found” date. Don’t waste your time searching for a geocache that hasn’t been found in months (especially if you are new to this).
- Scroll down to see if there are photos. Those are a big help! When you and your kids know exactly what you are looking for there are approximately 500,000 questions less coming from them. Be forewarned, there will still be approximately 1.5 million questions asked during your first few hunts.
- Pack a small bag with quarter machine type toys (silly bands, plastic animals, baseball cards) and take it with you. Some geocaches have a give/take system where you can exchange treasures.
- If you are going to a park or anywhere suburban wear pants and tennis shoes.
- Once you are ready to actually find your first geocache download the app for your phone. I downloaded the free version (I am frugal, what can I say). My husband was frustrated with the free version so he ponied up the $9.99 for the paid version. I have no affiliation with this company. The free app definitely lacks compared to the paid app. The upgrade is definitely worth it if you will be geocaching in the future.
- Have fun! Remember if you don’t find your first geocache that there is always next time.
Geocaches come in different sizes. There are micro ones….and I am terrified to hunt for one of those. The ones we have found were “medium” sized and they were difficult to find! I can’t imagine looking for something really small. I have confidence that as we get better at this we will work our way up to a micro cache. I would never, ever think to pick up a rock geocache (like the photo above). Those are some super advanced skills!
My girls are hooked on geocaching. They are constantly asking me to use the app on my phone to see if there are any nearby. I am so excited that we have a fun, frugal family activity. I am looking forward to a few summer road trips where we can geocache at rest stops along the way to our destination.
Once you get the hang of geocaching you may want to make your own. This Geocache kit is a great place to start!