Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Family Activity

Before Christmas, a blog that I follow A Peak into the Fishbowl had a post about geocaching. I had never heard about it but was intrigued by the concept. After doing a little research I knew it was something that I wanted to get the kids for Christmas. I purchased a unit for my niece and nephew and my SIL bought it for my kids. Since then we have been having a great time geocaching. We plan geocaching outings but sometimes I will take it in my purse and turn it on when we are out and about. We have taken friends geocaching as well and it is a great activity for a group of kids. The cool thing is that you are walking around to find the treasure and you don't realize that you have walked 1/2 a mile or even more. It is a great family activity that encourages outside physical activity and something that everyone can have fun at. What we have found out is that there is geocaching everywhere in our city and almost everywhere we go. A friend of mine recently went to Maine and found a ton of caches there. Some are really easy to find while others are very challenging.

Here is Andrea's description about geocaching:

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting type of activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) to find “treasure” a.k.a caches. There is a sizable geocaching community out there and there are caches all over the world, plenty of which are in Ottawa.

Participants can hide or seek a cache, or both. Seekers keep a log of how many they find, collecting their finds as if they were pirate treasure. (Alas there is no real treasure - no gold coins or strings of pearls as far as I know.) I should point out that the caches are not kept, they are always returned to their hiding spot.

The caches themselves are made out of waterproof containers and contain small items. Finders are encouraged to leave things in exchange for others (although this isn’t strictly necessary), and everyone signs a notebook to prove they were there.

We use a kids version of a GPS made my Geomate Jr but the Blackberry and iPhones have GPS apps that you can use. In Waterloo Park there are more than 7 caches hidden. To date I think that we have found around 25 caches. There is also an official Geocaching websitethat you can join for free that allows you to track the caches you have found but also leads you to areas that have many.

You can see the lime green gps unit around Mer's neck in one of the pictures. Each of the caches have log books that you can sign and sometimes we will take treasures and trade items that we have brought along. I purchased the units on line at Amazon.com. If you want more info on geocaching,let me know.

1 comment:

Tricia Orchard said...

Isn't geocaching fun?! We like to go as well and I think you are right that you get lots of exercise without even realizing! We also go letterboxing which is similar except that you don't need to have a GPS unit for it. Our kids love it too.