How’s Screen Free Week going for you?
This entire week my family is turning off tvs, and gadgetry to rediscover life away from the couch.
And it’s not an easy task, marketer Mitch Joel notes that kids have always wanted to do the lazy play. From comic books, to tv, to video games, and now all of the above, kids have trended to the path of least resistance.
“Throughout history, you will uncover generations of youth who would rather sit around and play than go outside and play,” writes Joel. “It’s not technologies’ fault that a kid is lazy… it comes down to parenting, values and the child’s disposition.”
Yup, it’s all your fault. So how about a way to get your kids not only loving outdoors, but asking to go out more?
After the jump find out about geocaching and how you can discover secret hidden treasures all around your neighborhood.
Here’s the simple definition of geocaching: it is a real-life game of hide and seek. It’s a treasure hunting adventure that turns a simple walk in the park into a video game. There are nearly 2 million caches hidden around the world. They range in size from small pen caps, to large boxes. They’re under park benches, stuck in trees, under rocks, in garbage bins – everywhere. [video]
Inside the caches are the sorts of trinkets you’d find in a child’s loot bag. Army guys, marbles, trading cards, cars, pins, etc. When you find a cache, you write in the log that you were there, and then trade something you’ve brought with something in the cache.
If you’re still not convinced, go to geocaching.com and type in your home address to see how many caches are around you. I’m guessing there’s at least half a dozen within a comfortable walk of your front door.
Just wait until your kids realize there is pirate’s treasure, everywhere.
Now scribble out the locations, grab the kids and get out the door, there’s treasure to be had!
Geocaching has turned what would otherwise be a long, arduous walk in the woods, into a real-life game of hide-and-seek meets pirating. The boys love opening the caches to trade treasures, and they help me with the orienteering to find the caches in the woods. There are all sorts of skills your kids will learn, and best of all it’s a great way to get everyone outside and away from the screen!
Here are 7 other helpful hints to help you get started geocaching!
There’s An App For That 1 of 7If you want to make things more precise, you can get the geocaching app for your smart phone so you can zero in on hard to find areas. You could also use a GPS device.
Tourist In Your Own Town 2 of 7Use the map to find caches in other neighborhoods of your city. This is a great way to get to know a new hometown, or discover other exciting parks and areas nearby. The map above is a snapshot of the caches in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta.
Geocaching On Vacation 3 of 7There are more than 1.7 million caches around the world. I guarantee no matter where you go, you'll find one - whether you're near Gramma and Grandpa's house or in NY's Central Park!
It’s Our Little Secret 4 of 7People who don't know about caches are called "muggles" (sound familiar?). To ensure a cache stays for other people to find, make sure nobody spots you when you grab it and replace it.
Keep It Clean 5 of 7
Make New Friends 6 of 7The Dads I started DadCAMP with often have meetups with their kids to tackle a new park and make a day of it. The entire caching community is great, the awareness is rising and it's a great way to connect with other parents for a day out.
Image Credit Bob N Renee
Hide Your Own 7 of 7Once you get the hang of it, start hiding your own caches. My sons and I put them near playgrounds that we like to visit in our neighborhood. Our caches are easy and kid friendly and hopefully introduce new people to our area. My son also likes opening up the log books of the cache near his school to see who's been visiting.
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