Thursday, 29 March 2012

Those Who Play Together Blog Together...

by Suzanna

The Pop-Up Adventure Play team are new to the blogging world. We have lots of ideas for future posts, but I myself am curious about you. What would you like to read about? What would you like Pop-Up Adventure Play to write about and post up on their blog?

We welcome all manner of suggestions - you can leave a comment on this blogpost, send us an email (use mine for now suzanna@popupadventureplay.org) or put a comment on our facebook page. Tell us what you're interested in hearing about, and we'll work it into our blogging schedule and made sure your interests, topics, questions and concerns get answered.

This is a pic of Zan at a Mini Pop-Up. Curiosity, unpredictability, enthusiasm and random laughter is her specialty.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Pop-Up Adventure Play in the Sun... Largo, Florida!

by Team Pop-Up Adventure Play

Pop-Up Adventure Play spent four beautiful days in sunny Largo, Florida helping to support Largo's city-wide "Play! Unplugged" event and to kickstart a county-wide initiative. With support from the incredible Jennifer McMahon and all of the staff at Largo's Park & Recreation Dept, Morgan, Anna, and Sharon ran trainings reaching a total of about 200 adults, including before-school and after-school program staff, early childhood teachers, directors, and camp counselors. A huge thanks to the local medical community and others who gave generously to make this possible. Thanks also to the Pinellas County Health Department for funding our trainings, travel, and printing copies of our P.L.AY. guide.

Here's what happened once Anna, Morgan and Sharon jetted from around the world, swapping out winter coats for sandals and summer dresses...


Friday Workshop - March 9

About 30 people joined us for an introductory Pop-Up Adventure Play workshop on Friday evening. We discussed the pressures many adults and children experience today, the numerous obstacles to child-directed play, and how we can all help to make a real change. We introduced our pop-up adventure playground model and shared our outreach materials including our P.L.AY. guide, which helps parents promote child-directed play in everyday life.

Then...we played!

Our mini pop-up began in a room down the hall...

Adults rediscovered the joy of playing with empty cereal boxes, duct tape, and crayons. We found that not only is it possible to play baseball using empty water bottles as baseballs and a cardboard tube as the bat, but it can be done while wearing a cardboard Transformer costume. 

Drawing is fun... and this participant was compelled to draw while laying inside a box... 
Yes, we know this person is a "grownup", but squint your eyes and she very well could have been a 9 year old girl intent on building something anew. 


15,000 People Hit Largo Central Park for "Play! Unplugged" - 
Saturday, March 10

The "Play! Unplugged" event began at 2pm and ended at 8pm. We had a steady flow of children and parents who played for hours in several "play" stations, including this pop-up adventure playground area. As it grew dark, children continued to arrive and play gleefully, drawing their parents into massive construction projects and finding tons of new uses for duct tape.  With 15,000 people attending the event over the course of the six hours of play, we saw a lot of smiles and that joy in kids' eyes that only comes through child-directed play.


When we ran out of duct tape, they improvised. 

And the looks on kids' faces were priceless as they watched this digger dump tons of fresh sand right on the grass in front of them... 

...disbelief and joy! Immediately followed by serious focus - let's get in there and play! 


Meanwhile... the play continued...











The play went on uninterrupted until well after dark, when a group of kids decided it was time to break down the site and they initiated a destruction sequence. They ran around, checking for occupants first, and then felled all the structures that were built and shaped over the course of the day.

It was a wonderful experience to see (and hear) kids playing together under the bright stars of Largo. The Largo Parks & Recreation crew did a fabulous job helping us clean the debris afterwards...thank you!


Monday Training Day - March 12

On Monday we ran a training from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, bringing together Parks and Recreation Department staff, before-school and after-school staff, teachers, and directors - all joining the movement to "take back play". At least five cities from around Pinellas County were represented at the training.

The photos below are all from Monday's mini pop-up, which we set up just outside the Largo Cultural Center in Largo Central Park. Around 130 adults attended this training and played together outside. 

Off on an adventure!
Making a swing out of slice of tree trunk and rope - it works! 

And the same rope was used as a jump rope and a tightrope!

When asked how it felt to experience this mini pop-up, to be given the permission and the materials to simply play, the man above said just one word, "Relaxing."



These participants worked together to catch the warm wind in a sail they made out of a tree branch,
a sheet, and a PVC pipe.
Once the sail was ready, they decided to add a cart and sail through the park. There wasn't much wind and the cart didn't move very far unassisted. Of course, this didn't matter - it was all about the process of the play...and it was awesome! Remember that rope? Two other participants attached it to the cart to pull it forward and they sailed into the sunset. 

Final Thoughts

These are some highlights of what happens when Pop-Up Adventure Play teams up with communities of supportive adults. Play can happen anywhere and IT CATCHES ON! Reach us anytime at


to bring similar workshops, trainings, and play events to the children and families in your community!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Welcome to the Pop-Up Adventure Play Blog

by Team Pop-Up Adventure Play

We're very pleased to announce that this is the beginning of the Pop-Up Adventure Play blog. It will be updated regularly with news, information and details of our adventures, and yours. A big hello to all of you, and welcome to our adventure!