Our little cacher, Sophia, is officially one year old! This internationally celebrated event also marks one year Jon and I have been parents. We’re basically pros at this whole thing, so I thought I’d share some tips and experiences we had while out on the field, geocaching with our daughter. We’d love to hear your stories about geocaching with kids. What advice do you have for geocaching with a toddler? How has becoming a parent changed your geocaching game?
My husband offered to watch Sophia when she was 7 weeks old so I could go geocaching with my younger brother. I felt alive! My brother and I zipped over to Montana, dragging dirt roads and collecting smileys. I didn’t want to lose my identity, my favorite hobby, when Sophia was born. Sometimes I think people are afraid they have to give up activities when they have a baby. This is not the case. Having to cut back on geo-time only allows me to appreciate each adventure more.
Sophia doesn’t even notice we’re geocaching if one of us quickly slips out of the car to grab a quick find. If we’re out running errands, she might even fall asleep. Take a drive during nap time – now it’s cache time. These were her first “cache memories,” sleeping in the car while mom grabbed some finds.
Many of our hides, finds, and maintenance runs include the stroller, so those along bike paths or our daily routes are super easy with a baby. Once she was able to crawl and move around, parks are also great places to stop and let Sophia roam. Again, Sophia has FTF-ed and placed caches while sleeping in the stroller. They sleep a lot those first few months!
Geocaching is a great date activity. We go on a mini day trip and drive the countryside for alone time. We’re grateful to have so many family members available to babysit. Did I mention Sophia is the first grandkid on both sides? Yep, plenty of babysitters.
Plan. Prep. Lower Your Expectations.
Babies require a little more equipment when caching. I quickly realized to lower my expectations. We won’t be doing a cross country trip any time soon. Filling our Fizzy Grid is also not a goal of ours; high D/T ratings are typically not possible with a baby. Sophia isn’t a fan of being in her car seat for a long time, so we have to take breaks (whether or not there is a geocache close by). Quality geocaching trips vs. quantity of geocaching trips.
My husband and I split up to fit in geocaching on trips. He might change a diaper while I run and find a cache. Or he’ll sleep in later at the hotel with Sophia, while I get up early for an hour or two of caching. He’s awesome for understanding my addiction and allowing me to participate when I can.
YouTube and Periscope
I discovered Periscope this year and the wide range of geo-vloggers on the web. Some days, Sophia and I snuggle up and watch a couple videos. I talk to her about what the vlogger is doing, what they see, or what they’re wearing. Geocaching can be very educational, especially since it’s an international game, at least that’s what I tell myself.
Thanks for reading!