Sunday, 22 April 2018

Popping Up in the Community 2018: Morgan Part 1

This is part 3 of a multi-part blog series about the pop-up adventure playgrounds we create in our own communities throughout the year. This is an example of how our pop-up adventure playgrounds work, and us using our namesake model and our own resources to work within our own communities.

*****

By Morgan

For more years than I can tally, I've moved too often to have a neighborhood of my own. I've circled Southern Vermont since 1999, but only recently planted roots. This winter was my first time hosting a pop-up as a local resident.

I talk (and talk!) about community, about making change where you are and claiming public space for play. A large part of my work is encouraging people to venture out, into their own neighborhoods, with nothing but a bunch of scrap and an idea, based on my experiences Play Ranging (so I knew it was legit), but there is something fundamentally different about doing this in the place where you live.

For one thing, it can be a lot more embarrassing.

*****

The library was a logical place to begin. Firstly, I love my library. I love all libraries, but this one is particularly good and a non-small part of why I moved here. The programming director, Anne Dempsey, was so enthusiastic when we met and totally got it about play. We decided on the front lawn as a location, and chatted about which materials might be a good match for changeable March weather. She arranged to promote the event on the town's only movie screen before the Friday feature, and her press release graced the cover of our local newspaper.

I showed up that Saturday morning with the steadfast vehicle crammed with bags of assorted junk, including pool noodles liberated from Erin Davis's barn. The snow itself was one day old, light but packable – much like that kinetic sand, if you kept it in the freezer.

At this point, I would like to quote the letter of support Anne Dempsey wrote for me after the event.
"From her tiny yellow car, Morgan pulled out colorful hats, mixing bowls, pool noodles, a pink flamingo, a small tarp with two ropes, some wooden spoons, and spray bottles filled with colored water. She placed everything on the snowy patch of grass. 
At first, nothing happened. No one came."
Now, I've spent many an afternoon while ranging or with pop-ups, sheltering deep under my hood in the rain without any children for miles. But there is something very different about that, when all the people going past are folks you'll be seeing the next day while getting coffee, and the day after that at the supermarket. I had a clear and definite feeling of failure, of humiliation. A couple of friends said they'd try to pop by and, like a bad party, I didn't know whether to hope they showed up or didn't.

Then, something shifted and I remembered the Actual Point of all this. It wasn't to display my work, or make an abstract statement. It was supposed to be about allowing more play to happen, which meant that if I enjoyed myself the day was automatically a success.

Back to Anne's letter:
"So, Morgan began spritzing the snow with colored water. She drew a hopscotch board on the sidewalk nearby. She invited people coming into and out of the library to join in the fun. At first, people looked embarrassed and maybe felt a little bad for her. After all, it seemed like a crazy thing to do. But people came around. A toddler and her father drew chalk marks on the sidewalk and scooped snow into a mixing bowl with a wooden bowl. A retired guidance counselor made a miniature snowman and squirted two spots on its head for eyes. Two children dueled with the pool noodles. A boy scooped up snow with a mixing bowl to build a snow fort. His best friend stopped by. They buried a toy alligator under the snowy floor of the fort. A child climbed up the trunk of the maple tree with the help of a rope tied further up. Morgan helped a child extend a tarp between the tree and the park bench. It made a good shelter!"






At its heart, a pop-up adventure playground is a tiny celebration of weirdness. When you host one, you're saying “look what a person can do here” and inviting others to join in. There is so much more potential for joy in the world than we usually allow ourselves to see.

Which means it's no wonder that this feels different, in that corner where we actually live.

Find out more about Pop-Ups Morgan on her personal blog here. If you want to host your own pop-up, check out our free resource pack here. Want to find out more about Pop-Up Adventure Play? Check out our facebooktwitter and website www.popupadventureplay.org.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Popping Up in the Community 2018: Zan Part 2

This is part 2 of a multi-part blog series about the pop-up adventure playgrounds we create in our own communities throughout the year. This is an example of how our pop-up adventure playgrounds work, and us using our namesake model and our own resources to work within our own communities.

******

By Zan

The children ran in to the room and stopped short of all the loose parts.
     "Hello everyone, you can do whatever you want with all the stuff I have here. If you need anything, the adults will help you" I said to them, sensing that they wanted some sort of introduction.
     "Yes we know" said a little boy, his eyes wide with anticipation.
     "Well, awesome. Whenever you are ready, you can go!" I hadn't quite finished my sentence yet and some of them had already launched themselves into the nearest box. The littler ones took more time. They wanted to receive their name sticker, and then cruise quietly around before diving in. Once they were in, they were fully in.



