How to Hide a Geocache With Your Kids
Want to create an outdoor adventure that other families can enjoy too?
Take your fun to the next level and hide a geocache with your kids.
With nothing more than a smartphone and a few items from around the house, you and your kids can hide a geocache for other families to enjoy.
In this article I’ll show you how easy it is to hide a geocache and share the adventure for months to come.
Why Hide a Geocache?
Have you introduced your family to the adventure of geocaching?
Geocaching is a hunt for hidden treasure using a GPS (or GPS-enabled phone). There are over 2.2 million geocaches hidden all over the world, ready for you to find. You simply log onto Geocaching.com to find the coordinates of a cache in your area, head outside and follow your phone to find the hidden treasure. Once found, you sign the logbook, trade one of the treasures found inside with something you brought to share and hide the cache container back in its place for the next treasure hunter.
It’s a lot of fun to find a geocache, but it can be even more fun to hide one.
Hiding a cache is a way to share your outdoor adventures with other families. And a cache hidden by kids for kids is extra-special—it creates more fun and adventures for everyone.
Hiding a cache will introduce other families to your favorite places, show your kids the value of giving back and create an outdoor adventure for other families with young kids.
Before you hide a geocache, you’ll want to find a variety of caches in your area.
Geocaches are hidden all over the world. This quick video shows some unforgettable geocache sites.
The more you find, the bigger variety of caches you’ll be exposed to. You’ll get a good idea of what’s already hidden in your area and what kinds of caches your family likes.
The types of cache your kids enjoy are likely the same as the ones other kids will enjoy finding.
While you’re finding geocaches, pay attention to which sites your kids enjoy most. Do your kids like some locations more than others? My kids enjoy caches in the woods, but don’t get as excited about urban caches.
Watch for the types of containers that are most popular and the contents that kids are excited to find. Most kids will agree with mine: the bigger the container, the better. Big caches have potential to have more goodies. So hiding a micro-cache may not work as well for a kids’ cache.
Once you gather some ideas about the type of cache you’d like to hide, it’s time to get started.
#1: Find Your Location
Finding a geocache is fun. Hiding one yourselves can be even better!
Be sure to pick a location where your kids will enjoy hiding the cache. It’s helpful to scout around for a good site before you hide your cache. Is there is a local park your kids enjoy or a trail near your neighborhood where your family likes to hike? These could be good places to start.
Keep in mind your location will have to follow geocaching guidelines. Check the geocaching website to make sure there are no other geocaches hidden in the area you’ve chosen to hide your cache. If there is another cache hidden within 580 feet of your location, it will not be approved by the volunteer cache reviewers and not posted on the site for others to find.
Watch this video for a quick review of where NOT to hide a geocache.
Be sure to follow the rules and precautions and use common sense when choosing a site for your geocache.
#2: Prepare the Cache
Next, choose and fill a container for your cache.
There are many options for containers. Geocaches come in all shapes and sizes, from film canisters to five-gallon buckets. Use a container you already have around the house.
Watch this video for some amazingly creative ways to create your Geocache.
The size of the container you choose may be limited by the location where you hide your cache. Make sure it will fit in the location you chose.
Since your geocache will be hidden outdoors, choose a weatherproof container.
Our container was a thoroughly washed plastic peanut butter jar wrapped in camouflage tape. A peanut butter jar is large enough to hold several trade items and small enough to tuck into many hiding places.
Let your kids choose what goes inside the cache. They may need assistance getting the container ready, but they will be more excited and involved if you give them the responsibility. My kids filled the container with some of their own toys and trinkets.
Items you place in the cache should be good quality, but don’t need to cost much. Ask your kids to choose items that they would like to find in a geocache themselves. Small toys that are fun to play with and easy to stick in your pocket are a good choice. Stay away from perishable items or anything with a scent that may attract wildlife.
Often, kids will take an item from a cache and trade it later for a new item at another cache. When your kids choose what items to put in the cache, you can be sure other kids will enjoy it too.
