May 27, 2016

Five things you should know before you take your kids geocaching!

Chances are, you’ve heard of geocaching. It’s basically a real-world treasure hunt using GPS coordinates. 

All you need is a smart phone with a geocaching app (I use the Geocaching® app), a sense of adventure and a little advance planning. Learn more on

My son has been geocaching since he was 3, as long as we picked easy finds and didn’t drag him on a 6-mile wilderness hike. You know your kid, so the best age to start geocaching depends on his or her attention span and tolerance for being outside walking around.

Our family loves this outdoor activity and we often will grab a quick cache whenever the mood strikes us. Its fun, its exercise and it’s easy – and almost free! 

Here are five tips to get your family started:

1. Dress to be outdoors: You will be trampling around in the woods, most likely, so dress for the conditions. Rain boots and sturdy clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, torn or otherwise treated indelicately are your best bets. Even in the summer we try to wear long pants and hats if we are going geocaching because you never know what you’ll encounter (thorns, ticks, snakes etc). Bug spray is also a great idea!

2. Bring a trinket: A lot of geocaches have trinkets inside (bouncy balls, coins) for you to trade. Save up your kid’s goody bag stash and give stuff a new home. One rule: NO FOOD. Remember, these are outside so don’t put any food or candy in the geocache container, lest it draw the attention of animals or bugs.

3. Take a camera: It’s fun to snap a pic of some of your more memorable geocaches. Most phones have cameras but sometimes we like to take pics with our good camera too, to remember fun finds, cool animals or amazing locations.

4. Learn the lingo: There are a few YouTube channels (I like the Geocaching Vlogger that break down geocaching and are fun to watch as a family. They are good to watch before you go out so you learn some of the lingo you find on the Geocache app (like CITO – Cache In Trash Out, which means take a bag with out and pick up litter while on the hunt). 

5. Avoid muggles – and be respectful: Another piece of lingo for you – MUGGLES. This is the geocache term for non-geocachers. Sometimes, you might have to go off the beaten path to find a cache. Most caches are there with the permission of the property owner but use your best judgment. Avoid private property (unless the cache says its OK) and don’t do any damage like pick flowers, trample landscaping or break signage or other features. Its better to be safe than sorry.

Geocaching is a fun and relaxing hobby the whole family can enjoy. Read up on the basics before heading out and most of all – have a GREAT time!

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer: