Our Day Out Treasure Hunting with Pokemon Go
The latest craze, Pokémon Go, is a global treasure hunt - and we love treasure hunts. So, we just had to give it a go and see what all the fuss was about. Find out how Jane, one of our local Trail Writers, got on when she went Pokémon hunting with her three nephews recently.
Pokémon Go Alone vs with Friends and Family
First, I downloaded the app before my nephews (aged 11-13) were due to visit. I needed to find out what this monster catching lark was all about. After picking and customising my character I quickly caught my first Pokémon. I then ventured out of the house for a little walk to see what I could find. It was quite fun and rather satisfying catching a few monsters and grabbing some items at a Pokéstop or two. However, I felt a bit silly walking around on my own playing the game.
Playing with my nephews was much more fun. We chatted as we walked, compared notes, and they taught me about candy, hatching eggs and using incense to attract more monsters. We even stopped to chat with a couple of other teens at a Pokéstop. They pointed us in the direction of a nearby 'rare' Pokémon which we duly went and caught.
But, I'm a Trail Writer. So I wanted to see how catching monsters whilst doing a Treasure Trail would work out.
Playing Pokémon Go on a Treasure Trail
I've met plenty of Treasure Trailers who also love geocaching and have reported seeking out a few caches in between solving clues. Pokémon Go is a whole different story though.
As we set off, two of my three nephews were instantly glued to their phones. (The third was unable to play Pokémon Go as he had no data left on his phone - see Pros and Cons section below). So, while me and Nephew 1 (N1) read out the directions and worked out where to go, N2 and N3 followed along with phones in hand. Not a great start, and I had to remind them to look where they were going a couple of times. They did however cross roads sensibly, something which younger children may need to be reminded about. More on that in our 'Pokémon Go - Parent's Safety Guide'.
Anyhow, when we knew the first clue was coming up, N2 and N3 both asked for the clue to be read out again. Phones were lowered and the race to spot the clue first was on! Clue solved, treasure map location eliminated, we continued on. N2 and N3 caught a monster each before the 2nd clue came up. But again, they didn't want to miss out on searching for the Trail clues either.
Multi-tasking on the Trail with Pokémon Go
Three key features of Pokémon Go lent themselves well to our Treasure Trail experience:
- Hatching an egg. Halfway round the route, N2 pointed out that I had eggs and I should hatch one. He showed me how to put one in an incubator. This is when I discovered something great - in order to hatch my egg, I had to walk 5 kms. By the end of the Trail I'd made it to the 1 km mark meaning I needed to walk another 4 km to reach my Pokémon Go Goal!
- Pokéstops on Clues. A lot of the features with Trail clues on were also Pokéstops (locations in the game where you can get more Pokéballs and other items). N2 loved the fact that we were naturally stopping at these. Plus, he was able to use his Pokémon Go app to locate a couple of the clues before anyone else!
- Other Pokéstops. We had great fun searching for a mysterious carving on the outside of the cathedral. It popped up on N2s phone as a Pokéstop which was nearby. We searched and searched for ages before realising it must be inside the cathedral. This made a nice detour as we went in to investigate!
If you're still unsure what the game is all about, visit the Pokémon website to find out more. If you're wondering whether the kids should leave their phones at home or not when you do a Treasure Trail, take a look at our pros and cons of playing Pokémon Go whilst on a Trail.
- Pokémon Go is great fun - it is a treasure hunt after all!
- Grown-ups and kids can play together between clues.
- You can set your phone to vibrate when a monster is near so that you don't have to stare at your phone all the time.
- There's added reward at many clue locations with items gained at Pokéstops.
- The app drew the kids to other interesting features along the route between the Trail clues.
- With three very competitive lads, I noticed that there was less squabbling about who held the Trail / Pen and who crossed off the answer than on previous outings!
- It encourages kids to want to walk those extra kms to hatch an egg.
- It's free (apart from data costs that is!), so your day out is still just £6.99!
- Yet more screen time.
- You may need to set sound ground rules to ensure a good balance between looking at a screen and paying attention to the Trail.
- Safety - linked to the previous point. Make sure everyone is paying attention to their surroundings, especially when crossing roads.
- Some clues on the Trail can be solved by viewing images on the app - this could be considered cheating!
- Battery drain - the app uses up battery power fast.
- Data drain - the app eats data so if you're not in a city with free WiFi, keep an eye on your usage.
Conclusion - Pokémon Go or Pokémon No?
For me, it's a resounding Pokémon Go!
Why? Because we all had fun interacting with each other whilst solving the clues and hunting for monsters. My nephews were fully engaged in the Treasure Trail and solving the clues, and they were also able to clock up some kms for egg-hatching purposes, pick up items and catch monsters along the way.
So, if your kids are hooked on Pokémon Go, as long as you set some ground rules, there's no reason why they can't level up in the game whilst out on a Trail!
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