In 2006 my good friend Alan Parkinson and I got together to create an activity book that encouraged (young) people to explore, play and learn outdoors through what we call guerrilla geography. We wanted to tackle the risk-averse parenting that is preventing children from playing outdoors and celebrate how awesome geography is at the same time.
Keen to collaborate on the book, we pulled together a team of geography teachers, academics, artists, therapists and creatives to form The Geography Collective and began work on Mission:Explore.
Over 10 years later and Mission:Explore is an award winning series of children’s books (Mission:Explore, Mission:Explore Camping, Mission:Explore on the Road, Mission:Explore Food, Mission:Explore John Muir, Mission:Explore Water, Mission:Explore National Parks and more). These included bespoke versions of the series of organisations such as the John Muir Trust. Mission:Explore John Muir, a free book, has been downloaded over 100,000 times. We’ve also taken Mission:Explore on tours around music festivals and turned it into cutting-edge apps and websites. The books are designed by Helen Steer and illustrated by the highly talented Tom Morgan-Jones.
Published by Can of Worms, here are all the missions inside our first book.
Mission:Explore also evolved into a project called Crafty Explorers. Funded through an innovation challenge by the Design Council, Crafty Explorers combined making clay animals with exploration to inspire and support children and families to go on adventures.
You can get copies of the books on Amazon and all “good” bookshops.