Being A Backyard Explorer

After 3 months on the road we finally had to give back the Airstream and head home to California. During our trip, we explored 22 states, many cities, and countless points of interest within those places. Now that we’re back home, we want to make sure we continue exploring all around us.

Why is it that we live 15 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge and have never walked across it? We put off doing “touristy” activities here at home because we know it will still be there when we finally get around to it. Sometimes it takes traveling to other places to realize how much exploring you can do in your own town. It’s similar to the art events that I planned on the road. After 5 amazing family art events across the country, I can’t believe I haven’t done one here in the Bay Area! So I’ll definitely be planning a local art event soon.

Backyard Explorer Journal

It’s about time we bring this spirit of travel and exploration home with us. One awesome resource for this is the Lonely Planet Kids Journal, Backyard Explorer. It’s similar to our favorite travel journal that we used on the trip, but it’s all about having adventures at home and learning about the neighborhood you live in.

*Lonely Planet Kids is giving away $75 worth of books plus a copy of Backyard Explorer at the end of the post!

(Note: This post is sponsored by Lonely Planet Kids, but all opinions expressed are my own. I only share products I use and love. Thanks Lonely Planet Kids and thanks for reading!)

It’s full of prompts and activities for kids to investigate the world right outside our house. Some of the activities can be done in your home and some take you out on an adventure to gather information about your neighborhood.

In the few days since we’ve been back, the girls have already started getting into the book. Karuna went straight for the creative prompts like designing her dream home, while Ora opted to get outside and observe the neighborhood animals. She was quietly counting the various wildlife she could see from our backyard and keeping a tally on each animal in the book.

One of my favorite activities in the book is the “Spot the Lot” neighborhood scavenger hunt and the idea of challenging a friend to see who can find the items first. But there are so many other fun activities in here that would be great way to explore your neighborhood over the summer.


Lonely Planet Kids provided super fun gift bundles to raffle off at all of our art events on the road, so now it’s your turn!  They are generously offering one lucky winner a $75 gift voucher plus a copy of Backyard Explorer (For U.S. residents only).

For a chance to win, click here to hop over to Lonely Planet Kids and take a look at all of their awesome books. Then come back here and post a comment about which books you’d get with your $75 voucher.

Next Tuesday, June 20th at 12:00 pm PST, I’ll randomly draw a winner from the comments below and notify you via email. Lonely Planet Kids will send you the books of your choice up to $75 plus a copy of Backyard Explorer. Giveaway has ended: The winner is Trinity Honse!

Good Luck!

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  • Denyalle June 13, 2017  

    I would probably start with the Let’s explore books, and the first words Spanish book! I’ve been trying to figure out how to teach my daughter Spanish without a program nearby and me being the only Spanish speaker she’d interact with so I think that would be great! The travel books you’ve been using would be on my list too.

    • Megan Schiller June 13, 2017  

      Those books look great. I’d love to have their Spanish book too. Good luck!

  • Nancy June 13, 2017  

    If I won, I might get these books: You Rule!, Amazing Jobs, Busy Places, and Incredible Animals. They have many fabulous books!

  • Jean Holman June 13, 2017  

    Love all the books. Probably would get the My Family Travel Map, The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book, and The Cities Book.

  • Stephanie June 13, 2017  

    I would love to buy any and all of the books! I would start with Spanish, How Cities Work, Travel Map and the Jungle guide — all resources that would be perfect for an upcoming trip to Nicaragua!

  • Katie June 13, 2017  

    So many good choices! Probably the Atlas, any of the Adventures In series, Extreme Planet, The Real Wonders of the World. . . My kids love books with pictures of real places ? And Let’s Explore series, too- they love stickers ???✨

  • Beth Grushkin June 13, 2017  

    Hi Megan! My son won the Lonely Planet Books at your Chicago art event! He is NUTS about them. In fact, I ordered the Atlas and Cities book for my classroom to use. If I won the bundle, I would donate the Africa, Asia, and Australia books to our Montessori school. Thanks for introducing us to these amazing books!!

    • Megan Schiller June 18, 2017  

      That’s so great to hear!

  • Karen Wallace June 13, 2017  

    I would most likely get the international spy book and the animal books!

