Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go geocaching with the FourAcorns family. Mum of the family, Annette, writes an excellent blog all about their family life. I ‘met’ Annette on the Geocaching Ireland FB page, and read her blogs on the family’s first steps in to the wonderful world of geocaching.
My creative juices started flowing and I thought about interviewing Annette as a new geocacher. She invited me to go along and find a cache with them and when I did, I realised the more interesting story is starting out geocaching with four kids under the age of 9.
I decided to take the family to Kyle Cache I, an old cache (from February 2001) in Kilmacanogue, County Wicklow. It’s a very short hike for fantastic views and a nice large container at GZ.
After meeting at the parking coordinates, I gifted the family an unactivated Travel Bug – their first. I hope that the kids will enjoy watching where it goes on its travels when they released it. I also showed them a few TBs I had with me (a few of which I ended up leaving in the cache). Annette told me they had seen a bug in the first cache they found but left it there as it wanted to go to Scotland. It was refreshing to hear that they didn’t just grab it blindly and leave it languishing in the bottom of a rucksack.
The older kids ploughed on ahead of us, as sure-footed as mountain goats and choosing the toughest route to get to the cache, instead of following the well-worn track. These were definitely kids used to the outdoors! Indeed, as Brian (dad of the family) explained to me, they spend a lot of time outdoors with the family, but there would be moans and groans from the little ones that they didn’t want to go for a walk. Annette added, “Every time we mention geocaching, as opposed to just going for a walk, they are out of the door like a shot! Now they do enjoy the outdoors, but geocaching adds an extra motivation to get out there.”
Annette first read about geocaching several years ago in The Green Parent magazine but they waited for their introduction to geocaching until January this year, when they found Europe’s First – what a cache to find on your first adventure! Immediately after finding their first cache, the oldest Acorn asked could they go geocaching every weekend.
The older kids had found the cache before I even made it to GZ – their excitement was palpable and they certainly seemed like pros, despite this being their third cache ever.
The youngest acorn wanted to leave his banana in the cache but mum and dad knew this was a bad idea. Their knowledge on geocaching etiquette shows how applying common sense and doing a little bit of pre-reading and preparation before starting out, goes a long way to making the game more pleasant for everyone.
I left the Acorns to take the long route back to the car as I took the path more travelled. It’s clear that the kids will have great memories of family time when they’re older. It made me realise what a gift it is to get outdoors with your kids and show them how amazing the world around them really is. Of course, treasure hunting makes it more interesting for them, too.
Annette’s advice for any parents thinking about trying out geocaching with their little ones? “Just do it! Chances are, you’re going to like it.“
Do you have kids that love to geocache? Let me know your tips for families starting out in the comments!
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