     "This is a great idea" said one of the adults who walked in with a baby tucked under her arm. "You should do this more often."
I smiled and explained that the pop-up adventure playground model was something that my charity had developed and that we'd been doing this all over the world.
      "Great! When's the next one here?"

Today's group of adults were childminders, parents and a couple of aunties. For the first time ever, I was running a pop-up adventure playground with one of my own small people present - my not-quite-3-year-old niece. When she arrived, we ran up to me very quietly and just stared.
     "Hello little one, there are lots of things for you to play with here, would you like to have a look?"
She shook her head and stared for a while longer. She is younger than the usual pop-up audience so understandably, she was a bit nervous.
     "Would you like to do some drawing?"
She nodded enthusiastically, so I took her hand, found some crayons and a cardboard box and she was in. My dad came along shortly to hang out with my niece so I was freed to go and be a playworker. I realised at that point that this was going to be a challenging pop-up for me, one where I would have to wear the hat of a playworker and that of an auntie. Fortunately for me I had asked Pop-Ups Andy and David to come and help out so they were able to support me while I switched hats. Every so often, a little hand would touch mine and I would hear the words "Auntie Zan, will you come play with me?". It was the most adorable thing ever, though I had to catch myself and make sure I was able to devote time to playworking and playing, non-concurrently. Being both roles at the same time took practice and I was definitely new to that.


There were more children at this pop-up compared to the last, and more boys. Play was a little less delicate and a little rougher around the edges. There were certainly some beautiful moments: two little people moving around metal door knobs in a cardboard box; little crawlers sitting in the middle of wicker baskets; older boys shuffling along the ground in a box singing "the wheels on the bus".



Challenging moments caught the attention of all the adults: when the biggest den was flattened and the children started jumping all over it; the game of chase with one unwilling participant; when David was captured by two little boys and tangled in a net. Though it felt challenging to us, it was a great moment to flex our playwork muscles. The children's behaviour was only challenging to us, they themselves are only following their own instincts and playing.


The two hour session ended quite naturally when a lot of the tiniest players started getting a bit too sleepy. This is the second pop-up this year I had been able to organise in my community, with more to come! I had a great session and was flanked by some great playworkers - I hope too that the children enjoyed themselves and really got to play.

Find out more about Pop-Ups Zan on her personal blog here. If you want to host your own pop-up, check out our free resource pack here. Want to find out more about Pop-Up Adventure Play? Check out our facebook, twitter and website www.popupadventureplay.org.

Past, Present and Future: The Pop-Ups Story

By Morgan

A conversation on Facebook recently veered into the weeds, as they sometimes do. We reflected on the back and forth of digital text and decided it was time to bring the conversation out of bubbles and into whole paragraphs. Asking us directly about who invented the pop-up adventure playground model highlighted some confusion among folks who are new to the field, and some who have been around for years.

Playwork is a beautiful approach that is older than we are, and much bigger than any of us. Suzanna and I have been in Playwork for more than a decade apiece, and one thing we’ve learned in both PhD and frontline practice is that the story of ideas matter. That’s not about ownership but inheritance. If you don't know the history of an idea, you can't engage deeply in its practice. How can you critique or improve upon something you don’t really understand?

Our small contribution to this field is the Pop-Up Adventure Playground model. We’ll talk about what we developed and what we didn’t, what we inherited and how we’ve shared it with others. So get comfortable folks, it’s time for a little story!


WHAT WE DID
In the UK, Playwork has been around for decades. It developed from the post-WW2 Adventure Playground movement and particularly took root in the UK, where people can get academic and vocational qualifications. That’s not the only route, and many great Playworkers have learned through practice, reflection and by being brought into rich site cultures of play. Playworkers also operate in public space (playranging) and in hospitals, schools, prisons and everywhere else children might be found. Each of these settings offer a unique application of core Playwork ideas, and new terms arose to demonstrate the particular skill set needed. For example, Playranging. This is where both Suzanna and I started, and involves taking kits of loose parts into public space - usually green pockets in public housing projects - and working with the children there perhaps once a week for a couple of years. This requires a different level of knowledge and sensitivity to community engagement, because you’re essentially working in other people’s front yard.

