Being able to use a map and compass is a valuable skill that can be used in numerous outdoor activities.
Teaching kids these skills can be a fun family activity on a weekend. Why not start by introducing a map of an area your kids are familiar with (for instance your local neighbourhood map). Using a map of a small, familiar area can help kids to more easily relate what they see around them to what's on the map, and ultimately better understand how maps work.
Why not let the kids lead the way on your next hiking adventure!
Family-friendly clubs and associations:
- Orienteering ACT: Orienteering is a navigation sport where you visit checkpoints using a map.
- ACT Rogaining Association: Rogaining is a sport of long distance cross country navigation.
GEOCACHING - A world wide treasure hunt for everyone
A great activity for the whole family, Geocaching combines the best of both worlds, the excitement of an outdoor treasure hunt and technology provided by a smart phone or GPS. The kids won't even realise their brains and bodies are being exercised all at once.
The basic idea of geocaching is to use a GPS or smartphone to locate a hidden container - called a geocache - then share your experience online with the rest of the world!
Geocaching bridges the gap between technology and active play. It can be combined with virtually any outdoor activity and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.
It's a great way to bring friends and family together while having fun and enjoying unstructured, free-range play. Why not make it a part of your next family outing, holiday or sports club event, or set up your own geocache and watch how many people find it?
How to do a geocaching treasure hunt:
- Register at www.geocaching.com for a free basic membership.
- Search on the website for caches near you. You'll be surprised by how many there are!
- Choose one that suits you; make sure you check the difficulty rating.
- Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS device and get mobile.
- Take a pen with you and some small trinkets to use if you would like to trade knick-knacks.
- Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache (usually you'll find a waterproof box or a pencil case).
- Once you find it, remember how it's placed, open it up and check the contents. There should be a log book and some goodies.
- Trade your gift with something in the box - it's generally something of equal or greater value.
- Make an entry in the log book.
- Return the cache, placed exactly where you found it.
- Log your visit on the cache website once you've returned home.
Mastered it? Create your own!
Once you've mastered geocaching in your area, you might want to create, hide and publish your own geocache for other people to find. Put in a unique location that is important to your family, with meaning and significance behind your cache, just make sure that there is general public access or land manager permission. This is also a great option if there aren't many caches in your area. Be amazed by how many people passing through town stop by - it's like a massive secret society!
Need more info?
For more information on geocaching, visit these links: