If your regular walking routes are a little dull, here’s a suggestion from a rookie mom reader: Strap on your baby and go geocaching!
Shylo tells me she started geocaching while pregnant, in her third trimester, as an excuse to get out walking (although some of the more adventurously placed caches proved too much for her pregnant belly to manage). Now, her “fat little bundle”, Gus, at 11 weeks old is her companion so, technically, geocaching is new for both of them.
Most urban caches are pretty easy to access, even for the stroller set. Some off-trail caches would be a little tough for the stroller-bound, but for slingers or babywearers should find no barriers to caching.
Shylo explains it this way:
It’s actually really fun for kids. Basically, a geocache is a container (ammo canister, film can, magnetic hide-a-key, the possibilities are endless) that someone hides in a public place (park, forest, fence, hollow log, newspaper box, etc.) The hider posts GPS coordinates online. Then, other people use these coordinates and clues to find the caches. Inside the caches, there is a log and often small trinkets for trade.
It’s very nerdy, but a good way to teach kids about directions, respecting nature (there’s a saying, “cache in, trash out” that encourages cachers to clean up sites along the hunt) and even math, as some “multi-cache” require math to figure out complex clues.
You can find out more at geocaching.com. Do a search and see what caches are near you. Although there are handheld GPS devices from makers such as Garmin, you can also run apps on your iPhone. I use a free app on my G1 to cache.
Since Gus is nicknamed the Chicken, they leave behind tiny rubber chickens in the caches that are big enough.
And here’s a link to Shylo’s Flickr set where she records all her finds. The set is both cool and informative. She assures us that she’s not a huge dork but admits this habit is pretty nerdy.
I love nerdy so I don’t mind. But how often do you find a truly geeky hobby that includes sunlight and exercise (and adventure and cleaning up litter?!)?! Viva le geocaching!
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