One of our goals this summer is to spend as much time outside as possible enjoying nature. Did you know that July is National Recreation and Parks Month? At the end of the school year, my daughter's teacher gave her a parks passport, challenging her to visit the local parks over the summer. It has helped motivate us to get outside and do some exploring. During our visits to the parks, we also discovered that many of the parks have hidden treasures called geocaches!
Be warned, geocaching is a rather addictive family pastime! Geocaching, a high-tech outdoor treasure hunt, involves locating hidden caches in parks and other areas using GPS coordinates. To see if there are any caches hidden in your area and learn more, visit http://www.geocaching.com. I imagine that, like us, you'll find the number and proximity of the geocaches near you surprising. Some caches are easier to find than others, and the locations and containers vary as well. We found one cache hidden inside a clever structure that looked like a wooden birdhouse.
So far in our searches we've found various trinkets and toys inside the caches, along with the logbooks that you sign upon discovery. My kids like to trade treasures and swap out the items in the cache. We also made a great find this weekend -- a travel bug!
Travel bugs are items stamped with a special trackable code. You can log into the Geocaching tracking website to log the code and view the travel map of the item. The travel bug we discovered started out its journey in Hawaii.
Most of the geocaches are kid friendly, though some are more so than others. The Dinosaur Train Themed Geocaching Challenge is one specifically designed with kids in mind, especially fans of this popular PBS children's show. Each Dinosaur Train geocache features a dinosaur from the online Dinosaur Train Field Guide and includes educational materials about the dinosaur.
Dr. Scott from Dinosaur Train always encourages young viewers to: "Get outside, get into nature and make your own discoveries!" Geocaching is a perfect way to do just that. Check the Dinosaur Train Geocache list to find locations near you. If your family is up for even more of a challenge, create and hide your own Dinosaur Train Geocache. [pdf directions] By the way, fans of the show will be glad to know a new season of Dinosaur Train begins soon. “Dinosaur Big City” premieres August 22 on PBS Kids.
Time to score a special treasure of your own! The Jim Henson Company has kindly offered to give away a copy of the new Dinosaur Train Lift the Flap board book, Let's Go to Volcano Valley! from Reader’s Digest. Lift the flap books are almost like geocaching -- fun to explore and you never know what you'll discover!
For a chance to win, leave a comment relative to this post or answer the following question: If you made your own Dinosaur Train geocache, what actual dinosaur would you feature [need help? - plenty of ideas at the Dinosaur Train Field Guide]?
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