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Guest Post: Go Geocaching with Your Kids!

As the Hounds in the Kitchen are cooking over a campstove in Canada right now, we've invited some of our favorite bloggers to come fill the space here.  Today's guest post is from Kristin Marks, the awesome CbusMom.

“We found it!” Cheers and excitement filled the air as we held our first box full of hidden treasure. It was a small gray box placed inside a tree log and inside the box were small gifts left behind by someone named namaste98. My children, a good friend, and I traipsed through Whetstone Park of Roses for almost three hours on our “Family Stroll in the Park” mission in search of this gray box. We were hot, sweaty, and tired, but determined to find that box to complete our very first Geocaching adventure.

Geocaching is basically high-tech scavenger hunting. Seekers use their GPS device (be sure it offers longitude and latitude) to locate a “geocache” which could be a box, bag, tube, or whatever the hider uses that is weather resistant. The website offers all the information you will need to go hunting: www.geocaching.com.

My experience was a really great one for the first time. I went online to sign up for a free membership and began searching for a geocache in my area. Turns out there are tons of geocaches hidden around Central Ohio and people have been doing this for years! I phoned my friend and asked her to come with me because I was a little apprehensive doing it alone with two kids. We chose the mission I mentioned above “Family Stroll in the Park,” mainly because namaste98 stated it was family friendly and had trinkets for children in the box.

We tried using only the google map we printed off the site’s page, but it gave a very loose frame of location for the geocache. So, I downloaded a free app for my Droid that told us where we were in regards to longitude and latitude because the basic GPS on my phone did not. Once we understood how to read where we were in regards to degrees North and West, we were on our mission.

The search lead us into the woods, we crossed over streams, patted nice dogs…and kept retracing our steps. The satellite signal to my phone kept bouncing off the trees and giving us incorrect longitude and latitude numbers; but, we reached the correct area, incredibly determined to find that geocache. Now, these geocaches aren’t always found. Sometimes you can search and search and not find it – and that is okay. It is the adventure of trying to find it that is fun.

After we knew we were in the correct area and not finding the hidden geocache, I was almost ready to call it quits. My friend asked “are you sure you checked every hollow log?” So I pouted a little and checked again. Wouldn’t ya know it?! I found it! Hidden by a broken branch in a hollow log was the little gray box we had spent hours trying to find. We opened it up and gazed at the little treasures inside. My daughter chose a piggy and my son chose a car; and if you take something you need to leave something, so we left a pirate figurine and some beads. We all felt accomplished and my kids got rewarded for their scavenger hunting abilities. When I got home I went to geocaching.com and logged my experience. The hiders sent me a congratulations email for finding their geocache. I’ll definitely do it again, and try not to pout next time.

Read Kristin's website, CbusMom for more fun family friendly ideas.