Five mappy activities for the summer holidays

Keeping everyone entertained over the summer holiday period can be a challenge, particularly if the British weather hits a damp spell. We’ve got five great activities, both indoor and outdoor, that will appeal to budding geographers and explorers.

1. Download the Minecraft map of Great Britain

Minecraft, the Swedish computer game in which you make things out of virtual blocks, remains hugely popular with users of all ages. With over 100 million copies sold, and more than 40 million unique Minecraft players each month, it’s grown into the Education sector and beyond. If you or your family are Minecraft devotees, why not try our geographically-accurate Minecraft map of Britain?

Looking up Southampton Water in the Minecraft map of Great Britian

Looking up Southampton Water in the Minecraft map of Great Britain

First released in 2013, following work by OS intern Joseph Braybrook, the map had 22 billion blocks representing the 224,000 square kilometres of our country. It even won us a Guinness World Record as the largest real-world place represented in Minecraft! We released an update in 2014 taking Britain’s Minecraft map to a staggering 83 billion blocks, perfect for a spot of gaming with geography combined. Download the GB Minecraft world and let us know how you get on.

2. Download our mappy colouring in sheets

You can make learning about the geography of British cities fun with our downloadable colouring maps. Or you can simply jump on the mindfulness craze and have a go yourself. We have a series of city maps, all using OS OpenData, available for the adult colouring phenomenon last summer and were flooded with mappy colouring in fans.


If you’ve already completed our set, fear not, as we teamed up with Laurence King Publishing and The Great British Colouring Map: A Colouring Journey Around Britain is out on 25 October. You can pre-order on Amazon and via many other booksellers.

3. Learn to read a map

compass-shop-1Map reading is an essential skills for explorers big and small. If you’re spending time outdoors, a trusty map will help you to get the most out of your adventure, whether it’s walking, cycling, horse riding or touring.

Take a look at our guides and videos to help you swot up on your map reading and navigation skills – with a little help from well-known explorer and #GetOutside ambassador Steve Backshall. Then #GetOutside and put them into practice. Plus, for little explorers, being familiar with an OS map will be an added bonus in their geography lessons when they go back to school!

4. Tackle a Mission:Explore challenge

Former OS Geovation Challenge winners Mission:Explore launched a new adventure book packed with challenges for children to try out, perfect to encourage the family to #GetOutside.

There are 49 weird and wonderful missions to tackle, ranging from eating like a local to creating puddle maps or navigating by the stars. We caught up with Steve Backshall recently and put him to the challenge, take a look:


5. Visit the MapZone

MapZone quizzes

MapZone quizzes

Our MapZone site is aimed at 5-11 year olds and is packed with games, quizzes and fun facts to inspire a love of geography. Give it a try!

We hope that gave you some ideas to keep yourself and the family entertained. If not, try our #GetOutside site which is packed with activities and ideas for places to visit around Britain. Enjoy!

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