How to get children out for a walk? Try Geocaching.

“Let’s get out of the house and go for a walk kids!”

“NO! We want to stay inside.”

Does this sound familiar? Well, there’s one surefire way to get unenthusiastic children out for a walk. Try geocaching with the family.

What’s geocaching? It’s an updated and free version of a treasure hunt. All over the world people have hidden little “geocaches” under rocks, behind telegraph poles, in gaps in walls. A geocache is usually a small plastic box – often just an old camera film tube or an ice cream tub. Most contain a piece of paper on which you can add your name to the list of people who’ve found it before you. Many contain small free or cheap items which you can swap or add to – maybe a pebble, a small bouncy ball, a keyring. When you’ve added your name/item, you put the box back for the next person.

So how do you know where to find a geocache? That’s easy, you just go onto the the geocaching website and type in your location. There are thousands of geocaches across Cheshire, Manchester, Merseyside and North Wales. And they’re not just in the countryside. There are twenty-one geocaches within 1 mile of Liverpool city centre! Some are by famous landmarks, others are in woods, in parks, along canal paths. There are so many to choose from, you are bound to find one to provide an afternoon stroll or clamber for you and your kids.

How much does it cost? Nothing, it’s completely free. Although you’ll probably need to use a GPS app on your mobile phone.

Top tips for geocaching with children.

  1. Put the kids in charge! Obviously, you need to keep an eye on the map, but children will relish the responsibility of being the leader.
  2. Don’t forget to take a pencil to write your names on the list.
  3. It’s fun to take a small token item you can leave or swap.
  4. It’s important to be comfortable so have enough warm clothes, snacks and drinks.
  5. Choose one in a fun location. There’s a geocache near Chester Zoo where you can glimpse the animals! The one on the photo is a hill fort in North Wales.
  6. Set a manageable challenge. Even the most  reluctant walker enjoys a treasure hunt. So take the chance to stretch yourselves a bit but don’t go so far that you’ll all end up overtired and hungry.
  7. If there are a few geocaches close by, you could  do two or three in the same outing.

So why bother? Geocaching is one of those rare activities that is both genuinely fun for all the family and free. Plus it gets kids away from their screens for a bit of fresh air and exercise – no mean feat this time of year!

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