Thursday, 26 April 2012

Three Pop-Up Videos

by Suzanna

I'd like to share a few lovely videos that we've made from Pop-Up Adventure Play moments. These moments capture the essence of what we do, in many different ways.

1) An Introduction to Many Moments
This is a video which introduces Pop-Up Adventure Play to the world! Narrated by our lovely Morgan, we tell everyone what it means to play, and how you, an adult, can help to be part of a wonderful every day play opportunities!

2) A Moment from the Pop-Up Play Shop
Although the Pop-Up Play Shop has now closed, the excitement from this awesome pilot lives on. Here is a great moment of playworker and children interaction.

3) Moments from a Play Day
Here is a wonderful video put together by our friends at Two Kazoos who came to video one of our Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds. It's a wonderful, insightful video with lots of loose parts and lots of child-led free play!

We just thought we should share all of these lovely moments with you. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did, and we hope that it inspires you to play! :)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Pop-Up Adventure Play on Earth

by Sharon

Playing is one of the best ways of sharing our joy and love of the Earth and our place in the natural world. Our amazing playful selves also know exactly what to do with an abundance of clean, everyday materials like repurposing the cardboard recycling from your local supermarket and combining it with tape, twine, and old fabric. Caine's Arcade has gone viral because of the simplicity and power of one child playing on his own terms, a stockroom of materials, a supportive parent, and a third party who became the arcade's major promoter in bringing it to the greater community and beyond.

Imagine you and your friends encountering a field of materials which you could shape any way you wanted... simply by following your whims. What if you encountered such a public space in your community and it was completely free to participate?

Close your eyes and feel the deep sense of permission and freedom that comes with getting to do what you want. Imagine how wonderful that must be for a child. They're free to be messy and to do anything they like. And parents get to say YES! where they might ordinarily be inclined to say No!

Pop-Up Adventure Playground, FIGMENT Sculpture Garden 2011

Not only is celebrating our Earth an awesome enough reason to play, we at Pop-Up Adventure Play are thrilled there will be TWO Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds happening in celebration of Earth Week 2012 – over the April 28-29th weekend. Bring your kids out to play and join the fun!

To see how much fun it can be, check out our picture albums at

I   Saturday - April 28, 2012

(an event supported by Pop-Up Adventure Play)

II   Sunday - April 29, 2012

New Rochelle, NY – Earth Week Family Fun Day at The Castle Gallery
(an event co-hosted by Pop-Up Adventure Play)

If you don't live nearby, make your own “mini pop-up” with friends at the park or in your yard. In 2012, Pop-Up Adventure Play proudly supports communities around the world through our growing network of independent organizers, printed materials, trainings, and workshops. Learn more at and be sure to sign-up for our mailing list for your Mini Pop-Up Kit. 

Keep an eye out for all the trees, birds, and children that might be tugging at your sleeve, quietly (or loudly)... nudging you to play.

Happy Earth Week Everyone!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Wanna run in the wind?

by Sharon

At Pop-Up Adventure Play, we talk a lot about loose parts and how to create play spaces with everyday materials (cardboard boxes, wood scraps, fabric, rope, tape). Well, sometimes the loose parts of play simply exists in what's been happening in your ongoing narrative with a child and the resources of the immediate environment.

My area of special interest happens to be garden and nature play, and I have just returned home from a wonderful time visiting with my two, young nephews. The older one, who is about to turn 5 next week, has interests which revolve around dinosaurs, being brave and not scared, baking cakes, and running around really fast. I must say that the most wonderful thing about being an auntie is that our relationship and shared stories have been developing and evolving...over years.

During this holiday weekend, our shared story together included our crazy friend, the wind. It also included a couple of raptors soaring high above us and jumping off cliffs in our hang glider teleportation device (a swing) to travel around the world to eat dinner in different places. By the time Monday evening had arrived, we were off on a jaunt around the neighborhood. After dusting off our hands from digging for dinosaur bones at the playground's sandpit, and discovering a mysterious fiber (probably dog hair), my nephew and I set out on a mystery hunt for other clues for our adventure (although what our goal was - was unclear). It was exciting nonetheless. Our hunt led us to a leaf skeleton and then onwards to the soccer/football field where my nephew saw a friend of his from school. Their greeting involved a very quiet, slow extension of hands that almost touched, while exchanging very shy little smiles, and then we all got to talking. Once his schoolfriend left with her sisters, I asked my nephew if it was time to go home, too.