  • Danielle Velazquez June 13, 2017  

    If I won I would go for first words Spanish, my travel journal and pop up
    New York for starters! They all look awesome:)

  • Aurora June 13, 2017  

    Oh man, so many great titles to choose from! We’d love the family travel map and the travel journal!! The pop-up NYC book would probably be fantastic too. Wish they had even more cities! My kids would also probably love the Let’s Explore ocean, safari and jungle books! Anything with stickers is usually a hit ;)

  • Irene June 13, 2017  

    I would choose how to be a space explorer and adventures in cold and smelly places.

  • Jennifer Vanderslice June 13, 2017  

    I think my granddaughters would be truly fascinated with the Pop-Up city books from all over the world. What a great way to introduce them to travel and different cultures.

  • Natania June 13, 2017  

    The “Not for Parents” continents books and the Backyard Explorer look amazing. I also like the language series and Spot the Lot! Cool neighborhood scavenger hunt for kids! had never heard of these books. Thank for introducing them to us! I could list many more I am interested in as well!! LOL

  • Christy June 13, 2017  

    Wow, I love these! I would choose: Let’s Explore Ocean, the Amazing World Atlas, Marco’s Maze Mission, and Unfolding Journeys – Wonders of Egypt. :)

  • Allie June 13, 2017  

    We leave for 3 weeks in Europe next Monday. So the Paris trail and the London trail books caught my eye. I wonder if I can order them in time before we leave…! Off to check my local bookstore

    • Megan Schiller June 18, 2017  

      Sorry the timing didn’t work out for the giveaway, but I hopefully you were able to get some of the books from the bookstore. Have a great trip!!

  • Jessica Goldstein June 13, 2017  

    Wow, I didn’t realize what a great variety they carry. It’s hard to choose, but I think all 4 of my kids would LOVE Let’s Explore Ocean and Amazing Jobs, my eldest would really enjoy the Boredom Buster and Amazing World Atlas, and my son would love How to be an International Spy and How to be a Space Explorer. :)

  • Jessica Fleming Gale June 13, 2017  

    These books are great! Thank you for introducing them. If we won, we would choose “You Rule!”, “Amazing Jobs”, “How to be a Space Explorer”, and “My Family Travel Map”.

  • Jen June 13, 2017  

    Oh my, these are awesome books. I think I would get all of them!

  • Jen June 13, 2017  

    I have two rambunctious boys and a new baby so these books seem like a great way to keep older brothers occupied while I’m nursing, etc. My inquisitive two would love the Cities book, The Travel Book – which I’ve actually been eyeing recently- any of the Let’s
    Explore books and the Unfolding Journeys books. What great books. Thanks
    for the chance to enter!

  • Jennifer June 13, 2017  

    I would want the English book and the world explorer books!

  • Laura June 13, 2017  

    I would love to have Amazing Jobs and My Family Travel Map, along with any of the animal books. My daughter would be in heaven!

  • Margaret June 13, 2017  

    Curious what my kids would pick… I would choose The Cities book and the book on how cities work (both for 8+). We live in a small town and I want my kids to be able to navigate and enjoy the possibilities of the city! these look like the sorts of kids books I enjoy reading.

  • Laura June 13, 2017  

    $75?! You could get so many books! My daughter is only 2 but I believe it’s never too early to start teaching your kids to explore the world – both near and far. I was fortunate to have traveled a lot of the world in my early 20s and hope my daughter (and son on the way!) will grow up with a love to travel and a fascination for other cultures and places.. We’d start with the “Adventures in…” series. Age appropriate and they look so fun!

  • Jessie June 13, 2017  

    These books are awesome! I would pick My Family Travel Map, my travel Journal, The Travel Book, Boredom Busters, How to be an international Spy, and Not For Parents USA.

  • Kasey June 13, 2017  

    What a wonderful giveaway! I think my babes would love the Unfolding Journeys books while I’d love to buy both of the First Words Spanish and French so they can learn a second and perhaps third language!

  • Selina June 13, 2017  

    Ooh they all look fantastic! Lonely Planet was my best friend when I travelled many moons ago! Now I get to share with my kids! How fun! The Unfolding journeys in particular look great, and the City trails! My daughter though would love the mazes and pop ups!

  • Sara June 13, 2017  

    So many great options. I’ve had my eye on the travel and cities books for a while…but love all of the journals too for recording travels.

