Monday, 5 June 2017

Press Release: Pop-Up Adventure Play empowers play programmes across Canada ahead of 20th IPA Triennial World Conference


Pop-Up Adventure Play empowers play programmes across Canada ahead of 20th IPA Triennial World Conference

Pop-Up Adventure Play have confirmed workshops and hands-on practical sessions with organisations and play enthusiasts across eight Provinces of Canada.

Following the huge success of their 2014 US Tour and 2015 World Tour, UK-based charity Pop-Up Adventure Play are heading to Canada to support and inspire play enthusiasts and organisations countrywide. The team will be on the road from July 20th to September 19th inclusive, travelling east to west in one summer-long adventure!

The Pop-Ups Canada Tour 2017 will showcase inspiring play provision from around the world, providing a range of training, workshops, pop-up adventure playgrounds alongside screenings of ‘The Land’, a documentary of unique, raw footage from an adventure playground in Wales, UK.

UK-born Suzanna Law who is studying for a PhD in the field, co-founded the organisation to train and support communities everywhere to make room for child-directed play. "Children everywhere need time and space to play in their own way, but they are not getting enough of those opportunities," says Law. "We at Pop-Up Adventure Play want to support people and organisations everywhere to help broaden its understanding and its importance in a much wider context"

The tour currently has 10 confirmed locations, commencing in Halifax NS, before passing through Montreal QC, then onto London ON, Toronto ON, Winnipeg MB, Edmonton AB, Vancouver BC, and concluding in Calgary AB for the IPA Triennial world conference, which will host some of world’s leading academics and thinkers of children’s play.

Pop-Up Adventure Play have been advocating for children's play since 2010 through the support, kindness  and generosity of likeminded individuals, organisations and the wider community. In a bid to reach out to some of the hard-to-reach and low-income communities across Canada, the team have launched their crowdfunder page where they aim to raise £5000 in 30 days to bring isolated advocates together. 

Press release PDF available here.

Pop-Up Adventure Play is a UK registered charity #1148987
For more information, please contact Suzanna Law, Co-Founder and Head of Communications using

Friday, 2 June 2017

Geronimo 2017

By Zan

After much organising and some epic geometrical loose parts stuffing into our cars, Pop-Ups Andy and I found ourselves in the middle of a field and under a giant tent. This would be the site of our 3-day pop-up adventure playground at the Geronimo Festival, this year held at Arley Hall, Cheshire. With our two trusty recruits, Joanne and David, we emptied our cars, staged some boxes and were away! Here are some photos of our playful long weekend:

Some tiny people came to type on the computer, and stayed for a long time to explore our loose parts.

Some bigger people made some big things. Sometimes we don't know what these things are, but it is the process that matters.

The biggest people did some playing too - this is a giraffe that was almost as tall as the tent! The children participated, but even the adults admitted that this was their giraffe and not the kid's.

This little player spent ages in this box, putting things here and there and everywhere, dressed perfectly for the occasion.

"This is a car and I am driving". Of course it is, and for a good few minutes too.

This is a set of brother, sister robots. Their parents helped a little bit but this was their idea. They may have spent a long long time dressed like this.

This is our box wall created at the end of the festival for children to run into and push over. It was quite a hit, with the children and the adults. It's not often you get invited into destruction.

This our tape ball, so big that you could sit on it. It just goes to show that from waste things you can still make play things!

These brothers were hilarious. They were clearly tired, but really wanted to keep on playing, so they just bashed every box they could find into pulp. It must have been their way of signifying the end of the festival - their "end game" as it were. And then red one went home as a robot.

I'll admit that when I agreed to host a Pop-Up at a children's festival - a festival that had circus people, sheep shearers, harp players and jousters - that we would lose out and noone would come to our tent to play. It seems like I had nothing to worry about. The conversations that we overheard between parent and child always seemed to be some sort of negotiation based loosely around the fact that the children didn't want to go anywhere else. It was wonderful to know that child-led play was so appealing that our tent was always busy and buzzing with activity. There were so many great moments, and so many glorious opportunities for children to assert their right to play that on a few occasions, I felt a little emotional. I'm really glad we went to Geronimo, and I hope that I'll get to pop-up there again in the future.

To see more photos from Geronimo, check out the facebook photos here. To follow the adventures of Pop-Ups Zan, visit her personal blog. To visit our website, please visit

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Our First Award...... With gratitude

By Andy

Sadly I wasn't able to attend the National Playwork Conference this year having only just arrived back home from our Playwork Campference in Los Angeles. Luckily there was a live stream available allowing me to watch the awards whilst unpacking my rucksack at home. As I eagerly sat watching, my phone tentatively in my hand ready to message the team, there was a clash of glasses, a wobble of the screen and the camera ended up on the floor. There was a mad scramble to stabilize the stream with familiar faces and voices flashing on and off the screen. Hilarious! It was an amazing feeling knowing that, even though I wasn't there, I was one of them.

The winner was announced.... Pop-Up Adventure Play - Playwork in Other Contexts Award. Wow! I couldn't believe it. There were some fantastic organisations in the run for the award which made this announcement so overwhelming! Ali Wood accepted the award on our behalf as one of our free-lance tutors. Ali said some really nice words on our behalf and about us too, with a great response from the crowd, which was really heartwarming.

