Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A Mini Pop-Up In Action...In Manhattan's Lower East Side

By Sharon

Yesterday, I had the great honor of helping our friend - artist Laura Nova ( - with a mini pop-up celebration in her Lower East Side neighborhood's summer festival. For those of you unfamiliar with our pop-up adventure playground model, mini pop-ups are the small-scale version of what we do and are geared towards play at home and in neighborhoods. As one girl explained to both her mom and friend, "This is a play station."

As you can see, we kept our materials to a minimum.

Laura and I collected some boxes, made a $20 trip to the local dollar store to buy some awesome, odd ball items such as butterfly-catching nets, party streamers, wooden craft sticks, and crayons. I contributed a bunch of old, clean socks that were about to be thrown out, and we stopped at Laura's tailor for some scraps of fabric. The blustery wind, too, was a wonderful player on this day and the kids also enjoyed flying the party streamers in the air (and the limbo dance, of course).

Boats and cars were made, played in and seat belts attached.

This boy unravelled a whole roll of tape. YES, this is part of what makes our work so special. And why? As one parent remarked, "Because it's fun! Didn't you ever want to know how much tape was on that thing?"

Well, we set out to run the site from 1 to 3:30, and ever so gradually the kids took their special creations home (cars and boats and many other things). By 4:00 pm, the space was back to normal. The memory of the play that happened there will always occupy a special in place my mind and leave a very fond memory in my heart.

Thank you to Laura and Gabe for such a beautiful afternoon!

"I was really happy to bring the community together in a child centered way using materials from our recycling center." -- Laura Nova
AND, Guess what?!? We've got a very special mini pop-up starter kit in the works... just for you. Sign-up for our mailing list at to pre-order your gift copy today!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Pop-Up Play Shop Paignton

By Morgan

Another Pop-Up Play Shop flowered recently, in Paignton, Devon. Play Torbay had invited us down to be a part of Children's Week - an annual celebration of and for children, that has been going for 60 years!

Most of Children's Week happens along the seafront, with donkey rides and cooking classes, puppet shows and go-cart races.  There were even mice on tight ropes!  

Our location was in town, a satellite of Children's Week for the local residents who didn't fancy the tourist-packed boardwalk, and for families seeking a playful interlude during a days' shopping.  We were open Monday - Friday, and on our first afternoon were visited by the cast of Star Wars!  When they arrived one child, whose Mum had been making a Dalek outfit all day, cornered Bobba Fett in a telephone box and bleeped at him without mercy.

Our base was in a little canopy, giving us shelter from the sun and occasional bursts of rain.  We decorated it, and the square around us, with all kinds of recycled materials for play.

The gorgeous Pond Cafe next door provided seating and refreshments for parents, as well as an indoor space when the weather turned torrential on Friday.  With their hospitality, and the public conveniences on the other side of the square, we were in an ideal place for popping up!

Some children came every single day, and we had large numbers of children on the autistic spectrum as well as those who simply preferred a quieter place to play.

It was a wonderful week of play at the annual Children's Week in Paignton. We are looking forward to working more with the lovely people at Play Torbay!

The Pop-Up Play Shop was piloted by Pop-Up Adventure Play in October 2011. For more information about the Pop-Up Play Shop project, please visit the Shop's website or drop us a line by email or on facebook!