Mission:Explore, Camping and On the Road Editions, Review and Giveaway

by Dawn

Last summer, I had the great joy of reviewing a book intended to get older kids out and about in their own communities, exploring and completing “missions” that related to the world around them. Presented by The Geography Collective, Mission: Explore (linked to my review) impressed me with its creative slant, and the inherent confidence that older children need to be given opportunities to independently come to know their own communities.

Well, the Collective is at it again, and they’re taking their missions out of the neighborhoods, just in time for summer travel. Mission: Explore Camping and Mission: Explore on the Road are the perfect pocket-sized books to slip into the bags of your older elementary or middle school child when you’re getting ready to take a family road trip or heading out to the woods for a weekend camping experience.

As in the first Mission: Explore book, the idea at work is “guerilla geography.” This isn’t your traditional, straight-forward geography lesson, but one that encourages children to become familiar with their immediate surroundings through exploration. The Collective seriously understands kids, and the missions put forth in each book involve both writing and drawing activities as well as actual experiences that combine just the right amount of adventure, humor and trust in their abilities.

Each book contains fifty missions, perfectly suited to the Road Trip and Camping environments. One of my favorites in Mission:Explore on the Road calls for the reader to make a “car-o-graph” on a two page spread that has the letter A on the left side and the letter B on the right side. To do so, the child must put his pen on the letter A and let the car’s bumps and movements bounce the pen along the page to the other side. Funny, right? Definitely different than your average activity book, and much more suited to an older child than another “find the difference” picture.

In today’s day and age, one would expect a long and drawn-out safety warning section in a book that encourages older children to go out and explore. Well, there’s a safety section, though I would not dare to call it long or drawn out. Filled with tongue-in-cheek humor, it emphasizes the important (“If it’s hot, keep cool. If it’s cold, keep warm… Hats, sun cream, layers of clothes and water will keep your body happy.”) and still appeals to the typical humor of its intended audience (“Dirty water can make you puke and poo everywhere. To avoid getting sick, check the water is safe to drink.”) Personally, I feel that we often hold our children’s hands for much longer than is necessary, and at this age, they are much more capable than we often perceive. Some common sense and simple rules are just right, and the authors’ tone shows the confidence they have in their intended audience.

Do you have an explorer of your own who would enjoy taking this book along on your summer travels? We have one copy of Mission: Explore on the Road and Mission: Explore Camping to give away! Just leave a comment here to be entered, U.S. and Canada residents only, please. We’ll announce our winner on 7/18.

The winner of Just Too Busy is #29 katklaw777.

Written by 5 Minutes for Books contributor Dawn, whose adventure loving tween son adores these books. Their family adventures are chronicled on her blog, my thoughts exactly.

Email Author    |    Website About Dawn

When she's not reviewing books, 5 Minutes for Books contributor Dawn (and her online alter ego, morninglight mama) can be found blogging at my thoughts exactly and contributing to The DC Moms.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tennille July 4, 2011 at 1:32 am

we are starting to plant the seeds of adventure in our little one


2 Ann July 4, 2011 at 8:30 am

These look like awesome books!! I’ve been looking for something different for my older kids.


3 Tobias Steed July 4, 2011 at 10:06 am

Dear Dawn – Mission:Explore publisher here. Thank you so much for your great review. For those of you in the Portland area we are hoping to organise an event with one of the authors of the MIssion:Explore series in early August when Dan is visiting to attend a conference. We shall let you know when we have definitive plans. In the meantime, let’s Love Outdoor Play and get our kids out exploring. Best wishes Tobias, Can of Worms Kids Press


4 Dawn July 4, 2011 at 10:50 am

Thanks so much for your comment, Tobias. I personally adore the idea behind The Collective’s books– and I’m happy to spread the word here in the U.S. about these books. Sadly, I’m on the opposite coast, but if any event is ever planned in the Washington, DC area, I’m all over it! :)


5 stacie July 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I would so love to win this one! We are doing much more camping now.


6 SPEEDbit Video Accelerator July 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm

The American Camp Association (ACA) is a phenomenal resource. They have a comprehensive summer camp program available for families. They offer expert advice from camping professionals on how to choose a camp, child and youth development and all the issues that are of concern for families. Check em out! Thanks for the tips!


7 staceyk July 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Sounds interesting!


8 Mozi Esmes Mom July 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Sounds like a great resource for my daughter.

janemaritz at yahoo dot com


9 Melissa P. July 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I think this would be perfect for my 9 year old.


10 Some Lucky Dog July 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Our grandson would love this book!
someluckydog at gmail dot com


11 nan July 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm

we love camping
nannypanpan at gmail.com


12 Joy July 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Please enter me in the contest – my daughter loves to read and she loves to camp! Thank you.


13 Athena July 4, 2011 at 8:25 pm

This sounds like a great and fun resource for my kids!


14 Cindi July 4, 2011 at 9:40 pm

I love these books and know that our sons would, also…
Many thanks, Cindi


15 hollowsins July 5, 2011 at 5:10 am

These would be great for my boys..too cute!


16 riTa July 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

What great books for active boys, my grandsons!


17 angie July 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm

we are an adventrerous family and want our granddaughter to be as involved with travel as we are


18 Wendy M July 5, 2011 at 7:42 pm

When we travel to visit family it is a very, very long drive. This type of book would be just the thing that my boys could enjoy.


19 Ellen C. July 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I’d like to win. Thanks for the chance.


20 Dawn July 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Congratulations, Ellen! Please email me at morninglightmama (at) gmail (dot) com with your full name and mailing address, so I can get the books sent out to you! Thanks for reading 5M4Books!


21 Natalia July 7, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Great book!


22 Staci A July 8, 2011 at 9:36 pm

They look like such great books. My little one loves a good adventure, so I’m sure he’d adore them!


23 MIa Dentice Carey July 9, 2011 at 12:17 am

I have a lil explorer who would LOVE this!
Thanks for the opportunity!


24 Jill L July 9, 2011 at 8:19 am

I have 3 explorers that would love this book. We love to camp and just got back from a week of camping. They would all set off near the campsite to explore the stream and see what they could find. This would be perfect.


25 TRACY HEYER July 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm

My nephew would love this book.



26 Megan Earley July 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm

These would be great books for our family!
mearley1979 at gmail dot com


27 Francine A July 10, 2011 at 12:27 am

I would love to win these books.


28 cindy July 10, 2011 at 7:20 am

we’re always ready for new adventures!


29 Kristin G July 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Looks like a great way to learn!


30 Pat July 13, 2011 at 9:18 am

These sound like fantastic books!


31 June July 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Good old fashioned Summer reading for the whole family.


32 Nancye Davis July 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Sounds like a neat book! Thanks for the chance!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net


33 apple blossom July 14, 2011 at 8:06 am

cool giveaway thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com


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