Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to get started Geocaching

This week my A B See Photo Meme is G! G is for Grasshopper and Geocache!  The photo I'm using for the link up is an example of the many wonderful things you can encounter on a geocache adventure.

So whats Geocaching?
Well geocaching is basically a treasure hunt using a GPS unit. Caches can be found all over the world. They may be at your local park, at the end of a long hike, underwater or on the side of a city street.

How to get started?
To get started locate caches near you by creating a free account on the Geocache website. Feel free to add us as a friend we call ourselves the balman4! We are currently working on the GA state park caches. There are 50 state parks and 14 historic sites that participate. Your state parks may also participate just visit your state parks website or contact them to find out.

Profile for balman4

Next get a GPS unit. I use one on my cellphone that I downloaded for free. Or you can purchase a handheld one for around $100 on Amazon. Sometimes portable car GPS's will work too. Today we actually tried my husbands TomTom and it worked just fine after changing the settings to walking instead of driving. You will need to download or manually enter the geocache coordinates to your GPS unit. I print out the info too so I have it with me should something happen to my GPS unit. We also take a compass just in case.

So what's in the cache?
Well it depends. The container type and size vary. The GA state parks use a green ammo box. Inside each cache is generally a log book (you will want to sign) and various trinkets people have left. If you wish to take a trinket (which my kids always do) you will need to put one in. There may also be trackables.

Depending on the cache adventure you're choosing make sure your prepared and take plenty of sunscreen, bug spray, water, snacks, first aid kit and definitely a camera. Oh and of course your GPS!

And that's it really! You are now ready to experience an adventure with your family and friends.

How can you use geocaching in your homeschool?
This is a great opportunity to get your homeschoolers out for an adventurous field trip. It covers so many subjects (including PE) and can be an excellent learning experience. Each time we go on a geocache we discover new exciting things. We have learned about insects, waterfalls, birds, rocks, Indians, compasses, GPS's, rivers, mountains, flowers the list goes on. Gwyn writes and draws pictures in her journal of the things we experienced on our trip. My plan in the fall is to find unit studies or lap books to go along with our cache trips, such as this free spider mini helper on currclick.

Gwyns journal entry after Cloudland Canyon cache. If your wondering the top left item is a butterfly wing she found.
Further information about the geocaching game can be found on the Geocaching FAQ's webpage. Don't forget to also like the Geocache Facebook page.

Let me know if you have any questions!!!

Here a few snapshots from the 5 caches we've found. Since we are on a staycation this week we may try to fit in two more historic sites.

Amicalola Falls State Park
Fort Mountain State Park
Red Top Mountain State Park
Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site
Cloudland Canyon State Park


Joy said...

My husband has mentioned about us starting to do this as a family. We have just yet to work it into our schedule! LOL It looks like a lot of fun!

Kathy Balman said...

@Joy It is a lot of fun! Thanks for stopping by I hope you can make time soon to "Get Out. Get Dirty. Get Fit." That's GA geocache slogan.

Theresa said...

I've always wanted to try this!

Kathy Balman said...

@Theresa It is so much fun! We just did another one up at Unicoi State Park. Got lost and had a longer hike than planned but it was so much fun!

The Adventurer said...

We do geo caching by here in the UK. If you are interested am I doing a field trip link up for the month of June and July this would be a great post for people to see.

Dawn said...

We did this a few times and loved it. Thanks for the timely reminder.

Chestnut Grove Academy said...

I really would like to give geocaching a try, that or letterboxing...looks like so much fun, I've looked into it and they have both here on Oahu! Here from the field trip blog hop, hope you'll stop by my blog...feel free to link up as well...I have a blog hop there too :D

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