Friday, 18 May 2012

Spirit of Adventure Play Conference 2012

By Zan

Morgan and I were lucky enough to attend the Spirit of Adventure Play Conference this year, and we were both very excited. Play Wales organises this conference every year, and it is arguably the best playwork conference in the UK. I know I had a lot of fun there, and met a lot of people and was so busy that I almost forgot to take photos! I only have very few photos, but here they are:

Excitement about the conference
Morgan and Grant Lambie,
Morgan and me just after our second workshop
Me and Bob Hughes!
Important Pop-Up paperwork :)
The Pop-Up Adventure Play hosted Pop-Up Play Shop workshop went very well - Morgan lead on this presentation and I contributed here and there. We got a lot of really good feedback, (and a few fist bumps!) and everyone was generally very positive about the project. I was very pleased, and Morgan was beaming!

I can't speak for Morgan, but I know I learnt a lot about playworkers during the conference. I also learnt a lot about playwork, and about myself. What a wonderful place to be inspired in this way! I'm really looking forward to going to Spirit 2013, and am really excited to reconnect with some of these wonderful people!

For more of Suzanna's thoughts about the conference boogie on over to her blog. She'd be delighted to have you visit!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Pop-Up Adventure Play on Earth...Part 2!

by Sharon

The butterflies have been swooping and dancing outside my 14th floor window for the past couple of days. I think they want to play! So, here we are... Last weekend witnessed some pretty fabulous Earth Week, pop-up adventure playgrounds -- one in Austin, TX and the other in New Rochelle, NY. Based mainly on using recyclable and repurposed materials (cardboard boxes, fabric, yarn, tape, wood), these events were perfect for an Earth Week celebration. Had these pop-ups happened at the same moment in time, we would have connected them by video chat. Are you curious about how these events turned out? Keep on reading to find out!

Pop-Up Adventure Playground on  Saturday - April 28, 2012
in Austin, TX – at Día del Niño Verde 2012 
at The Magellan International School 

This independent pop-up adventure playground was organized by Green Coach Sayuri Yamanaka and Little Miss Recycle with The Magellan International School. We proudly supported this pop-up! 

The Magellan Green Team members write:

The Pop-Up Playground was one of our premier activities. Parents who had never seen a pop-up in action were instant converts as they watched the adventure unfold. The children inspired each other and us with their spontaneous joy and pride in their pop-up playground creations, building a fort, tearing it down to construct a space craft, inviting friends to join them on a ride, then working together to build an airplane, complete with propeller. They neither needed nor wanted adult help. In addition to the creative free-for-all going on on the playground, Spanish music classes for babies and children were enjoyed by many families, and adults had the opportunity to learn a plethora of tips on how to make their homes and lifestyles greener. Families took home organic produce from Green Gate Farms, a local family farm, enjoyed Whole Foods' healthy fare and browsed among the fair trade and local eco-art on display.

Twenty-five organizations supported the event and more than 200 people came together to learn and play at The Magellan International School's Día del Niño Verde 2012, a unique and successful community celebration.

Hiram playing a guitar (courtesy of Sindy Rodriguez)

Mateo flying a plane (courtesy of Sindy Rodriguez)

Pop-Up Adventure Playground on Sunday - April 29, 2012

in New Rochelle, NY – at Family Fun Day in Celebration of Earth Week 
at The College of New Rochelle 

Earth Week Family Fun Day was co-hosted by Heather Caplan and The Castle Gallery at The College of New Rochelle in partnership with Pop-Up Adventure Play and Naomi Gams-Towers and Patrice Schwartz (retired early childhood teachers with over 70 years combined experience). Held in conjunction with The Castle Gallery's Westchester Biennial 2012, families were invited to enjoy the exhibition throughout the afternoon. With sponsorship from the New Rochelle Council of the Arts, Pop-Up Adventure Play supplied printed materials about child-directed play and pop-up adventure playgrounds.

We echo the experience of Austin's pop-up. Kids played by themselves, though many also were directing the play within their own family units. Forts were built (with the requisite outhouse) and defended, and there was sewing of pillows, painting on canvas, wood and cardboard, and sword fighting. One rocket ship was launched...many times. A boy spent quite a long time making a train track on a flattened cardboard box. Another made a tent for his cat.

To fuel our play, we had some delicious, healthy offerings. There was a table full of veggies, fruit, and pretzels. My friends at PlayHarvest made a special appearance with their green smoothies (yummmm not yuck!) made by blending either kale, spinach or dandelion greens with a mix of bananas, mango, pineapples and ice. PlayHarvest also supplied ingredients for Sodexo's bicycle-powered blender (see video below!).

Family Fun Day was a smashing success with over 115 people attending, and the weather was incredible (clear blue skies and mid-sixties). This was the second pop-up I've hosted in collaboration with the Castle Gallery and can't wait to do more!  (Click here for photos from the first.)

Next up, I have some exclusive, raw footage from New Rochelle for you!

Our wonderful volunteers helping to unpack the pop-up.

Sodexo's bicycle powered blender in action,
with a glimpse of PlayHarvest's green smoothie table.

A pop-up adventure playground within 
a pop-up adventure playground...

After learning safe practices for sawing, 

these two boys wanted their own cardboard saw horses. 
One of the little boys said, "I need to saw..."

In the box...

Supporting environmental activism, the arts, and family fun are all great reasons to make child-directed play the heart of your community celebration!

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