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Starting out with a 5 year old?


and_stuff
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Hi,

 

I've been considering getting my urban family (me =artsy/outdoorsy, husband = tech geek, and daughter, 5 with interest in math/science) set up to geocaching as a holiday gift. I can see how we could geek out with the Garmin Oregon 450, but will my kid be able to use it too? Is there a better device for a kid to start with?

 

(Other tips or links to tips to making it fun/educational with a kid appreciated)

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Welcome to the forum and the sport/hobby.

 

The Oregon GPS units are a great unit for starting out. A bit on the more expensive end, but well worth it. My wife and I started with the Oregon 300 back when it was first released (bought it the second week it was available).

 

As for your daughter using it... I am pretty sure she won't have an issue using it. Depending on her abilities, you could keep it as simple as set it to compass when nearing the cache and letting her lead.

If you are looking for something that she can call her own... A couple years ago I would have said look at the GeoMate Jr. It was a child specific geocaching gps that I can honestly say was kid proof.

 

As for tips with kids...

- Quick park and grab caches (at least with my boys) are not so much fun. Getting out of the car for ~2 minutes and back in is also a pain as a parent.

- Avoid nanos or micro caches (we refer to them as adult treasures). No swag in them and not a whole lot of excitement for kids.

- Carry plenty of swag to swap at caches. Thrift stores are great for this. My boys always love swapping treasures. A lot of the time, we end up simply moving swag around caches as they'll take something from one cache and place it in another for something else.

- Always carry drink and snacks.

- Have fun yourself. Geocaching is for everyone.

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If a search seems to take a while, and the kids get frustrated, say 5 more minutes, keep to it, then go on to the next. A treat (cheap, like an ice cream) can be a reward. 5 year old eyes can be sharper than ours, and they may spot the cache before we do! Keep a chart of the number of caches found by "junior" or even let them have their own account in due course...or now if you want to enter their logs!

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We started caching when our son was 11 months, and he loves it! Some good advice above; I'd also say keep it fun for them. You may have a list of so many to get on any trip, but don't be surprised if interest is lost after the first few. Just go get 'em next time. Be less surprised when your list for the day is completed, and they want to get more. :)

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for the first few, you might try to go and find them without the kid(s) and then go back and 'find' them with the kid(s).

 

Yes, this ^

 

Get yourselves sorted out so you know what you're doing, find a few easy local ones (proper containers) and then the day before you're going to do them with your daughter "seed" them with a few cheap trinkets so that there's something for her to find. Remember to engage her interest in other things along the way, too, so it's not all about finding treasure. (Unfortunately the reality is that few caches have anything of interest in them usually.)

 

After a few outings hopefully she'll get to enjoy the whole walk/exploring/doing stuff with Mum and Dad and the contents will not be so important. :)

 

Most importantly - Have fun!

 

MrsB

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