You and your family are invited to join a treasure hunt that can begin near where you live and then take you all across the UK and many other countries worldwide.
Intrigued? Read on to find out more…
Join The Worldwide Treasure Hunt
This modern-day treasure hunt is known by its five million participants as ‘geocaching’. Many of those people have hidden little treasure caches in secret locations known as ‘geocaches’ across the UK, Europe, the USA, and many other countries. In fact, there are at least three million treasure caches hidden worldwide. And they’re all there, waiting for you and your kids to track them down.
Here’s how it works…
The people who hunt the treasure are known as ‘geocachers’. They go looking for hidden geocaches that have been placed in a specific location by other geocachers. The geocaches are small, waterproof containers that might be stuck to a gate post, underneath a canal bridge, or in other clever hiding places. The container will hold a little logbook (a notepad), a pen or pencil, and some items of ‘treasure’. The treasure pieces are usually low-cost items such as a coin, a keyring, or a small plastic toy.
The geocachers who hide them use a smartphone or GPS receiver to record the map coordinates of their geocache. They later log the geocache’s existence onto a geocaching website or app. Treasure hunters visit the website online or the geocaching app, take note of the geocache’s location and then search for it.
When they find a hidden cache, the geocachers record their names and the date in the geocache’s logbook. They can take an item from the treasure container but are expected to leave something of equal or greater value in its place for future geocachers. They then return the container to its original hiding place.
They can log their find and leave a comment about it via their geocaching app or the website. Geocachers like receiving feedback, so leaving a comment is something to be encouraged. It could be something like, “So well hidden. Great cache!” or “Nearly gave up on this one. Finally found it!”
7 Benefits of Geocaching
- It’s enormous fun for everyone in the family. Just picture the excitement when you and your kids set off for a morning, afternoon, or whole day of treasure hunting!
- It’s virtually free.
- You can involve your kids in the planning of every geocaching adventure. You can all plot your treasure hunting route. It will help your kids to learn the benefits of goal setting and planning. They’ll also learn how to read maps, plot a route, make sense of a compass, and much more. Asking them to suggest small ‘treasure’ items they can leave in each geocache will encourage them to think of others and to develop a sense of ‘fair play’.
- It will get your kids outdoors.
- It’s a great way to exercise.
- You can do it at any time of the year, no matter the weather. Just remember to wear the right gear for the weather.
- You will discover so many new interesting locations, even in places that you think you know really well.
Get Started Geocaching
You need to find out where the geocaches or caches have been hidden. The best-known website is www.geocaching com. Others include Opencache.uk and Terracaching. These websites provide information about the geocaches and the all-important map coordinates. You can sign-up to discover what caches have been hidden in your local area.
Access to a geocaching app will help you with locating the geocaches. There are numerous geocaching apps available for most smartphones. One of these is the free Geocaching® app.
Tips for a Successful Treasure Hunt
- Eat, drink, play
Treasure hunting can be hungry and thirsty work. Keep your treasure-hunting gang happy by taking enough food and drinks to last until you return to your car or train/bus station.
- Take phone chargers, a local walking map and a compass
If you’re using a geocaching app on your phone, it may use up quite a bit of your battery life. That’s why taking at least one phone battery charger, and a charging cable is a good idea. There are still locations in the UK that don’t have mobile phone reception so take a walking map and compass with you.
- Be sensible
Always put safety first. Plan your trip so that you return to your car or public transport spot during daylight. If your treasure hunt involves crossing a field, check to see if it contains any livestock before you enter.
- Be considerate
Close any farm gates you open. Don’t let your dog off the lead if he or she is likely to chase livestock. Take all your sweet and sandwich wrappers and drink containers home with you.
- Take plenty of pics
Ask your kids to take photos of interesting things they see on the way to the geocache. That will encourage them to look at what is around them and appreciate the beauty of the locations.