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Caching With Children


jhammer

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Today I went out and had my first find (and 2 DNF's, obviously need more practice). I took my 4 yr old daughter with me, this is going to be largely a her and Dad activity. Of course we looked for caches that were short walks and close to home. She was very excited, she even picked out some lightly used toys that she put in her Dora backpack that she was willing to donate when we "hide and seeked a box." After some hunting in a local park that had 2 caches, she was tired and it was time to head back to the car. She was disappointed that she couldn't share any of her toys, the one find we had wasn't a container cache. Overall it was a fun day, and if nothing else got us out of the house.

 

I have to assume that there are other people taking small children out with them. Anyone have any tips? I want her to enjoy going out with Dad, and likewise I want to be able to enjoy taking her out.

Edited by jhammer
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As was said keep trade items handy. Kids like to trade. They have no concept of whats fair in a trade, that's where you come in. Pay attention to the cache size. Only look for regular caches if you can and small if you must. Avoid micros. Most urban caches tend to be micros. Kids like swag and micros are disapointing for them because they are typically lacking anything to trade.

 

One on one time doesn't need to be all about the caches. Stopping for a soda or an ice cream can be every bit as important as finding a cache on a cache day.

 

If you have a camera bring it. It's amazing how the enthusiam that kids have looking for treasure radiates even on film. Plus kids love to take pictures of the things they find on their adventures. Enjoy your time, don't push them when they are 'done' otherwise you will burn them out on caching. You already seem to pay attention to that.

 

Mostly have fun.

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I cache with my 4 and 5 year old boys. They are to the point that they love it now. Bribes are a good thing. I got them each a notebook and bought a ton of small stickers. We keep track of how many caches we do and they get to pick one sticker for their book for each one we look for and I give them a penny for each one we find. Also, they each have a small fanny pack for small trade items that they picked out and sometimes they carry their own juice and fruit snacks. For when we go hiking, I go them each a $10 collapsable hiking pole so they can be just like mom. They do seem to enjoy it more now.

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Due to the cold, I was keeping a close eye on her energy level and comfort. I'm pretty sure had I been alone those DNF's would have been successful finds. But she's not used to being the woods, and she was hesitant to go into some areas without some encouragement and hand holding so we only had a quick look around before turning back. We spent more time looking at the stuff around us than for the cache. No big deal, I'll go back again. When we got back to the car we discussed it and we still both had a good time. Even though we sorta struck out, she is still looking forward to doing it again and she wants to go back out tomorrow afternoon, weather permitting. She is really into the idea of "sharing" her toys and getting someone else's toys, I couldn't help but laugh when she tried explaining it to my mom and a friend of mine about how we were "looking for boxes in the woods to put toys in" <_<

Edited by jhammer
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It took about a day for my 9 year old daughter to get hooked. She loves the hunt, the find, and opening the cache to see what's inside. However, she doesn't like earwigs, spiders or smelly dirt on her hands. As the previous poster said, bring snacks. Because the caches usually involve earwigs, spiders and smelly dirt, I bring along a small container of handwipes and we clean up her hands before she has her snacks. Have fun and your little one will be hooked pretty soon too.

Oh, and at the beginning, avoid the ones with long hikes in, unless there are several along the way. Sing songs, talk about important things, and let them hold the GPSr (with the cord secured to their zipper pull or jacket somehow). Also, if they get tired, you might be giving a piggyback ride back to the car. You might want to plan one or two outings in a straight line of sorts, and have someone waiting to pick you up on the other side, so you don't have to backtrack. That's a long walk for a tired child. Especially after all the "treats" have been found.

 

One other thing I do when I take my daughter, I make sure the caches we are looking for have been found recently. It is frustrating for children (and adults) to search and search with no luck, then to find that no one else has been able to find it for months.

 

The nice thing is that kids are close to the ground, so they spot things easier, and can crawl under the bushes to retrieve them. If you do see one, resist the urge to yell out, "Here it is! I found it!" even though it is very exciting for you too. Just guide them toward it and let them make the find. Then you'll see real excitement!

 

Have fun and pretty soon, your child will be finding them right off!

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I don't have kids, but I went caching with my niece and nephew (3.5 & 5 respectively) over Thanksgiving. I wanted it to be a positive experience, so I went out the day before and found the caches so I knew where they were, then I went out the next day with them and I was able to steer them a tiny bit, although they really were better at it than I am! They had a great time.

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Like was mentioned look for the size to be anything but micro. It’s hard for dad to drive by several micros on the way but I’m learning to keep those for myself later. Were lucky where we live and most of the city parks have one or two caches. There named along the same lines so there easy to spot. And sometimes for us with a 6, 3, and 2 year old the only requirement is that there is someplace to run and play, and the cache is sometimes secondary to the time spent together.

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Remember kids like the game, when it stops being fun, you have to do something to re-ignite their interest. If you're not finding the cache right away, take a break and make up a game of tag or something, then go back to the search.

 

The main part for me is spending time with my kids, so I probably focus more on that than actually finding the cache....

 

My oldest is 6, and likes to carry the GPSr, and tell me when the screen changes. My 4 year old is all about the loot - micros are a drag for him - but not yet too interested in the hunt...

 

Remember why you're there, to have fun. With that in mind it doesn't matter how many DNF's you have. One day a couple of weekends back out of 4 cache-hunts we found only 1, but I had a great day with the kids...

 

Cheers,

 

Arkayik

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As previously stated, micros are a big let down for the little ones. I try to hit caches near other things of interest. For example, my 5 year old loves trains so I hit caches near train stations whenever possilbe. We put some coins on the tracks and wait a while to see if a train comes by. We will take a ride on the 4 wheeler and pick up a cache on the trail. The best is, I use it as a boredom killer on car trips. Map a couple close to the highway and get the blood moving from time to time.

 

I let my son pick out the "treasures" that we buy (we only use new items) for the caches and then he gets to choose which to leave. We made a walking stick for his use and I try to let him find the cache. I just guide him in the right direction.

 

We have only been at it a couple of months but the promise of a geocache will get his room cleaned and clothes in the laundery basket everytime.

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We hunt some micros with our 4 year old DS but what we do it take an extra ball or little something and hide it somewhere where he can find it. This works because that way he will always have a little treasure from our day of hunting and in a couple of days we can reuse it in another cache.

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Try not to be too grown up while looking for the cache. If you don't look like you're having fun the kids won't either.

 

There are usually some free birding guides online or at the local nature center / park office / rest stop, etc. ...grab a few for the kids to try and identify some birds.

 

Your legs are longer, remember that.

 

Your bladder is bigger, remember that.

 

Little girls have a hard time going behind a tree.

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I am new to this whole scene, but have lots of woods and land navigation experience, thought I should give this a go. I have been meaning to for a few years. Today I went out for the first time, my 6 and 9 year old daughters with me. They had a blast, we took all the usual kit, plus granola bars, fruit leathers and juice boxes for the girls to keep em happy. I got such positive feedback from them, I think we may have a new daddy-daughter activity. They took a bunch of little SWAG things from home that they don't play with, they decide what we take and what we leave...Lots of fun!!

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Kids don't make good swag. Never try to stuff them into a "small" cache.

 

I wish this had been around when my kids were small. They would have loved it. Of course I probably couldn't have afforded to do this when my kids were small so......

 

You can try getting a small field guide to trees and plants. Kids love matching the leaves of trees to the pictures and descriptions and figuring out what type of tree it is. I agree that you may want to avoid the film cans with small children. They will likely be unimpressed. Hopefully there are some good "kid type" caches in your area. You might want to see if there is a local group who can advise you on that.

 

Welcome to caching and thank you for taking the time to take your daughter with you. I wish more people cared enough to actually DO things with their children. You won't find as many caches or see as many things while with your daughter but you will be soooooooooooooo very glad later on that you have those memories.

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Speaking of caching with children...I am the den leader for my step-sons cub scout den and was thinking of taking them on a cache hunt. There are only 5 boys and there parents. The park that we meet at for our den meetings have 2 caches in it. What do ya'll think about taking a cub scout den on a cache? They won't have to drive anywhere, it will be at our usual meeting spot, and just walking back to the caches. Should I go and find the caches first, just to see how tough they are? Or have them be the one's to find it, tell them about the GPS, let them take turns holding the GPS and guiding all of us? They already earned there Map and Compass belt loop, so they know about a compass and what is does. Could be fun!!! But they'll be upset because there is no belt loop for Geocaching. Maybe we need to approach the BSA on this <_<

Edited by uncleboogie
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Geocaching with the kids is awesome...we have 5 kids and with all the activities, school, sports, friends, tvs, Nintendo’s, etc life kind of just flies by. Geocaching really helps us to stop and smell the roses. We have seen areas around town that we didn't realize were there and we have had great family time. Although we are new to this geocaching thing, we have gone to atriums and had deer literally lead us to caches, we have been to historical places that we never knew were there and learned some interesting history, we have seen beautiful birds sore, rabbits run (and so far thankfully) snakes hide!, we have been spooked by a cat in a cemetery at night, we have seen some wonderful sunsets and sometimes we had to put on our thinking caps...to help decipher riddles and calculate coordinates. My kids are from 5 to 15 and we have learned some very valuable lessons while geocaching such as the need for some good ol' fashion "stick-to-it-ness", being persistent and not giving up. The big one is the rule that in order to get you need to give. Our 5 year old still struggles with that one but is doing quite well I might add. I only take them for 1 or 2 caches at a time so they don't get bored and I watch the terrain ratings closely. I have found there is some danger...for me... I yell to the kids "for those that want to go geocaching...get in the car"! … I was trampled and have the foot prints on my back to prove it... :lol:

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My 4 year old daughter is the one who goes with me the most. We usually make an afternoon of it. I always try to pick caches that she would enjoy seeing too - parks & playgrounds are a big hit with her. She likes to find the "treasures" especially if she can make a trade :lol: Sometimes I have to remind myself that the journey is just as important (if not more important) as finding the cache.

 

Have fun!

Edited by bahama97
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I know this is going to sound like, and its probably going to draw a lot of fire from others... But how about cheating a little... Find some really kid friendly caches, maybe do a prefind to generally locatre cache container so youngster can actually "find" cache with gentle nudge from you.... IF its about keeping kid happy anything goes.... Remember kids do tire easily so snacks, drinks and a little rest stop now and then would not hurt..

 

Dale

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Definatllly snacks, drinks, and all neccasary stuff, like klenex, noses run in the cold. One thing I sometimes do is find the caches I want to do with my two daughters, (7, 5 and my son who just turned 2 on 2/6, he did go cachcing on his B-Day,) is to go out ahead of them when their in school and find it myself, or we go with my brother in law if he has found them. Seeing that we have already found them I can watch them as they work thier way to the cache with the GPS, and we can help them out if they go off course. This way you are realy focased on them more then the cache because you already know where it is.

 

Micros are'nt always boring if they are cleverly disquised lake a bolt or race car, rock? We found one that the thought was a hoot, also micros at mauseams are fun.

 

What we get excited about ones in places we have been going to for years and never new about, Vacation spots, parks, playgrounds. I'm amased at the places people find to put caches?

 

At one Cache my 7yr old put in a swag itiem, then it was my 5yr olds turn, she put hers in and took out the one my oldest put in, go figure? We can't even bring home some new stuff.

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