Say, for instance that your brother has three kids. One is addicted to video games, one is a sports fanatic and the third is always reading some superhero or adventure story. You, being the wise and generous aunt or uncle that you are always buy them each a Christmas gift but frequently wonder if they will have forgotten about by the time they finish writing you a thank-you note. You know that the likelihood of convincing them to go hiking with you in slim but you want them to discover something new and introduce them to geocaching. It may even get your brother off the sofa.
Dragging a kid along for a hike in the woods is about as interesting to them as say, stamp collecting. You have the GPS, you picked out the cache, you entered or downloaded the coordinates. They follow you around while you tell them where to walk (or not walk) and where to search. And, chances are, you find the cache before them. But what if you could put all that technology in their hands and let them direct their own experience—with your supervision, of course?
Geomate, Jr. has developed a kid-friendly, durable GPS unit designed for kids who want to geocache. This new baby weighs in at just over 3 ounces—including batteries and is about 4"x2". And, it is incredibly user-friendly.
Loaded with 250,000 traditional United States caches already downloaded, kids can find caches and mark them as found while the Geomate, Jr. keeps a record of all their finds. Oh, and did we mention, it’s splashproof, shockproof and runs on AAA batteries?
Yeah, but can they really use it on their own, you ask? Well, with a power button and two control buttons it’s not hard. There’s a lot of information on screen—in fact, you may need your bifocals but your kid probably won’t have a problem. Losing signal on cloudy days or under tree cover is unlikely with this unit because, impressively, it uses the same technology (SiRFstarIII) aircraft and auto navigation systems.
Once your kids are hooked on the fun of geocaching and directing the game themselves, you can slip in some education information they may pass by. For instance, the Geomate, Jr. includes distance, direction, latitude/longitude and altitude information—everything you need to know to geocache.
You can find these units at REI stores or online at geocaching.com.com or the Geomate, Jr. homepage. The unit itself sells for around $70. The additional update kit is about $25 and supplies new caches and international caches. Before you know it, your kids will be telling you where to go—with the Geomate, Jr. of course.
Originally published October, 2009.