Back in high school, Derek and his two brothers started a tradition whenever they went to Colorado to camp and hike: they took a troll and once they reached the top of a mountain, they would snap a pic with their colorful haired friend. When I saw My Gnome on the Roam, I was instantly reminded of Derek’s troll and knew it could be a fun way to document our family trips too. Last weekend, we stayed close to home and took “Rupert” (our gnome) geocaching– something I’ve been wanting to try with Mya for awhile… and with the help of Rupert, it was such a fun adventure!
First up, let’s discuss Rufus. “My Gnome on the Roam” is a family adventure kit that includes a book, journal, DIY customizable gnome, writing pen that looks like a stick, gnome tattoo and adventure guide. The idea behind the kit is to encourage adventures and create family memories. Many people choose to decorate their gnome, but Derek and I thought it would be fun to just write the date and location of wherever we travel with the girls. And Mya thought it would be fun to color the book… including the cover. You can download a free coloring book here.
Next up, geocaching: Last summer, Mya’s older cousins told us about geocaching, but up until that point, I had no idea what it was. (If you already know what it is, you should skip reading this paragraph!) Geocaching is kind of like an outdoor scavenger hunt where you use a GPS to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches,” at specific locations marked by coordinates. Caches are usually waterproof containers which contain a small logbook and pen. Once you find the container, you enter the date and whatever name (ie Rufus) 😉 into the logbook. Many times there are small trinkets within the container as well and the thought is to bring something small to leave in exchange for one small thing found in the container. Sounds like a kids dream, right?! Here’s what we did to gear up for our successful geocaching adventure:
1 || Download a geocaching app— we used this one. Scope out the area you’d like to geocache by searching your desired location. (You will have to enable your location in settings on your phone.)
2 || Pick out something small to later leave in the cache container. Think little plastic trinket from the arcade, gum ball machine, or happy meal toy. We did NOT leave Rupert in exchange for what we found in the cache.
3 || Pack some snacks to hang out and scope out your plan of action before hand. We went the super healthy route with strawberry milk and donuts to ensure we started off the adventure strong. Leah had a good grip on Rupert during most of the trip.
4 || Talk up the scavenger hunt with your kids. Mya got a lot more excited when we compared it to a “pirate treasure” and said that we didn’t even know where it was and she had to be the navigator to find it. With that being said, I was sneaky and packed a backup cache container to throw under a tree in case we weren’t successful. (Since it was our first time and I didn’t want it to be a bust.) We didn’t end up needing to use it, but it was a container like this one with a golf course pencil, post it notes, and little trinket.
5 || Choose your desired geocache and help your kid read your location and map of where you need to go. Derek explained this far better than I ever could to a 4 year old. We chose an “easy/ beginner” cache to help ensure success. And we strapped Rufus on for the ride.
6 || Find your cache! After stopping on the paved path a couple times to check the map with Derek, Mya found the cache pretty easily! When she opened the container, she seemed a bit confused because the “prize” was a polaroid picture of some high school kid in a K-state sweatshirt on a bus. I think she was hoping for something sparkly or a live animal. But Derek, of course, thought the polaroid was awesome.
7 || Complete your exchange: Write the date and code name in the logbook, take something and leave something in the cache. We took the polaroid picture and left a tiny orange flying horse. (Sometimes there is no exchange and you just document in the found logbook, but we chose to search for a cache that contained a “prize” to make it more exciting for Mya.)
We tried our luck further down the path with another cache, but didn’t end up finding it. Derek and I are losing sleep over it. Not really, but we want to go back! I loved this outing so much. We soaked up the scenery and had good times on our first family adventure with Rupert.
Another fun thing that My Gnome on the Roam created was the “Time to Roam” app. It’s totally free and you don’t need the adventure kit to play. Each day, the app suggests one fun 15 minute activity to do with your family. Today’s idea was “tell your child a story about something that happened at school when you were their age.” Whatever your activity may be, have fun adventuring, friends!
Thank you to My Gnome on the Roam for partnering with us on this post.