Kids bored? Try a treasure hunt!
8/2/2018 by The Mayo Clinic Employee Well-being Team
As summer wanes, are you hearing, "There's nothing to do!"? Banish boredom with a modern-day treasure hunt. It's called geocaching (jee-oh-cash-ing). Instead of hunting for a buried chest, you're looking for a cache of goodies hidden in above-ground sites. "X" still marks the spot, but instead of a map, you use a GPS system. The one in your smartphone works great, just search for free GPS/exergaming apps. At some locations, such as state parks, you can borrow geocaching kits.
So what's geocaching all about? It's one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities. Caches are hidden all over the world by geocachers who put together a hodgepodge of trinkets, a logbook and a pen or pencil, and, sometimes, a disposable camera. These items are then stuffed into a weatherproof box and hidden under a rock, behind a tree, under a bench or by an outdoor landmark or statue.
There are no dues to play or clubs to join. Simply log onto geocaching.com to access the more than 3 million cache coordinates. Geocache sites range from easy to challenging, and their level of difficulty is indicated alongside the cache's coordinates for easy access.
Geocaching is fun, but it's also educational (don't tell the kids that). As they sleuth for and identify clues, they're polishing problem-and puzzle-solving skills and learning navigation and orienteering.
It's also a great way to explore a Minnesota State park. Check out where you can borrow free GPS kits and attend interpretive programs.
Before you give it a try, you can brush up on your geocaching skills, read tips from an expert and a Minnesota Conservation Volunteer’s first-hand experience of geocaching with kids in our state parks.