Geocaching with kids

Child holding a geocache box

We’ve all been there. You’re looking for ideas for outdoor activities for children. You decide to go on a family walk and it’s not going to plan. The kids are asking “Are we there yet?”, “Can we go home now” or “I’m bored”. I bet you’ve heard at least one of these from your kids, I know I have. Wouldn’t you like just once for your kids to be excited to go on a family walk? Well, I might have the answer, geocaching with kids.

How to start geocaching with kids

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I’ve been aware of Geocaching for a while now and often thought we should give it a try. Yet we never got round to it. I kept making excuses like being overwhelmed by the number of different apps (which is the best one? yes I’m a perfectionist) or not finding the time to sit down and read up on it (I’m a planner, I’m known for researching and planning down to the smallest details).

We eventually tried it and discovered how great it is for getting kids to enjoy family walks. We’ve found a fair few geocache now. My girls are 6 and 3 years old. Geocaching is like a modern-day treasure hunt and we all know how much kids enjoy those.

An open geocache box on woodland floor
An example of items that get traded in geocaches

We took our 9 year old nephew with us once and he enjoyed it too. Let’s gloss over the bit where they all fought over which item to swap when we found the geocache! It’s great to find an activity that is enjoyed by such a wide age range.

If you’ve never tried geocaching I’ll give you a brief overview of what you need to know to get started in this post.

How to start geocaching for kids

Have I confused you already with the terminology? I was completely confused when I was reading the app but this helped a lot. The main terms you need to know are:

Geocaching – a modern-day treasure hunt, using GPS to find a location where a geocache is hidden.

Geocache – A hidden container. These come in a variety of sizes. They usually contain a logbook for you to sign and the bigger ones have items for trade (such as small toys, marbles and occasionally trackables).

Muggle – A non-geocacher.

If you want to know more terms then here is a glossary of all the terms you may come across.

Child holding an open gecache and a plastic ladybird
We had to swap our item for this little ladybird!

Getting started geocaching with kids

This is the app we use is Geocaching. I’ve also heard good things about other apps but I’ve been happy with this one so far.

Child holding a phone hunting for geocache
The app guides you to the spot where the geocache is hidden

To get started, download the free app, create a free account (there are premium options but all the easy beginner’s ones are free and there are thousands).

Log in to the app and search at your location and you’ll hopefully come up with lots of geocache to find near you or at your favourite walking locations.

Finding your first geocache

Click on the one you think might be good to find. You’ll find a little description, there is also a hint and you can click on “activity” to see comments from the other geocachers who have found it already.

When you’re ready to go hunt for your first geocache, don’t forget to take something to swap such as a marble or small party bag toy. You might like to take a pen too to sign the logbook. 

Open the app and click on navigate. You’ll then get a compass to guide you to the location (ground zero), it also counts down the distance.

Once there, read the hint and hunt for the “treasure”. These vary in size from a large Tupperware box to micro-canisters.

Child opening a microcache
See how small some of them are

When you do find it, swap your treasure, sign the logbook and click found on the app and write a short message.

That’s it, you’ve found your first one and hopefully got your kids excited about walking again.

Hand with a microcache in it
This is a microcache which only holds a small log and no items for trade

Best places to go geocaching with kids in the North West

My favourite place for Geocaching so far has been Dunham Massey. There is a whole series of geocache hidden here. Dunham Massey is also a great pram-friendly walk Manchester.

If you are looking for more pram friendly walk in Cheshire here are my favourites.

We haven’t had time to try yet but I’ve heard good things about geocaching in the grounds of Wray Castle.

You might like (but not essential to get started)

I love the idea of this * geocaching adventures journal.

More great ways to get kids outside

This post is part of a series of posts on ideas for outdoor activities to enjoy in winter find more ideas here.

Scavenger hunts are another great thing to do on a walk. Get your autumn scavenger hunt printable here.

Geocaching is great to do whilst you are camping with kids.

Go find it cards are great for keeping in your bag for entertaining kids on walks.

Find 100 ideas for things to do outside with kids here.

As well as geocache there are so many other things to find on a walk.

I’ve written a post with lots more great ideas for fun things to do on a walk with kids.

Find all my favourite family walks North West here.

Find the best outdoor games for children here.

Want to share ideas with like-minded parents? Join Wildling Explores the free Facebook group for parents who love to get their kids outdoors.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been geocaching with your kids. Where is your favourite place to go geocaching?

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Geocaching with kids

4 thoughts on “Geocaching with kids

  1. Derek Baker says:

    Great article. I am an affiliate with the Geocache Talk network and we just started a new Podcast called “Geocaching with Kids”. We have been caching as a family since 2012. I love Geocache Talk – Geocaching Network | Geocaching With Kids Episode 1 – Who is Baker6Clan and The Nano Kids?, let’s play it!

  2. rachel says:

    I think a lot has changed now? It seems you have to upgrade for all the geocaches in my (and maybe other people’s) area?

    • Claire says:

      That’s a shame. I’ve just checked and there still seems to be lots of free in my area but sounds like that’s not the same everywhere.

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