There have been Adventure Playgrounds in the US, some noted for their quality of practice (Adventure Play at the Parish School) and others for their steadfast longevity (Berkeley Adventure Playground).  But without a strong foundation of Playwork theory and professional development, we feared that efforts to promote these sites would be unsustainable at the national level.  What’s more, getting fixated on permanent sites misses so many great opportunities to support play right now!  Most communities don’t have, might never have, an adventure playground. We wanted a model that people could use themselves, in the communities where they live, today. A shifting team of dedicated people worked on this idea, including Sharon Unis, Anna Housley Juster, Suzanna Law, and myself.

The idea of a ‘pop-up adventure playground’ developed through conversation and practice. The idea, right from the start, was to explicitly combine playranging with community organizing, in a package that could be delivered by anyone and without formal training. We held the first in Central Park, NYC in 2009, with the support of other great folks including Erin Davis and Joan Almon. It was an enormous success, and a powerful reminder that, even in ‘real’ adventure playgrounds, the hammers and nails are not the point. Children’s play is, and sharing techniques that anyone can use to create rich and permissive environments for play, and knowledgeable, non-interventionist support.

We knew this model had to be as lightweight, engaging, and welcoming as possible, both to the organizer, and members of the public. It needed to be able to meet people where they are, whether wanting to do outreach from a school or library, or dragging boxes out into their nearby park.  It was a specific answer to the US context, designed to work at the grassroots and institutional levels, to build community and momentum, and to start making changes in children’s play lives right now. Over time, delivering these events would give the organizer experience in all sorts of playwork skills: checking the site, selecting materials, staging and cleaning, supporting play, explaining the event and play's importance, faith in the process, etc. We knew, from our own work, that these events would attract other local residents of all ages passionate about play.

There were also compromises involved. No playworker should operate alone, and yet we were empowering folks without training to make themselves, and these ideas, more public while flying solo! So we emphasised the most non-threatening of loose parts, and suspected that hosting pop-up adventure playgrounds would help organizers make new friends.  To support organizers’ individual growth, and that of the larger movement, we stayed as contactable and approachable as possible and started developing the online Playworker Development Course.


WHAT WE DIDN’T DO
Of course, people have been taking loose parts outside since… forever!  And many organizations in the UK have been hosting Play Days outside for years. These are also free and public celebrations of children’s play with loose parts and playwork staff. They’re an amazing way for programs to show what they do to a wider audience, and reach more local residents. But they don’t tend to be delivered by people who live in that community, or who are operating without the safety net of an organization and professional community.

Recently, Suzanna and I have both delivered pop-up adventure playgrounds in our own communities.  After years of doing other kinds of playwork, and years of pop-up adventure playgrounds, trust us that these things are connected but distinct. It’s not easy, to host these events and make a stand where you live, but it is rewarding in ways you could not have guessed.

The pop-up adventure playground has picked up steam in a way we never could have imagined. Clearly it resonates with people, empowering them to get started making change! People knew it would straightaway - the first person to contact us and ask to deliver her own pop-up adventure playground was Carolina Garcia of Bellelli Educacion in Costa Rica, swiftly followed by organizers in places such as Mexico, Egypt, and Uganda. They emailed us with stories of local barriers to play, and stories of how children were resisting these. We heard about villagers coming home after war, of teams of local residents determined to reclaim their inner city park from crime. We heard fears of liability, busy schedules, risk paranoia echoed by people in almost every context, every country.

It’s these people who made events happen. They dragged materials, photocopied flyers at work, shook hands with strangers, and tore endless pieces of duct tape for the children who showed up. Play has been marginalized, misunderstood, and all of us have baggage of our own.  To plant a homemade flag for play in public space, to declare that right here, right now, things will be different - that takes passion and bravery.

In short, we think that independent organizers are just the most awesome folks around.

These people are the movement.


THE PARADOX OF POP-UPS
Pop-Ups are simple to deliver, but they’re also a lot of work. They’re based in playwork, but most people doing them aren’t playworkers yet. They’re designed to make change in your own neighborhood, but people do them in lots of other places too. It’s easy to see how things can get confusing. That’s another reason why we want to encourage people to learn about the ideas behind these events, so they can be better prepared for however their project might grow.

We usually suggest that new independent pop-up adventure playground organizers start small, in their own literal or metaphorical backyards. Starting there helps do several things - it makes it easier to choose an appropriate site and collection of materials, uses and grows existing relationships with other residents, and gives the host credibility when talking about what life can be like locally. Making change in circumstances where those things aren’t all true can involve a lot of inadvertent steamrolling, often of people who have been steamrolled plenty already. That’s one reason training can be important.