  • Simple + Free June 13, 2017  

    Honestly, I’d love to win the “Adventures In..” series for the new non-profit in started called Broken to Brave that delivers bundles of new, inspirational, life-giving books to children who’ve experienced hardships. I’ll fill you in soon…. love what you’ve been up to! ❤️

    • Megan Schiller June 18, 2017  

      Sounds incredible, Crystal. I can’t wait to hear more about it.

  • Jenna June 14, 2017  

    I would for sure get Backyard Explorer, the explore the city, and the mountains. All of the them look amazing!

  • Sabrina A June 14, 2017  

    We are doing “Around the World” ? Unit Studies in the Fall so I would definitely choose “The Travel Book” but would also be great to have something like “Backyard Explorer” to have some summer adventures! Thanks for this!

  • Holly June 14, 2017  

    So many! But I’d love to have the Desert book, since we live in the desert, and perhaps the cities book and busy places. All seem so versatile!

  • Allison June 14, 2017  

    The USA book and car book and boredom busters would be awesome! We’re taking steps towards full time travel and they would be perfect!

  • Tonia Peasley June 14, 2017  

    We are doing a pseudo family road trip (meaning only half our family is going) for 4 months starting in August. Our goal is to hit as many national parks and forests as we can. Exploring the city, Exploring the Rocky Mountains, Exploring the Forest would be at the top of my list to buy with the $75 voucher. I have three kids, older two are heading to college so we decided it was time to concentrate on the 7 year old and show him all the places we hold dear. I have a blog if you are interested, mostly from our years living overseas in Japan and Asia but I’ll start blogging again with our new adventures. Thanks for your inspiration this summer.

    • Megan Schiller June 18, 2017  

      Thanks Tonia, I’d love to check out your blog, but this link doesn’t work. Sounds like an awesome trip!

  • Trinity Honse June 14, 2017  

    So many good books to choose from! My daughter would love How Cities Work and The Travel Book. Thanks for sharing about Backyard Explorers. It looks really great for our homeschool exploring time. What a good reminder that adventure can be right outside our own door.

  • Tiffani June 14, 2017  

    For starters, definitely the How to be an International Spy book!! My 10 year old daughter would love that one. And any of the ‘cities’ books would be an awesome addition to homeschooling material. Thanks for introducing me to this re source and the chance to win some fun extras!

  • April June 14, 2017  

    I’m really interested in the Maze Adventures, Doodle Spot & Boredom Busters. I love the colorful pages and graphics on these books and think they’ll be great for all ages.

  • Fran June 14, 2017  

    What fun books! My boys would love How Cities Work, How to be a Space Explorer, USA Everything you wanted to know, Europe Everything you wanted to know, Let’s Explore Ocean, Adventures Around the World…maybe all of them :) Backyard Explorers looks fantastic and would complement our own adventuring right next to home!

  • Gina June 15, 2017  

    These are just fabulous! What an awesome give away.

  • Margaret Handshoe June 15, 2017  

    Wow! I never even knew that there were Lonely Planet kid books! I will definitely be putting some of these on my list for homeschooling! The first one will be the Atlas in the 8+ category! So many places to explore! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Lisa June 15, 2017  

    I am so glad you highlighted these awesome books! I love Lonely Planet guides and their kid books seem fantastic as well. My son would love the space books. He would also likely have a strong interest in My Family Travel Map and The Travel Book. There are so many great choices!

  • Olivia June 18, 2017  

    My 8 yo would go for The Travel Book and the First words French for our upcoming holiday in France, my 4 yo would take any of the sticker books, and frankly I want the How Cities Work book for me…

  • Dolly Burgos June 19, 2017  

    Wow these books are great thank you for the introduction have to invest in some …cites /pop ups &spy are my favorite .lm super excited to get some .really great series deserve more popularity or maybe lm in the dark but love them all.thank you lm looking forward to your local art post love SF and insprirations from your travels.have a great summer thanks for a wonderful blog.

  • Amanda June 19, 2017  

    Hello, New follower here! These books are great. It would be great to have a bunch of these in our home school classroom and while we are traveling. While looking at their website I started off with the Adventures around the globe. This would give us the first step in looking at the whole world, with fun facts and stickers. Of course we would like to get a smaller zoom in our city and neighborhood, the Backyard Explorer. This book really focuses on the fun of exploring, which I really enjoyed. Finally, the Lets explore… jungle, ocean and safari. The illustrations are fabulous and even label with the correct animal names. There are so many good choices to choose from! Thanks for sharing.