Listening to the "High Tech Treasure Hunts" digital buzz show inspired me to dust off my GPS devices and head out for a day of geocaching with my 3 year grand-baby and a gift of her choosing to leave behind. What a wonderful opportunity for both of us to get in some much needed exercise and problem solving at the same time. So I went to geocaching.com and discovered that there was a cache placed in the near by park; just a short walk away from my home. I started by giving Harmony the GPS device and explained the process (baby terms) as we began our walk. We observed the different leaves, birds, dogs and flowers as I guided her as we watched the arrow move closer and closer to the cache. Imagine her excitement when after coming to a huge rock in the park, she found the cache complete with stuffed animals, balls and noise makers. We had an interesting conversation on why she could only take one item and replace it with hers. After she finally made her decision to take Dora from the container and leave her Luther long-neck (giraffe), we set down to drinks and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Thank you Naomi for the topic and making this learning opportunity a reality! One for the memory book!
For those of you new to geocaching or who have placed your devices on the shelf, I challenge you to visit a cache near (http://www.geocaching.com/) you and make your own memories . . . don't forget to return to this post and share your experiences!
Seven tips for geocaching with kids:
- Engage kids in every step, from learning to use the GPS, to selecting and finding caches.
- Bring water, bug repellent, and hats on cache hunts.
- Let kids find the cache after arriving at the coordinates.
- Educate kids on the “take one, leave one” ethic of cache treasures.
- Pack out your own trash, or better yet, show the kids a great example by packing out other trash you may find along the way.
- Bring a camera and notepad and pen (to write down numbers of trackable items).
- Integrate science, history, geography, or geology lessons.
I have had huge success with children aged 10/11 years using Geocaching! They are involved in so many different skills without even realising it! We start with just looking at maps and finding the geocache location on an OS map. We consider distance 'as the crow flies' and real distance to be covered, then think about how long it will take to get to the spot.
Then off we go, after having considered the safety aspects of the route we are to take. Only having 6 GPS devices mean that children have to share the responsibility of navigation, but also have to be able to pass information to the next navigator.
When we get back to base we consider how to make a response on the website... what can we say without giving clues away, or personal information about ourselves, including photos.
Several of the schools I support now have their own caches adjacent to the school grounds and they can track where geocachers come from worldwide... which gets them very excited!
Somewhere in a morning's activity we have covered Maths (time, distance, estimation), Geography (reading and measuring from maps, compass work, where in the world) PSHE (safety, healthy living), P.E. (outdoor and adventurous activity), e-safety (response to cache owner) - oh and just for good measure... ICT!!
A great value activity which kids just love to the extent that some of them get their parents to sign up to geocaching.com and geocaching becomes a family activity!
I had a project with sort of a reverse Geo Caching a few years ago collaborating with the Science teacher on my middle school team (I teach Social Studies). We basically mapped the school and had the students plot the coordinates to create outdoor learning environments around our campus. They had a blast with it and got to use a variety of technology including google earth, GPS and presentation tools (the end result was pitching their ideas to the administration). We even ended up getting a school garden out of it.