Geocaching and hiking: An easy way to get moving outside

I remember when I was a kid my dad would take my sister and I geocaching. We loved it because it is a basically a big game of hide and go seek! Before I keep talking more about this, let’s answer the question “What is geocaching?” Great Question! Geocaching is “a game in which players are given the geographical coordinates of a cache of items which they search for with a GPS device” (Merriam Webster) Basically as I said before its a big game of hide and seek.

My elementary school growing up was a couple blocks away. My sister and I were old enough we would be able to walk to school. One day my dad figured out there was a geocache there. Now at this time we had done many geocaches! We loved going to do them! Sometimes we found them and sometimes we didn’t. When we went to the geocaching at the park attached to my elementary school, it was tough. We could not find it for a whole day! When we found it, it was as small as a dime!

When you go geocaching you use a GPS to help you find the cache. Sometimes they are big or they can be tiny! Anyone can go out and place geocaches in your area. All they have to do is put the coordinates into the geocaching.com site and public. Some people leave a big box so you can leave a goody and take a goody while, some of them are just a little jar where you can write your name on a pad of paper when you find it. To find geocaches in your area you can go to geocaching.com to look them up!

Now, Geocaching.com has an app you can use however, I personally do not think it works very well! What we have always used is a proper GPS. These can be used for more than just geocaching so, they are multifunctional. Even though they are a bit pricy they will last practically forever. Here is one similar to the one I have used before: Garmin GPS

With this GPS you just type in the coordinates and it will help you find the geocache! This is a great way to get outside but also have a ton of fun! Below are my suggestions for using it in the classroom/ at home!

In the Classroom

Geocaching in the classroom is a fun way to hit outdoor activities and lifetime skills in your classroom. During this you can teach them what even coordinates are, you can teach them how to work a manual GPS, team work and more. If you teach in a more rural area, you might already have a lot of land to work with near by but, all you need for this is land with existing geocaches. If your school doesn’t have any GPS you could ask for them from the district or right a grant for them.

With your students you can set up a scavenger hunt and they could go find them. You as the teacher could make the caches and program them into the GPS. Then, the students can go find them and can see who can get the most in a certain time. You could also go on a field trip to a local park and have your students use the GPS while hiking too.

A geocaching unit will be lots of fun and a great way to get outdoors. There are ways to modify it for every grade level too. You can make it super simple for elementary with lots of assistance while once they get to high school they can be way more independent.

At Home

Parents can also geocache at home with their children. You can send home a handout stating what you have done in class! Families if they have a GPS could use that or you can point them to get the geocaching or GPS app to help them with that.

You could even like I stated before make geocaches around the school and give the clues and coordinates to parents for a fun weekend activity. Another fun thing you could do is host a geocaching event! Parents could come and use one of the GPS that you have and do the geocaches around the school! There could be other activities too like other outdoor games (bean bag toss, hula hoops, etc.)

Overall, Geocaching is super fun. I know personally I have lots of memories of geocaching from when I was younger! Let me know if you have every gone geocaching! Do you have any memories of geocaching? Will you add this to your curriculum! Let me know!

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