He said not yet...Wanna run in the wind?

Well, how could I turn down an offer like that? I followed my nephew's lead, and we started running around the uneven ground. I then remembered the raptors from the other day and extended my arms to be wings, mentioning that I was pretending to be a raptor. He said, oh yeah, me too!!

We ran around, flapping to stay aloft when the wind died down and also to run up the inclines... We flew in the sky together....screeching raptor-like sounds. My nephew shouted instructions about where we were going next and also to watch out for holes in the ground as we swooped far above them. He led us to a safe haven (the soccer net) to rest and perch when we were tired. Once the wind really picked up again, we leapt off the cliff and soared.

One of my favorite people who works with children, the imagination, and our innate connection to nature is Richard Lewis of The Touchstone Center for Children. His work inspires me greatly, and I certainly felt like my nephew and I played along...just as nature intended.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Wonderful, fantabulous and extraordinary news!

by Morgan

Welcome back, everyone, from all the various holidays.

I’m happy to share with you all the exciting news that Pop-Up Play Shop Cardiff's long-running appeals process with Cardiff Council Business Rates department has been won! After much deliberation – and letters of support written by Councillor Jon Aylwin, AM Eluned Parrott, MP Jenny Willcott, MEP Derek Vaughan, plus visitors and fans! – they have given us the full 100% rates relief.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone, near and far, who helped make the project a wonderful success.  It was a beautiful 6 months for all of us, and set a tremendous precedent to show how important projects like this are in bringing free play opportunities right into our city centres.

In case you, like me, find statistics interesting here are some numbers.  The funding came from the Cardiff Council Cymorth Small Play Grants program, and the project was delivered in partnership with Re-Create Cardiff and Vale Play Services Association.

We began with £4988.00 and delivered 63 sessions – a total of 441 hours of play (that’s £11.30 per hour of staffed, open access play for all)

Over 1,400 people came – 391 of them under 4, and 410 between 5 and 15

A total of 551 parents and carers came – 189 (or 34%) of them male

A minimum of 15 different nationalities and ethnicities were represented

We were the focus of 1 community arts placement (University of Wales, Newport) and 2 academic papers (UWE Bristol and Leeds Metropolitan)

Our petition had over 400 signatures online and in the shop – 100 in its first 24 hours

We had 8 locally-recruited volunteers, all of whom gained experience in a new branch of community-based playwork practice

We think that counts as a very big success!

Now that the pilot phase is over and we've set a precedent for rates relief, we're getting ready to create new Pop-Up Play Shops and help establish more places for communities to play in city centres everywhere!

To catch yourself up with the whole story to do with Tax Relief Rates and the Pop-Up Play Shop, please visit the Play Shop's website

Monday, 2 April 2012

Popping Up at Sports Relief in Surrey

by Morgan

The little red suitcase pictured here - in Nonsuch Park, Surrey - is well-traveled and well-loved. 

I've taken it everywhere for the last year or so, through all my Pop-Up Adventure Play related bouncing around and popping up.  It's so bright and glossy that people smile at it when I wheel past.  It's so small it fits as carry on with even the most budget of airways.

And now, as part of our involvement with Epsom and Ewell's Sports Relief event, it's become a Pop-Up Adventure Play module!  Sports Relief is a massive national charity event - this year more than a million people took part in the UK and raised more than 52 million pounds!
Look at how much fitted inside!  When staged around a table and chairs, we were already halfway to a blanket fort.
The very nice people of Epsom and Ewell County Council contributed some sports equipment, the table and some chairs and then we were away, staffed by myself and student volunteers from the local girls' school.  People arrived in waves, coming from all over Cheam to make their way round the one, three and six mile courses.  Children came to play while brothers, sisters and parents were running.  They came before and after running themselves.
The rope was used for tug of war, a wooden stick was hung with streamers and yarn to "make a toy for my cat", and we tweeted some of the best quotes that came from the day.
"I don't want to go swimming!  I'm having too much fun HERE!"  (Kayla, 8)
"Hey Matt!  COME HERE - it's free and YOU CAN PLAY!"
"You have so much good stuff here, like this tinsel.  And STRING!"  (Martha, 6) 

"It's a good idea, this.  I didn't even think to bring anything (for the younger siblings who weren't running) and they'd have got so bored just sat waiting.  This is much better, they get to have a play and meet some other children.  And what did you bring…  oh, it's just stuff?  Well.  I could do that myself next time!"  (Mum)