If you are looking for a fun activity to get your kids (and the whole family) outdoors, try geocaching. It's a "high tech game of hide and seek", which uses global positioning satellite receivers to find hidden 'treasure' and/or cool places that you might not have known about. It's especially great for those who like playing with technological gadets.

See www.geocaching.com (and www.mi-geocaching.org for those in Michigan) for more information.

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Here in Homer, Alaska we organized a family geocaching event in June 2009 to launch or 1st Homer Kids Outdoor Day. The day consisted of an indoor Discovery Lab entitled "Satellites for Science" where we shared info on how GPS units work, how to work them, how satellites are used by scientists to monitor both land and sea, and more. At one lab station participants could learn how to use and check out a pre-programmed GPS unit with waypoints set for a treasure hunt from cache to cache outside of our visitor center. Nearly 100 people of all ages participated, including an entire birthday party of middle school girls. We invited Cindy Samples from the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge to help with this event...she did a great training for local educators on setting up Earth Caches, Geocache Events, and Cell Phone Tours and helped put together the geocache treasure hunt. And she brought a bunch of GPS units with her for families to use at our event. We heard from several parents after this event that their families now had a new outdoor hobby :o)

The event's sponsors included the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, and the Pratt Museum.
From time to time we have geocaching workshops in our store. Although this free online seminar is a little dated (doesn't include information about the I-Phone Geocaching application), it can help get you started if you are interested in geocaching with kids.

Caching with Kids - Requires adobe flash 8 or higher

The two most important things for beginner families are to a) select a cache with a low difficulty, easy terrain, and large size and b) be sure to discuss the concept of fair trade before you find your first geocache. Doing this will start you treasure hunting off on the right foot.

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