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Starting with Kids


HannaRocks

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I am totally new to Geo Caching and thought that it would be fun with my 5 year old. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find ones that are easy and fun for my daughter to find. Our first find was while travelling on the east coast. It was a camo box with some small toys in a box half buried on a church property. She loved it. We also found another at a state park in Delaware. Since then we have struck out several times because the path seemed to lead into some heavy brush in south texas (Would be hard to explain to the wife how she ended up with a rattlesnake bite or something else) or are pointing clearly to something like an open spot in a parking lot at a strip mall and we find nothing.

 

My 5 year old already has made up little prizes to trade. Is there any way to search for ones that are 'really kid friendly'? One of these days I probably need to team up with a seasoned pro because I am sure that I can use some tips. Possibly I am taking some of the GPS coordinates too literally?

 

Steve in South Texas

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Is there any way to search for ones that are 'really kid friendly'?
Bring up a list of caches in an area you'd like to hunt, and look for Difficulty and Terrain that's 1.5/1.5 or less. Look through those for "Small" or "Large" containers (Micros are the tiny ones often in parking lots, with no trade items). The descriptions will sometimes mention the trade items that it started with, and if you're real lucky, says "it's great for kids". Look for descriptions that are pretty specific ("It's hidden in the large tree stump", or whatever). You can even scout out the spot in advance -- if you already know the container's in place, and where it is, you won't have the frustration of not "finding it" with your child, and you'll know if it's in a safe place to allow the child search.

 

But a container that's easy to find may not have a lot of goodies remaining. Some kids don't understand the importance of "trade up or even" -- surprising, huh? :). Anyway, prepare to discover that a lot of easy caches have nothing worth trading for. There are constructive ways to deal with that (teachable moments). But depending on the emotional stability of the kid, you might have a little toy "palmed" in your hand, ready to produce it "from the container", just in case.

 

Once your GPS shows less than 30 feet, you're there. Then it's time to rely less on the GPS, and look for hiding spots.

Edited by kunarion
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My kids, 9 and 10 sometimes love going out, and sometimes don't want to which is a bit of a drag while on holidays......anyway, while they do love finding large containers with swag in them (most of the time there are little trinkets that kids like), I think they enjoy micro's and nano's as well...ok, well,maybe it is me who likes them to find the nano/micro caches.....they are great at urban caches where nobody looks sideways at a kid climbing under a bench, or over some statue or an artillery piece or whatever kids like to climb. Makes for some easy finds in high muggle terriroty. I consider them one of my best geocaching tools next to GPSR!

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Definitely go for the easy and medium to large hides. Avoid micros and hides with hints that indicate the hide is up high (above kid eye level). We also choose ones that are in fun places to begin with - playgrounds, lake areas, beach areas and bring a picnic or at least a snack. That way geocaching isn't the only activity but just a part of the activity. Sometimes the adults end up searching while the kids play on the playground.

 

We've also ridden our bikes to hides that are along bike paths and looked for hides while out walking the dog. Kids that young have a pretty short attention span. It got easier for us after the child starting finding the hides before the adults. Kids are often quicker to understand hints and their lower view helps too.

 

It worked for us not to have the swag be the ultimate goal but to have the whole outing be the fun. It's easy to try and get them excited about the neat stuff they'll find but in our experience many caches didn't live up to the hype (for adults or kids!). Our goal is now to try and upgrade the caches we find and improve the experience for the next child. So we have fun swag that the kids have picked out and we talk about how fun it will be for the next kid to find. I hope you enjoy caching as much as we have. We have some great memories already of our finds.

Edited by teamblklab
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Sounds like you have done a few already. I was going to say to make sure that you are familiar with your GPS before taking them. Kids hate standing around while Dad figures out how to make his new toy work.

 

Also, depending on the kids, don't limit the terrain raiting to 1 or 1.5. A 5 year old should be able to do most 3 terrain caches just fine (and most people over rate tarrain if it is in or near a city anyway).

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Excellent suggestions. We certainly aren't giving up. Just will try to do more research in advance. I also think that we will try to create a fun cache near our house some time. I saw somewhere that you should get more experience in the field first... but it seems that the area may be ready for it now. :laughing:

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I also think that we will try to create a fun cache near our house some time. I saw somewhere that you should get more experience in the field first...
The more you find, the more you'll understand what makes a good hide. You may have already seen some caches that are less suited for small children (say, the rattlesnake ones). But one way to have a cache that has nice swag for kids, is to hide it yourself.

 

The previous post about first figuring out how to use your GPSr, reminded me of something. Hand the GPSr to your child, and let them guide you. Have a strap that loops around their wrist -- so you spend more time searching for the cache and less time searching for the GPSr. Maybe your kid isn't old enough yet, but she soon will be. She'll be engaged and involved, when she's directing the adventure.

Edited by kunarion
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You can even scout out the spot in advance -- if you already know the container's in place, and where it is, you won't have the frustration of not "finding it" with your child, and you'll know if it's in a safe place to allow the child search.

This is what I did when my daughters were younger. As they became more familiar with hides I no longer needed to "scout" the area before them.

 

As someone else pointed out, they are more inclined to search at greater length for the micros and find them easier than you would because they will crawl and climb over most anything.

 

I remember one day pulling up to a lot and saying to the girls, "I think there's a cache in this lot somewhere." As I was getting money from the ATM, my youngest walks over with the cache in her hand and asks me if I have a pen to sign the log. No GPSr, no hints, and no problems. The more you do this the easier it will become to find the caches.

 

Good luck.

 

Edited to add a word

Edited by ao318
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I have started doing a few with my oldest daughter (8), but only the ones I know SHOULD BE fairly easy. So far we have found 3 together, and soon a 4th, hopefully Sunday afternoon.

 

Of course my 8 year old is our country girl so I may start doing so harder ones with her as time goes on.

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