For many local organizers, visitors start clamoring immediately for more - more events, ongoing programs, summer camps, collaborations. At each of these, parents and children begin to trust one another more and connect differently.  They play harder, longer, deeper, and want the project to grow with them.  Supporting their play through this process requires more training, too.

Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds are designed to spark conversations, build connections in the warmest and most inclusive way possible.  They’re a great way of testing the waters locally, getting practice and attracting attention to an idea.  An event or two can be delivered very effectively without training - but beyond that, you need more information, and a professional community of support.


YESTERDAY AND TOMORROW
This model is so dear to our hearts, we made it the name of our organization. So it’s been a little strange, to see this phrase become part of public and professional vocabulary in a way it simply wasn’t before. We’ve even heard it used by people in the UK! Today we have more than 250 registered independent organizers in over 22 countries, the vast majority of whom we’ll never meet. In an important sense, that’s the greatest possible compliment. It can also be a little scary.

We asked people to register their events, a process which takes 2 minutes and costs nothing. That’s so we could chat them through the process and make sure they both felt and were prepared. We gave a lot of encouragement, heard their stories and reflections (posting many on our blog) and visited during tours whenever we could.  Some people hosted one pop-up, others hosted dozens. Many we never spoke with again, and several have become truly great friends. Registration was never about tracking or monitoring, but about connecting with the people and welcoming them into the field, just as they would be welcoming people to the event.

Not least, we wanted to send them lots of free info on playwork!

There was also an element of anxiety for control there, we’ll admit it.  We’ve heard folks explain these events to others, saying “it’s so easy you just bring out junk and kids play with it!” While that’s true, it’s definitely not the whole truth. Worse, it contributes to a worrying tendency among new Adventure Playground enthusiasts to love the site and forget the staff. Adventure Playgrounds simply don’t work without trained playwork staff, and we’ll keep repeating that forever.

Others have told us they’re doing these events because they “love danger”. Now, to increase children’s access to risk without preparation or professional community - that’s a hazard! And the difference between hazard and risk is one of the many fine topics covered in playwork training. We’ve also seen organizations take this model , standardize it, and roll it out on a massive scale. So we ask that event organizers share our info onsite so everyone who attends a pop-up knows they can host their own, and come to us directly for support and training. We want to make sure these are recognized as events that anyone can host themselves, at any scale, and not as a provision delivered from on high.


WHAT NOW
Playworkers tend to want to be invisible but that doesn’t really work among professionals.

The phrase ‘pop-up adventure playground’ has officially gone beyond us. To us, that’s a sign of its success thanks to the hard work and inspiration of so many people. We’ve decided it’s time to become even more transparent about what these events are, where they come from, and how to do your own. The question of how to be more useful has guided us from the beginning - that’s why we’re YOUR play association!

We want to make it as easy as possible for anyone who wants to to host their own extraordinary, responsive, etc pop-ups, and to know that we’re here to help.

That’s why we’re making our Resource Pack completely public, starting with our Principles. The Resource Pack is currently undergoing some renovation work thanks to Maayan Bar-Yam, and we’ll let you know when it’s ready. In the meantime, here are the 7 Principles of Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds, which we’ve used since the very beginning and is part of the Resource Pack. Feel free to call any event that follows them a pop-up adventure playground.


We would still love it if you let us know what you’re up to, so we can help celebrate it. We are always available by email, or if you prefer, Facebook and Twitter are great platforms to reach us too. We look forward to hearing from you and your pop-up adventure playgrounds! 

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Your Favourite Open-Ended Object For Play

By Morgan

We have a slow but steady trickle of requests coming in from other organizations. They want to use Suzanna's photographs of children at play, get a quote or opinion.  It's very rarely promoting something specific, and usually about creating shared content we all need to feed the ever-hungry great beast called Internet. Most recently, Playground Ideas asked for our list of the “10 Best Loose Parts”. They were asking several different folks and non-profits, and all would be gathered together into a bouquet of enthusiasm. 

Now, we know that these lists are problematic. They can be simplistic and reductive, suggesting a 1:1 relationship of Thing and Play that dovetails with forces of commercialization and capitalism in ways that genuinely harm children. They also divorce object from context, ignoring the way an adult's involvement around a loose part can prevent it from being loose in the first place. This contributes to the idea that adults managing a play environment in any way (for example, by using the playwork approach) have an absurdly easy time.  All their skill and nuance of material selection and deployment, all of the complex ways in which good sites evolve in compensatory response to its larger context... all this is missing from that conversation.

