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Mission Explore Camping Paperback – Illustrated, 1 Apr 2011
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Cool, exciting and just plain fun! --National Geographic
Designed to be read, scribbled on, illustrated, smeared, scratched and sniffed, it may just be the most revolutionary geography-related book ever published. --National Geographic Education
About the Author
The Geography Collective is a group of eight young, passionate geographers with an infinite number of missions, illustrated by Inky Mess, aka Tom Morgan-Jones. Tom is an award-winning illustrator whose work is widely and internationally published, from children's books and magazines to satirical board games.
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There are 50 all-new missions guaranteed to get kids both involved in, and intrigued by, their surroundings. From playing a challenging game of hide and seek in bright clothing to imagining the campsite 1000 years ago, young explorers will have to use every ounce of creativity and ingenuity they possess to complete their missions.
Camping and making camps have always been educational activities but this book gives campsite play a focus and promotes deeper thought and reflection on encounters with nature. The book even encourages the reader to turn it into a living record of their adventures - my kids love scribbling notes, sticking in leaves, and making it well and truly their own. I hope that when they look back through the book in years to come, they will recall the days spent doing their fun and memorable missions.
Safety is addressed as a very important issue but thankfully it is not presented in a `cotton wool brigade' way. Instead it is Basic Training, with real reasons for following safety guidelines peppered with hilarious tips, making it relevant and understandable to young readers. My children were in fits of giggles about the importance of not sticking the book in your eye, or `weeing and farting' in your tent!
I asked my children what they thought of the book: "Brilliant!" piped up one, "It's exciting!" chimed in the other before begging me to let her take it on our next camping trip.
And the best thing: the kids ran off exploring and entertaining themselves for hours, leaving me to kick back and relax with a cheeky beer in the peaceful afternoon sun!
Ages 4 to 10, everyone enjoyed Bug hotel (with a visitors' book) and Ice melt (how long can you keep your ice cube alive). Surely no-one will do all fifty, but everyone will find one or two to enjoy.
It isn't just froth. There is a philosophy behind Mission Explore, and it is to do with looking again at the local environment, taking time to notice and learn from little parts of the world, and having fun outdoors.
We're a long way from Marcel Proust, but it was Proust who said that we shouldn't see new landscapes, but see landscapes anew. Mission Explore would probably agree.
There are helpful hints about protecting yourself and the environment, amusing illustrations and importantly for me tips on being a Guerrilla Geographer (I am a geography teacher). If you are a geography teacher these can be used a stimulus to gets kids to engage with their place, another place or even just a place in their heads.
Missions I like - Make a tiny map for a tiny person, Be a boot flinger and the one which caused a 7 year old to giggle and go ohhh at the same time Luvverly Poop