Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Geocaching For Kids ~ A wonderful Homeschool Activity

Have you ever heard of Geocaching? The first time I ever heard of it I was a bit confused by it. After  some research and my first adventure out, I was hooked! It's so fun and it's also a wonderful homeschool activity.  

The word geocache (Gee-oh-cash) comes from two words. The first is the prefix geo, meaning "Earth". The second is cache which is a safe place for hiding or storing something.

So a geocache is something that is hidden somewhere on Earth!

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a real world treasure hunt using GPS coordinates and clues obtained from a website or smartphone app. Caches are hidden and logged by other Geocachers and include a log to sign and sometimes “swag”.

Geocachers can use the official Geocaching App to locate caches hidden close to their location. Caches are rated based on level of difficulty from beginner to expert. 

Information about the size of the cache is also given. Caches can be sized from micro to large. Larger caches are especially fun to find because they are likely to contain some fun swag. You can take a swag item if you leave a swag item in it's place.

Geocaching swag can be anything from homemade trinkets to official Geocaching swag items. Most are small and inexpensive. My daughters love finding the swag and bringing items to exchange.

Where are the geocaches?

Geocaches are hidden all over. If you go to the web site, you'll be able to find geocaches in your area. There are thousands of them all over the world! Usually, they are hidden on public land or on private land with the permission of the land owner. The geocaches are hidden well enough that people who aren't looking for them usually don't happen to find them. Some geocaches are easier to get to than others.

How do I find the geocache?

Once you find a listing for a geocache you want to hunt, click on the details link. Near the top of the details page you will see coordinates. You'll need to program these into a GPS receiver if you are not using a smartphone. Then you need to head in the direction of the cache. Sometimes there are clues on the details page to help you get in the right vicinity. Once you get as close to the geocache as you can by car, you'll need to hike the rest of the way. Use the coordinates to get as close to the geocache as you can. Be patient. You'll probably have to pace around for awhile as the smartphone or GPS receiver continues to find its location. Keep your eyes peeled and remember the hints. When you find the cache you will need to sign the log and place it back exactly how you found it. 

Why is Geocaching a wonderful homeschool activity?

Geocaching and homeschooling naturally go together. Especially when you want a family friendly activity that will get everyone out in nature with something to do. Geocaching encourages children to explore their surroundings while using critical thinking skills to find the cache.

Your children can learn:

  • Math and Mapping skills 
This is a fun hands-on activity to learn latitude and longitude. They can learn how to use GPS, as well as a compass, to find the locations of the caches.
  • Safety
They can learn how to be safe in the woods and in areas that may be a little difficult to navigate. 
  • Art
They can make homemade items to put into the geocaches. They can also draw and write about their geocaching adventures.
  • Environment 
Geocaching is also a great way to learn about the environment and also help clean it up. Cache in, trash out is a common activity.
  • History
Many caches provide details on local history. We have enjoyed being able to read and learn a ton about our local area and other communities.
  • Physical education
Geocaching is a great way to get out in nature and get exercise. Map out your path and take a long walk or hike to find your geocaches.
  • Nature Studies
They can observe their surroundings as they travel from cache to cache. What animals do they see? What about insects? Can they identify the different aspects of the local habitat? What about tree or plant identification? They can even keep a journal to take notes of their surroundings and what they find. My friend Marcy over at BenandMe has a wonderful FREE Nature Study Journal you can use.

  • Problem Solving

Many caches require geocachers to solve basic problems to identify the coordinates or even figure out how to access the cache once they find it. This requires a bit of creativity and some problem solving skills.


These are only a few ideas of how geocaching can benefit your child's education. You can get more ideas HERE.

FREE Geocaching Journal Printables 

Click Here to Download and Print our 

Do you like our FREE printables? Click Here to view more. 

(This is a nice addition to add to the journal)

Geocaching Websites for Kids

The Bottom Line

Geocaching is a great homeschool activity and can be fun for the whole family. Use geocache hunts to introduce your kids to new parks, new activities and/or the natural history of your area. It also can make a fun addition to your next vacation. Look up cache locations along highways and near hotels to make travel time more interesting.

Have you tried Geocaching? We would love to hear your stories. How have you incorporated Geocaching into your homeschool lessons?

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1 comment:

  1. Our family has enjoyed geocaching for years. The kids think of it like a treasure hunt. I love how they learn to love the outdoors and how much we need to protect it. They have seen for themselves how much garbage is out there and how quick it is diminishing. We take a garbage bag with us and the kids pick up any trash they see. I am proud of how much they respect the environment and wildlife.


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