Monday, December 5, 2011

Treasure Hunting...For Real!


Between the Thanksgiving holiday and our family feeling a bit under the weather, I am way behind in my blogging.  I failed miserably at the 30 Days of Hands on Play challenge (hosted by hands on: as we grow and The Imagination Tree), making it only about half way through, but I hope to keep playing on my own with the remaining challenges I missed.  One of the activities I did participate in was Day 16: Go on a Hunt.  As it happened, on the day of the challenge, my play group was going Geocaching.  Geocaching is a real, life treasure hunt!  In order to play, you need some sort of GPS device.  This is used as your "treasure map".  Geocaching.com has an application you can download to your phone or device.  Once it's installed you log in and search your location for caches.  The basic application is free, but if you plan to play on a regular basis, you may want to pay the monthly charge for the upgraded version.  You'll receive more and better clues.

Before this event, I'd never been geocaching before.  Luckily, two moms in my group frequently play so they led the expedition.  
 The hunt was set up at Lake Murray Park.  We all set off, ready for an adventure.  
 The younger kids quickly became bored and found their own fun by throwing rocks into the lake.  
 
 The first cache was difficult to find so once the adults discovered it's location, it was moved to an easier spot for the kids discover.
 Now with geocaching, the idea is to bring something to swap with something else in the cache.  This one had a lot of junk!  I think most do.  I think one child did swap, but most of the kids simply enjoyed looking.
 The 2nd cache was amusing.  Hidden well, yet in plain site.  
 The kids LOVED that the cache was a duck decoy!  Again, the treasure was more junk.    
 We decided to hunt for one more cache.  My daughter, Ariel, loved the hunt!  She's almost 9 and at the right age for it.  Really, the little kids could have cared less.  They were simply happy running around outside with their friends.
 The last cache directions took us a bit off the trail.  Despite the slight protest of their dad, I allowed my little billy goats to climb the rocks.  Ariel was carefully hunting around the rocks for the cache but Michael just likes to climb.
 We didn't find the treasure, but we did find this awesome snakeskin between some of the boulders!  

So here's what we learned:
  • Geocaching is a lot of fun!
  • It's a great way to get outside and exercise.  It makes walking more exciting!   
  • Bring along some trinkets to exchange or to add to the cache.  
  • It's a secret so when you are searching, be sneaky.  Don't yell out directions, or "we found it!", or flash the cache around for "muggles" (non-geocachers) to see.  Some muggles will take the cache not understanding what it is, so it's best if they don't know.   
  • If your little one isn't interested in the hunt, it's O.K.  They'll enjoy being outside either way.  
  • Geocaching isn't just for kids!  I think the adults in the group had more fun then the kids.  It's like a puzzle and if you enjoy solving puzzles, then this is for you.  This is a great way to get your map loving husband involved in an outdoor activity!  
  • Geocaching is world wide and there are caches everywhere if you simply take the time to look.   If there aren't any near you, start one and log it.  It won't be long before somebody finds it. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, they seem to have had a great time with real life treasure hunt. I always organize scavenger hunt with my kids every weekend to serve both as a bonding time and a fun activity with them. I use our Christmas figurines to carry clues. Sometimes, I use eggs with math problems to make it a bit more challenging and intellectual. They just can’t have enough of scavenger hunts. Maybe next time, I’ll try to do what you did.

    Rosalinda Hone

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