Recently on my personal blog I wrote about why geocaching is so great for kids (and for parents, too). What’s not to love? It’s a digital treasure hunt requiring a few basic supplies, a sense of adventure, and the ability to read clues (both written and physical – when you see a path in the long grass that leads nowhere for example, that’s a huge geocaching clue). But one of the greatest elements of geocaching is finding or placing trackables!
Trackables can be a number of different things – specially produced coins, travel “bugs”, even clothing, patches, and vehicles can be trackables. My experience with trackables is mostly with coins and bugs (although I did spot a man in a Disneyland ride line with a trackable t-shirt).
Here is how a trackable works: trackable items are available from a number of sources, including geocaching stores and organizations like Girl Guides who from time to time produce trackables to celebrate special occasions.
This geocoin was created by Girl Guides of Alberta to celebrate 100 years of Guiding in that province.
This travel bug was picked up in Montreal this summer. Its mission is to travel across Canada and then back to Montreal. We brought it to Alberta and will place it in a geocache here.
One of the great things about trackables is the ability to see not only where your trackable is, but where the ones you have found have already been. When I find a trackable with my Brownie-aged daughter, the first thing she wants to do is look at the map on the geocaching site that shows where the trackable has been. It’s a really great way to introduce kids to geography. Often other cachers take photos and post them with the trackable as well, allowing us to see locations around the world.
Trackables are also a great way to connect with other cachers around the world. Recently I discovered that a friend, and UK Guider, and her family also cache and we have decided to have our travel bugs “race.” We’re releasing one here and she will release one in the UK. The first one to reach the other family “wins.” What an amazing opportunity for my Brownie and hers to connect and be part of something together, even though they have never met!
This is really simple and a fun idea to do with a unit as well and girls of all ages can geocache with their unit. Sparks and Brownies require more assistance from their Guiders than Guides, Pathfinders, and Rangers, but they can all do it. Geocaching introduces kids to GPS, puzzle solving, geography, camouflage, and gets them outdoors. Geocaches are found everywhere — from cities and towns, to mountains and seasides, around the world. It’s a game played by millions of people worldwide. Why not try it with your group?
By guest blogger and Guider Heather Gardiner, 3rd St Albert Pathfinders/Rangers and Tamarac Area International Adviser.