When this email came in, though, we were feeling a little silly.  It was a lot more fun than most other requests, and we have had wonderful conversations with folks new to the field of play which began by reminiscing over favorite objects.  We've also pushed back our chairs to laugh, in conversation with colleagues over the years, when recalling particularly good dumpster dive or donation, those weeks that followed of spectacular richness through an abundance of house bricks, pine cones, odd plastic shapes, gold cloth, catering dish sets. 

This list was never intended to be prescriptive, only an invitation to remember those moments for yourself.  What stick did you find, and walk with tall through a muddy field?  What berries did you forage, what twine did you collect into a careful little ball, which buttons have you turned into currency?

What loose parts, in short, have you held in your hand and thought “this thing is the best.”


For more from us, check out our Facebook, Twitter and website www.popupadventureplay.org.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Press Release: Study Finds Playground With Hammers and Nails 'More Than Four Times' Safer Than Playground with Swings and Slides

By Zan

I am really excited to be writing this blogpost. It is in celebration of a publication written by my friends and fellow playworkers Jill Wood and Morgan Leichter-Saxby. I am biased when I say that I am always proud of everything that Morgan does (she is my work-wife after all!) but seriously, this is really exciting data. I'm pleased that I get to tell the world about how awesome they are and how amazing it is!

Comparing Injury Rates on a Fixed Equipment Playground and an Adventure Playground

We've known Jill for a long time now. She was one of the people we visited on our USA tour in 2014. Jill started an adventure playground about 10 years ago and it is wonderful. I have only been to visit for a couple of days, but Morgan has actually worked there for a period of time. We both love this space: from the child-build structures to the Great Beyond, it is a place of true possibility and one that really prioritises children.

It was during one of Morgan's visits to Adventure Play at Parish School that they got their heads together to produce this piece of research. With both a fixed playground and an adventure playground, the Parish school is uniquely placed for a comparitive study. This publication is the culmination of 5 years of data, carefully brought together by Jill and Morgan.

Here are some highlights from our press release:
“Programs like this offer children an invaluable chance to be free in an environment where they can do anything they can imagine” said Morgan Leichter-Saxby of Pop-Up Adventure Play, and co-author of the study.   “It’s so easy for adults to make play opportunities more restrictive, to create new rules instead of trusting children to learn how to manage their own risks incrementally.”  Nonetheless, staff at the Parish School are often asked whether if the adventure playground is as dangerous as it appears.  The same question is not asked of the school’s conventional fixed equipment playground used at recess.  Jill Wood, who founded Adventure Play at the Parish School in 2008, says that this offered a unique opportunity to compare the same children’s actual rates of injury at both sites over five years."
"Adventure Play at Parish is one of the oldest sites of its kind in the USA, and highly respected in the field for its quality of provision.  This study defined ‘injury’ as anything requiring off-site medical attention, such as X-rays or stitches.  One hour’s play per child on the recess playground was found to carry a 0.00336% likelihood of injury.  At the adventure playground the risk was 0.00078%, meaning that a child was found to be 4.3 times safer there than on the conventional equipment site.  This is in spite of recess having a higher adult:child ratio than Adventure Play.  The authors emphasize that injury rates at both sites were comparable in safety to golf and ping-pong, and significantly safer than most adult-led sports.  Injuries also were found elsewhere in the school day, as children tripped and fell into the corners of desks, received a kickball to the face during PE class or trapped their fingers in the bathroom door."
One of the biggest questions that we get asked at Pop-Up Adventure Play is whether adventure playgrounds are safe. Well, this small scale study says that it's safer than you'd expect - check it out here and find out how safe!


Full Risk Study Press Release available here.

Adventure Play at the Parish School
Jill Wood: jwood@parishschool.org

Pop-Up Adventure Play
Morgan Leichter-Saxby: morgan@popupadventureplay.org
Suzanna Law: suzanna@popupadventureplay.org








Psst... The eagle-eyed amongst you wonderful people will have also noticed a little announcement we tagged onto the end of our press release. If you want to find out more about that special 2019 gathering, send us a quick email.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Popping Up in the Community 2018: Zan Part 1

This is part 1 of what will hopefully be a multi-part blog series about the pop-up adventure playgrounds we create in our own communities throughout the year. This is an example of how our pop-up adventure playgrounds work, and us using our namesake model and our own resources to work within our own communities.

