JULY 10, 2019

Using Geocaching for Summer Field Trips!


Have you heard of geocaching?  It’s a relatively popular real-world game for finding hidden items with the help of GPS coordinates.  Geocaching is known as the world’s largest treasure hunt, and a lot of the fun comes from not only finding the item, but also from trading it with something of equal value.  The Geocaching app involves various styles of caches and navigation difficulty. If your kids are itching to spend more time outdoors this summer, geocaching could be a great idea!  

Though it is considered a game, it is simply a highly-popular outdoor activity for people of all ages, and it’s even enjoyed worldwide!  Geocaching is so fun because it combines the intrigue of treasure hunting with the mental and physical challenge of the outdoors.

How to Go Geocaching

Thanks to the Geocaching app, it is now a simplified and streamlined process.  Back in the day, geocachers would need to find coordinates in their area on various websites, but now the app makes it easy!  It looks like there are numerous features with the app as well, such as premium or basic levels. Simply download the app, create an account, and find a geocache near you with the geocaching GPS.  In reality, players don’t even need to use the app for geocaching. They just need an account to see the map with the location and a handheld device with GPS! In the end, it’s simple enough that you could probably even simply Google “geocaching near me”!

The fun doesn’t just lay in finding the geocache, though.  Once players find the cache, be sure to sign the logbook so others can see that you were there!  Then, you can usually trade an item of equal value in the cache for extra fun. These geocaching gifts can serve as a unique memory of your experience!  If you want, feel free to record your experience at the geocache on their website! The experience is definitely something the whole family can enjoy together.

Benefits of a Geocaching Homeschool Field Trip

Why use geocaching as a summer field trip?  As homeschoolers, we are always looking for the chance to make everything educational.  Geocaching is a fun game, but there are also several educational benefits that come along with it.  In the end, it makes for the perfect summer field trip. Your kids will be playing, exploring, and learning all at the same time!  Finally, geocaching is purely about exploration, and therefore that lack of structure makes it great for a summer activity when we feel more casual in our learning.  Not to mention, many of us don’t want to spend a lot of time outdoors in the cold! Here are a few reasons to choose geocaching as a field trip this summer.

  • Enjoy the outdoors. We all want to be outdoors during the summer, and this gives us the perfect chance!  It can be difficult to give energetic kids enough opportunities to burn off their energy during the school year, so the more outside time during the summer, the better!  Plus, soaking up Vitamin D is always a good thing.
  • Encourages exercise. Not only does geocaching get us outside, but it encourages exercise.  We have all heard by now how unhealthy it is to sit all day and on average, most of us could use more activity.  Geocaching is a fun way to get some movement without it feeling like a workout!
  • Helps us find new places. It’s always fun to go on adventures and discover new areas.  There’s so much more in our cities and states than many of us ever know.  Geocaching helps us get out and explore!
  • Teaches geography. Geocaching can be a great opportunity for teaching geography.  After all, players must follow GPS coordinates to find the cache!  Use this chance for teaching how to follow the map, look for landmarks, and find their way to the cache — with parental guidance, of course.
  • Learn more about your own neighborhood. Caches may even be in your very own neighborhood, which is how geocaching can help you learn about different areas nearby.  You may find a meadow, alley, birdhouse, or tree that you never even noticed previously!
  • It’s a fun activity for the whole family. As mentioned earlier, geocaching is a great opportunity for getting outside and exploring as a family.  The younger kids can either tag along or try to interpret the GPS, while the older kids can lead the way.  In the end, everyone loves a good treasure hunt! If you are looking for inexpensive ways to spend time outdoors as a family this summer, geocaching may be a great option.
  • Minimizes screen time. If you are looking for ways to minimize screen time without cutting the fun, give geocaching a try!  As long as an activity is fun and engaging enough, most kids won’t complain about the break from technology.  
  • Get social with Geocaching events. The Geocaching website also hosts occasional social events for players to meet each other!  If you are looking for social opportunities for yourself and the kids, this could be a fun option!
  • It’s a challenge! Geocaching is mentally and physically challenging.  Players must exercise their minds to follow the map and find the geocache, and also physically make the trek.  Certain geocaches are more challenging than others and may end up in unexpected places.
  • It explores the beauty and peace of nature. Since geocaching takes the players outside and in a variety of locations, it gives us the chance to commune with nature.  Every once in a while, we all need to unplug. Geocaching, while still utilizing a GPS, is a fantastic option to connect with nature and take a reprieve from the busy daily schedule.

Courtney Newman

Courtney Newman is a homeschool graduate and a freelance writer. Her favorite hobbies include reading, writing, and spending time with her husband and pets.