I quickly typed out a message to the team who were, at the time, commuting to a workshop in Evanston, Illinois providing the keynote address to the Illinois Youth Services Institute on the amazing benefits of play. Playwork in Other Contexts, in action!

I had message back from the team. They had just pulled up on the banks of Lake Michigan and celebrated with a happy dance in the sun. Gathering together pebbles from the beach, Morgan and Zan instantly thanked the world for their support with a rocky thank you.

Advocating for children's play can be a lonely battle and at Pop-Up we have long been seeking to spread the Playwork message to the loneliest parts of the world. This award means a lot to us. For us it provides the supportive encouragement that our efforts are worthwhile, but it also reminds us that however hard and lonely it is out there, the playwork family is just a wobbly video feed away.

Thank you.

To follow our daily adventures, join us over on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. To get in touch with us, we are available by email here, or you can leave us a message on our website

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Popping Up in Cleveland - Guest writer

By Mischelle Brown

Mischelle reached out to us in 2016, telling us of her passions for play and in 2017, we met her at the Playwork Campference! It was wonderful to hear her perspective and learn of her passion. She has big plans for her community, and some big adventures ahead! Here are some of her thoughts:

What started out as a weekend exploration at the first ever Playwork Campference. February 16-19, 2017, on how to build my own one acre adventure playground by myself turned into life lessons on the importance of community, starting small and diversity. Landing in Val Verde, California I would meet some of the worlds greatest playworkers, play advocates, enthusiasts and researchers to ever commune in the United States. Boy what a sight to behold!

The nuggets of wisdom from the veterans of play I received straight away were build an adventure play community, start with small one day pop-up play schemes or play spaces, add additional community partners like museums, schools, non profits or recreation departments to co-create with and like ideas.

My big question was where's all the play people of color? How come I'm the only one here? The veterans of play exclaimed, “Exactly”?! On that day one I decided going forward I'd have to do my Mahatma Ghandi thing and “be the change I wanted to see in the world” to bring adventure play equity to black and brown kids.

So with that on March 27, 2017 my nonprofit, Humans2nature inc., together with the city of Cleveland’s Division of Recreation’s 18 recreation centers, Cleveland State University, Home Depot and Cultured Bazaar 60 black and brown babies played in/on/around their first ever and the city of Cleveland’s first ever “loose parts” pop-up adventure playground on the grounds of Camp George Forbes.

Water Experiment pond – Camp George Forbes, Cleveland, Ohio

Using tools - Camp Georges Forbes, Cleveland, Ohio

Fishing Kids with handcrafted fishing tools

The Playwork Campference was the confirmation that my purpose, adventure play for life, is real and that there is world is full of other players committed to the motto, "play is for everyone". Thank you, Playwork Campference!

To host your own pop-up adventure playground, register with us here for some free resources. To read more about the Campference, check out these three blogposts. To follow the activities of us at Pop-Up Adventure Play, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and check out our website

Sunday, 2 April 2017

A Playworker's Junkyard

By Zan

Sitting in my seat next to Andy, I felt really excited. I hadn't thought about the set for Junkyard the Musical and now that I was looking at the silhouette of it on the stage before the show. It had real pallets, and barrels, and planks and rope... everything you'd find on a real adventure playground. Whatever would happen in the next 2 hours wouldn't matter too much - it was already awesome.

Before the show - we were sat front and center and I was so pleased!

As the stage went dark and we journeyed with the characters through the ups and downs of adventure playground development, I was really swept up in the energy of the whole thing. Everything was done simply but effectively with junk materials or loose parts - even some of the instruments used to accompany the sometimes moving, sometimes hilarious songs were also made out of junk! I loved particularly that characters weren't too precious about the set, but at the same time loved it, just like the children at any AP would be too. With there being multi-level movable platforms, the space was always filled with interest throughout the show, and used very thoughtfully too for musical numbers and emotive scenes.

I was particularly amused to find that they had managed to work a whole lot of adventure playground history into this musical, doing a little bit of gentle AP promo for the field. I wondered aloud to Andy half way through the show if the actors knew what the term "playworker" was. It wasn't mentioned in the show - being set in the 70s, the term wasn't properly used yet - but I wonder how much they would have translated some of these thoughts for the audience of today. I was really glad to hear the parting thoughts from the cast which spoke loudly of adventure playgrounds in the UK - even a nod to Plas Madoc, the closest AP to the theatre - and I was buoyed by the enthusiasm they had brought to the auditorium. There was a palpable feeling of possibility, and the last time I felt that was when I was sat under a canopy of advertisements in the middle of California.

I truly enjoyed Junkyard to the very core of my playworker being. There was enough humour in there to keep it light, but all the emotions necessary for folks to understand just how serious adventure playgrounds are with a good sprinkling of song. Now we just need everyone everywhere to watch this show and then visit an adventure playground in action. Hoorah for Junkyard!

To find out more about Pop-Ups Zan, visit her personal blog here. If you'd like to see more of what Team Pop-Up Adventure Play in general, check out Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!