What’s free, healthy, outdoors and so much fun that all the family will want to do it? Geocaching that’s what! This latest high tech treasure hunting game is guaranteed to get your children, whatever their ages, out and about and having quality time together as a family.
Geocaching refers to GEO for geography, and to CACHING, the process of hiding a cache. A cache in computer terms is information usually stored in memory to make it faster to retrieve, but the term is also used in hiking/camping as a hiding place for concealing and preserving provisions.
Carolyn Budding from Little Terra, a children’s outdoor gear specialist, has two young children herself and loves going Geocachng with them. She told me:
“In today’s digital age, Geocaching is the answer to every parent’s worry about the hours the children spend on the computer and play station, because this is one technological game that they play – off their bum.”
Have Questions? Here are the answers.
What is Geocaching?
It is essential a new form of treasure hunting or hide and seek. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups and is growing in popularity, with nearly one million active eocaches hidden around the world.
What do I need to go Geocaching?
All you need is a GPS unit, some basic understanding of how to use it and lots and lots of enthusiasm. And even if you don’t have a GPS you can still take part by downloading the OS map coordinates and plotting them on a map! As with all outdoor activities Little Terra recommends that you spend time ensuring the children are suitably kitted out, see their website for a range of warm outdoor clothes.
What is a GPS?
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a system of satellites that work with a GPS receiver to determine your location on the planet (within around 6 – 20 feet). They started out to help drivers find their way to places in cars but now more and more people are investing in the hand held units and many mobile phones now have GPS and maps in-built. Coordinates are normally given in Latitude and Longitude. You can use the device to navigate from your current location to another location. Some devices have their own maps, built-in electronic compasses, and voice navigation, depending on the complexity of the device.
How Do I get started?
Geocaching is essentially a modern treasure hunt crossed with Face book as it utilises digital technology and an online community. The most popular website is www.geocaching.com where all you need to do is enter a post code or address to explore the geocaches near you. Once you have decided where you want to go, click on the geocache and you will be provided with a set of co-ordinates for that particular cache of treasure.
Isn’t that a little bit too easy?
Although Geocaching sounds really easy, it is one thing to know where a location is shown on a map; it is another to actually try to arrive at that location. Sometimes you cannot navigate directly to a cache by going straight in the direction your GPS receiver points – there might be a river or other obstacle in the way. It is up to you to find the best route to the cache.
What are the rules in Geocaching?
- If you take something from the cache, leave something of equal or greater value.
- Write about your find in the cache logbook.
- Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.
What is usually in a cache?
In its simplest form, a cache always contains a logbook. The logbook contains information from the owner of the cache, notes from visitors and can contain much valuable, rewarding, and entertaining information. In smaller caches, a log sheet may be used. Larger caches may contain a logbook and any number of more or less valuable items. These items turn the cache into a true treasure hunt. You never know what the owner or other visitors of the cache may have left there for you to enjoy. That’s the part that makes it so exciting for children of all ages – and for mums and dads too. Remember, if you take something, it is only fair for you to leave something in return.
Where are caches found?
Everywhere – their locations are only limited by the imagination of the treasure hiders and seekers!
About the Author:
Little Terra - http://www.littleterra.co.uk - is a leading online retailer of children’s outdoor clothes and gear and is dedicated to encourage children and their families to explore and have fun outdoors. If you would like to find out more about geocaching, visit http://www.geocaching.com/.
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