Counter Cultural Mom
We recently held a geocaching birthday party for two of our boys. Geocaching (pronounced “Geo-cash-ing”) is a form of treasure hunting which relies on a hand-held GPS unit for finding treasure locations.
For the party, I hid party favors in plastic boxes with lids. We hid 7 caches for this party around our neighborhood, but a park would work just as well. I made sure to mark each “cache” with a clearly marked sign, reading “Official Birthday Party Geocache”, in case a neighbor found a box before the kids did.
We took care to spread out the hiding places so the kids would have to work to find the treasure. After hiding the box, you stand over the location with the GPS unit and mark the location, or “way point”. Be sure to title the way points so you can find them later! When it’s time for the party, the kids can select each way point in order and move independently from one cache to the next. We only have one GPS unit, so the birthday boys took turns looking up the next way point and leading the group to the next cache location.
The GPS unit is accurate to within 50 feet, so there is still some hunting involved even when you get to the location. The children were given a page with encrypted clues, one for each location. Some of the kids loved hiking around looking for the caches, while others enjoyed pausing to try and solve the puzzles. We included this decryption key at the bottom of the clue sheet:
(letter above equals below, and vice versa)
Give each child a paper lunch sack to carry all their treasures in, and remind them to bring the empty cache boxes back so that you won’t have to retrieve them at the end of the party!
The clue for the last cache said “Cake and Ice Cream” when it was decrypted. We marked our kitchen for that way point, and the GPS led the kids back to the house for the rest of the party.
To find out more about the growing sport of geocaching, go to http://www.geocaching.com/.