Did you know there’s treasure hidden all around you? Geocaching (pronounced “geo-cashing”) is a real-world, permanent treasure hunt, and anyone can play! Which makes it the perfect activity to get you and yours outdoors in the upcoming sunny stretch of weather.
To participate, go online with your kiddo to see where people have hidden caches, and use the coordinates they give (and your cell phone’s GPS) to track down the hidden troves. The treasure (also known as caches) ranges in container size from nano (the size of a thimble) to large (think bucket-sized), but most are about the size of a sandwich bag.
Geocaches usually hold a logbook for recording your find, and sometimes hold other small prizes like pins or toys. If you and your little one take something, be sure to replace it with a surprise of your own for the next geocacher. Some geocaches are virtual, and when you find them you’re usually asked to provide a code word from that spot to prove you found the cache – say, the inscription on the public statue, or the number of windows on the building.
To see caches in your neighbourhood, visit a site like Geocaching.com, or download a free app like OpenCaching. Geocaches are listed by their coordinates, how big they are, and how hard they are to find – so, for your first family adventure, aim for close, big and easy to find, and keep in mind this is an activity that’s most fun for hardy kids age 7 and up.
Don’t forget to read other players’ notes, too. For example, you’ll want to check how long ago the cache was last found, and if anyone’s reported it missing or needing attention. Once you’ve decided on the cache you’re going to hunt, you can use the longitude and latitude coordinates to track it on your phone, or your child can use your app to steer you in the right direction with the “find” option.
There are geocaches waiting in Pacific Spirit Park, at UBC, downtown close to Science World, and in Stanley Park – and with so many sites to choose from, your family will have lots of fun and happy hunting ahead!
Yo mama! Looking for other ways to keep your kids busy in the city? Be sure to check out the following: