It’s been forever since I updated our blog. Sorry to have kept you waiting for new installments of boy adventures, but my goodness have we been having some. In mid-may we had our first experience geo-caching. If you haven’t done it, you can find out more on the official website. The boys loved it and definitely want to try it again.
Thanks to Kendra, who scouted out the neighborhood for good geocaches, the boys were able to uncover four secret hiding places. We attempted a fifth in University Park, near the wading pool, but despite an excellent effort, we never managed to discover it, which was very frustrating as people on the website reported having found it recently (and easily).
What I personally loved about the experience was the way that it added a mysterious layer onto what I thought was our very familiar neighborhood. Turns out there has been a geocache right in the alley behind our house for a couple of years. I walk past the spot multiple times a week, but never realized I was walking past something significant. It reminded me of the portkeys in the Harry Potter series. Ordinary places and things with secret meaning attached to them. Just like the muggles who can walk past portkeys in the novels and not realize that piece of rubbish can magically transport wizards to another place, we found secret little canisters and even snail shells that held lists of other people who had been on parallel adventures over the years. Every since we went hunting for the geocaches I’ve been looking with new eyes at the places around me. Where would be a cool hiding place around here, I keep thinking.
Our meanderings took us on a nearly 2 mile loop of the neighborhood. It’s a sneaky way to get kids to exercise, since they don’t even realize they are walking so far when on an adventure.
The GPS element is fun, and of course the boys loved taking turns holding the phone to determine which way to go next, but I also think it would be cool to do this activity again just with our boys in an old-fashioned sort of way. I’m imagining a two-part activity. The first week we would split into two teams and hide a series of caches. We would write out specific directions (street names, yards NSEW, etc.) as well as context clues (under something heavy or where moss might grow). Then for the next meeting the two teams would go out again to try and find the other teams caches. I like the idea of having them work with their mapping skills, and I think they might refine those skills better this way then with the GPS, but either way, I think we’ll be doing this again.