Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by Nature's Path Envirokidz as part of their Ecokeepers program launch. I only accept sponsored work that I am passionate about and am not influenced by compensation. All opinions, as always, are my own!
When I found about the new Ecokeepers Program, I honestly thought it was too good to be true! What a cool offering from Nature's Path Envirokidz. Here's the lowdown. Nature's Path wants to get more kiddos outside experiencing nature, especially during school time. They conducted a survey of 525 U.S. moms (ages 25-45) with children under the age of 13, which revealed that:
- Today, 81% moms indicated that their kids have adult supervision when they play outside compared to 37% of moms when they were kids
- 54% of moms say their kids spend more time playing in front of a screen than playing outside, while 11% say their kids are not interested in playing outside and 11% said their kids would prefer to play on an electronic device
- 35% of moms cite fear of letting kids play outside alone, 22% are too busy juggling other priorities and 15% say they do not have the time to supervise outdoor play
- When they can, 58% of moms do try regularly get their kids outside to discover nature; however, 94% agree it's important that schools also help kids to discover nature
So they're offering this amazing program that harnesses kids' natural curiosity and sense of discovery FREE to schools. Here's what your classroom will get when you sign up. FOR FREE. FOR REALS.
So not only do you get a free Geocaching kit to hide, but you get a 12 page explorer guide with teacher resources, parent info for kids to take home, and free EnviroKidz peanut-free, gluten-free, organic and non-GMO granola and snack bars to feed little tummies as you explore. Sweet deal, right?
We got to try out this awesome kit and the kids were SO EXCITED. We are big fans of geocaching, because basically it's like a giant treasure hunt. The kids each have their own stash of "treasures" they've compiled from the caches we've found.
The basics are this. Download the Geocaching app to your phone and load it to find nearby caches. I like to look for caches (this is the fancy name for the box of "treasure") that have notes about them being kid-friendly or containing goodies. Some caches are really tough to find and are meant more for adults (you might need to solve puzzles to find them, or they might be super tiny and hard to spot). As a family, we focus on the easy ones.
After locating a good kid-friendly cache on our trail, S eagerly took control and used the data from the app to figure out when she was close.
The caches are always somewhat (sometimes VERY) hidden. S turned over that giant chunk of bark to reveal the hidden cache.
We left our trackable ladybug from Ecokeepers in this geocache (trackables are another fun element to geocaching -- they travel the world and you can track their progress/location online) and a little packaged coloring book in here, as well as signed the log. The rule for "treasures" and geocaching is to leave something of equal "value" to what you took. Little plastic animals, matchbox cars, etc -- basically anything non-food-related, small, and water-resistant that kids would enjoy is fair game.
S was SO excited to find this really neat octopus charm to add to her geocache treasure stash.
Next it was time for a snack break. Nature's Path sent us all the flavors of their peanut and gluten-free granola bars to try and the kids took their job of sampling each flavor very seriously. X recommends the chocolate flavor.
S recommends the chocolate chip flavor.
After a snack, it was time for some journaling. These journals are free for your class in the kit! And parents, if your teacher isn't interested in signing up, don't worry -- the link above also has all the pages of the journal available for free download/printing.
I think our favorite thing about the journals was the awesome treasure pouch.
Both kids found some great natural treasures on the ground to keep in their journal pouches.
Finally we found the perfect hiding spot to place our geocache. Can you spot it? (Teachers, you get a free one of these kits to plant with your classroom in the kit.)
When choosing a spot make sure it's got some nice landmarks so you can give kids hints in the listing you make for it at Geocaching.com.
We had such a great time, and hope that loads of teachers and schools and camps will take advantage of this amazing program!
If you're a teacher, sign up here for your free kit full of goodies! You can use Ecokeepers to complement science and physical education curriculum.
If you're a parent, you can share this link with your child's teacher or camp director. You can also put together your own supplies by printing a copy of the nature journal here, finding granola bars here, and locating geocaches using the app from here!