Remember to include a logbook and a pencil. Signing your geocaching name in the log book is the modern equivalent to an explorer carving his name in a tree.
In a regular-size cache, you can include a logbook big enough for finders to leave a note along with their signature. It’s fun to return to your cache from time to time and read what has been written in the logbook.
#3: Hide the Cache
You have your cache container ready and filled with treasures to trade, so now you can return to the location you chose and hide your cache.
Stand back and let your kids ramble through the park searching for the perfect spot to hide their treasure.
Let your children decide where to hide the cache. It can make it a lot more fun for them. My kids examined the entire park and settled on a hiding spot behind a tree close to the playground.
Once the cache is hidden, use your GPS unit to take coordinate readings of the hiding spot. Place your unit above the cache and mark it. To increase accuracy, you may want to take multiple readings. You want to provide the most accurate coordinates possible for others who search for your cache.
Make sure the cache is well-concealed so people don’t find it by mistake. You may want to label the outside of the container with “Geocache.”
Fun Fact: Non-geocachers are often called muggles. When a geocache is disturbed, vandalized or disappears it has been “muggled.”
You can keep the park or trail looking good by picking up litter around your cache. Geocaching and picking up litter is called Cache In Trash Out and there are events held every year where geocachers gather to clean up trash.
My kids nestled their cache behind a tree and covered it with rocks and leaves.
While you’re still on site, think of a clue other cachers can use if they need help finding the cache. This will come into play later when you submit your cache online.
#4: Submit Your Cache
The fun work in the field is over. Now you get to submit your cache to the geocaching website.
To get started, log into your geocaching account, click “play” and select “Hide and Seek a Cache.” In the right column, click the link for the “Online Form” and you’re on your way.
The website will walk you through 6 steps to submit your cache: Cache Basics, Location, Additional Waypoint, Description, Container and Ratings, Submit Cache.
Cache Basics: Name your cache and select cache type. The cache we hid was a traditional cache. Check the boxes to agree to terms and conditions to move on to the next step.
Location: Input the GPS coordinates for the location of your geocache.
Additional Waypoints: Adding additional waypoints could be helpful if you want to include coordinates for nearby parking, but is not important and not required.
Description: The description page allows you to include a short summary and a longer description. In the description, you can describe the location, the cache container or any other interesting information. This is also the page where you can add a hint for cachers who need a little nudge when they search for your cache.
Container and Ratings: Next you will enter the container size and ratings for difficulty and terrain. Our peanut butter jar is a regular-size geocache. I chose 1.5 for terrain because it’s an easy walk, but not wheelchair-accessible. I set the difficulty to 1 because it will not be a hard cache to find.
Submit Cache: When you click the button to submit the cache to the reviewer, you will get a chance to review the cache as it will appear when other cachers see it.
Once you submit the cache for review, it will be live on the website within three days.
#5: Enjoy the Story of Other Kids’ Adventures
Once your geocache is published on the geocaching website, the story of your cache will begin.
When other geocachers find your cache and log it online, you’ll receive an email. In each email, you can read the adventure of kids, families and other cachers who found your treasure.
With as much fun as my kids had hiding the cache, hearing about other kids who have found their cache has been the most exciting part.
You can join in their fun and follow the cache my kids hid, called My Kids Adventures, here.
Check on your cache periodically to make sure it’s in good condition and well-stocked.
Some Final Thoughts…
Hiding a geocache is a fun way to share some of your family’s favorite locations with others.
By letting your kids pick the location, fill the cache container with goodies for kids and hide the cache, you’re contributing to keeping geocaching vibrant and fun for other families with kids.
Geocaching is fun for adults and kids, but we can make sure there are enough caches geared toward families to keep kids interested.
Fun Fact: The world’s first geocache was hidden near Portland, OR on May 3, 2000. There is an Original Stash Tribute Plaque and geocache at the location to commemorate the first geocache hide.
What do you think? Has your family hidden a geocache? Please share your stories, photos and links to the caches you have hidden below.