By Zan

I stepped into the large downstairs hall and looked around. This is a hall that I am very familiar with, that has regular sessions with different groups, and is the community hub with multiple users. Very briefly I felt daft doing a visual risk assessment of the space, but when I realised that someone was watching me, I made it more intentional. Doing a risk assessment is, of course, an important part of the role of a playworker.

Inspection over, I brought in my loose parts. I had been carefully packing all of this stuff over the last couple of days to meet the needs of the younger audience that I was told to expect. My open-ended play items included:
  • a barrel of big cardboard tubes, selected instead of the thick plastic ones because they were lighter for little arms to move around.
  • a bright red wicker handbag, with me because of it's familiarity as a bag, but novel value as a material
  • a rotary phone that was donated to me because it was slightly broken. We fixed it using some duct tape and now it serves as a familiar looking object that provided some play cues
  • a pile of larger cardboard boxes - mostly for making dens and building. Big enough for a child to get into but not big enough for adults.
  • a pile of smaller interestingly shaped cardboard boxes - because cutting and sticking are always popular
  • a shower head - because no one generally gets to play with one of those.
My volunteers at this Co-operative Local Community Fund sponsored event included Mildred - a friend from church, David - Pop-Up Adventure Play's PDC tutor and good friend of mine, my dad - who happened not to be busy that day, and Mildred's friend. Many of my worlds had been brought together for this event.

Some of the children arrived early but we invited them in to play anyway. "Set up" at a pop-up is a term used loosely here - as long as risk assessments are complete, all the loose parts are available, and adults have been briefed in basic playwork ideas, then the session can start. On this occasion, children had gathered hesitantly by the door, and the parents seemed expectant.

"Hello everyone" I said cheerfully "I have lots of things in the room next door for you to have a look at and play with. You can do whatever you want with all of the stuff in there, and your adults are only here to help you. So whenever you are ready, please come through and take a peek".

Some children raced through, others decided belatedly to take their coat off and dump them on their adult. Most looked excited when they saw the stuff. I could hear some parents say out loud "wow, what would you like to make?" and "Ooh, shall we build a house". I would very quietly and firmly say "they can do whatever they want".

After the initial buzz of activity, where the parents didn't know what to do with themselves and the children really tried to wriggle free from apprehensive adults, I realised that the space felt suddenly free. The parents had discovered that tea and coffee were a possibility and had sat themselves down on the chairs surrounding the loose parts, chatting. Some responded to kids when asked. Others just sat and observed their child, doing a running commentary under their breath. Generally I saw smiles. I had a moment to go over and say hello, and asked the adults how they were feeling about everything:

"I am just getting ready to move house and they just want to empty my boxes all the time, but now I understand why - they want to play with my boxes! I guess I know what I'll do with them all after we've moved - no need to worry about throwing them away now!"

"I used to do this with her older siblings but I haven't done it for about 3 years because she's the youngest and I didn't think it was interesting. But I guess she needs it because... well, look!"

Working my way around the children as they play, I watched on the periphery what they were doing. There were dens, and cat trees, and dog beds and some general running around for no reason. One little girl, who was barely 3 years old was so pleased to be there. "I'm going on holiday" she says to me, as she packs the red wicker handbag. She visits the dens that belonged to the other children, moving in and out as she pleased. The older children didn't mind - they almost knew that it was a temporary crossing of play frames and just played around her. Another little girl explained to me that she had made a big bad wolf. It was naughty and the biggest and baddest wolf ever. That's until her brother made a wolf too, who was a nice wolf that put people in prison. The other wolf also became nice too - "The nicest bad wolf". The children were having a great time.

The little holiday goer.

My dad with the Big Bad Wolf.

My pop-up adventure playground.

About half way through, my little friends Hannah and Nina arrived with their mum and a friend of mine. A few minutes later, my local council representative - who happened to be my high school music teacher - also arrived to check out the event. Together with my church friends, my playwork friends and my dad in the room, this combination of people almost made my brain explode. The sheer fact that so many people who directly formed my immediate community came together because of my one pop-up made my heart sing. Every area of my life was represented here, and while my brain was having a little trouble computing this, this is exactly what a pop-up adventure playground is for: bringing people together because of play.

I think that this pop-up was super successful and I am looking forward to organising the next one in my own community.

Find out more about Pop-Ups Zan on her personal blog here. If you want to host your own pop-up, check out our free resource pack here. Want to find out more about Pop-Up Adventure Play? Check out our facebook, twitter and website www.popupadventureplay.org.