Sunday, 26 February 2017

Reflections from the Playwork Campference: Part 1

By Morgan

So, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we hosted a Campference with Santa Clarita Valley Adventure Play in Val Verde, CA.

It went pretty well.

Welcoming folks at the Pacific Oak.

Children played as we talked about playwork.

Learning about ropes and knots.

Playwork professionals, students and enthusiasts came from all over to swap stories, learn from one another, and spend time on a beautiful new adventure playground site. Our fondest hope was that people would make new friends, find mentors, and confess some of their own fears or longings.

It seems like that part was a success.
“So many takeaways, but while I process those, I will just share 3 words that were repeated roughly 642 times: Fun, Freedom, Flexibility.”~ Kelsey Langley
Also not sure if you were paying attention at the time, but there was a *little* bit of a storm happening.  The worst storm in 22 years, dropping 5 inches overnight on our site and tents and carefully laid plans.  We sought refuge in a church, and then a school.  Content went ahead, if a little bit reshuffled.

Most gloriously, people rallied.  Across the whole four days, they transported baked potatoes in wheelbarrows, cut wood for the fire, raised tarps into the trees (and cut them down, when the wind gained strength).  Children scurried around the site, playing all day long.  Participants circled to discuss the politics of play and details of practice, breaking off into smaller groups to keep the conversation flowing.  People who feel isolated at home made community together, and for a short time we made a village.
"An incredible site, wonderful people....a bunch of weirdo's in the most magnificent felt like I was home."~ Justine Walsh
This is part 1 of 3 reflections about our Playwork Campference 2017. If you'd like to find out more about us, check out our facebook, twitter or visit

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Press Release: Local and International Adventure Play Organizations Holding Two Free and Exclusive Family Events in Castaic

By Andy

Team Pop-Up's have just arrived on the shores of California. It's the first time the three of us have been together, in-person in over 15 months. We are so excited to work on the final preparations for the first ever Playwork Campference in the USA! 

In addition to our extensive programme of talks and practical workshops we are also running two, free public events for children, families and interested individuals: a pop-up adventure playground and a film screening! The full press release for these events can be accessed here.

We are delighted to be part of this and hope to see many of you there! 

These events are part of our Playwork Campference. For more about what we do on a daily basis, check out our facebook and twitter, or visit our website

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

A Workshop in Evanston, IL

By Zan

We are very pleased and excited to be hanging out very briefly with our friend and PDC student Yulia in Evanston. It's going to be a short stop where Pop-Ups Morgan and I will be presenting an interactive talk entitled "Let The Children Play: workshop on the amazing benefits of play". We happened to be in the area for a keynote in Springfield, IL so this was an wonderful opportunity to get together.

With thanks to Pop-Ups friends Buffalo Pop-Up Play for the original design of this poster, and to Yulia's friend Vladimir Kleiman for this lovely version.

If you are in the Evanston area and would like to join our workshop there, please check out this facebook event. We welcome anyone who has an interest in play and are pleased also to let you know that there will be childcare available.

It's so great to be meeting more of our Playworker Development Course students and also to take the opportunity to meet more folks around the world who are passionate about play. Before that though, we will focus on the Campference! More from us soon!

For more about Pop-Up Adventure Play, check out our facebook, twitter and our website

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Campference 2017: Free Film Screening

By Zan

Team Pop-Up Adventure Play and Santa Clarita Valley Adventure Play are extremely excited to be having a free film screening as part of the Playwork Campference 2017. It will feature The Land documentary, about Plas Madoc Adventure Playground in Wrexham, Wales, and also Imagine Kolle 37, a short film set in an adventure playground in Berlin.

There will also be a great panel of people present at the screening for a Q&A session. We are so pleased to have Prof. Fraser Brown - the world's only Professor of Playwork - sit on this panel, as well as directors Erin Davis and Michele Meek of each respective adventure playground film. We have also invited Luke Sutton, one of the playworkers featured in The Land, to sit on our panel.

This event is free and open to public, hosted by local school SCVi. We are most grateful for their help in making this possible. We hope to see every one there!

If you have any questions about this event, please email If you'd like to find out more about the Campference, please check out this page

Saturday, 31 December 2016

A Playwork Awakening - Embracing 2017

By Pop-Ups Andy

As I headed down the jet-bridge onto the plane, something hit me. Not physically, but emotionally. I had to take a moment to check-in with myself and regroup my thoughts. Through a deductive soliloquy of 'been there, done that' I ruled out nerves, new places and the task ahead as potential reasons. So what was the problem?

I never got to the root of the issue at the time, but now, as the same scenario looms in reverse, ten weeks later, a similar feeling is brewing. I'd re-confirmed that I still love travelling, I still love LA, SCV Adventure Play are awesome and Playwork is still, by far the best job in the world… so what then?

Then it hit me. Yes, of course! Risk. I’ve spent half my life talking and advocating about its necessity, but then struggle to recognise it when it's right there under my nose.

Maybe it wasn't the fear of what was ahead, but more what I was leaving behind? Prior to heading out to California I had recently undergone a significant change in my working circumstances. I had just jumped out from the comfort and safety of a fixed-site, salary and security and was parachuted into a situation where I had the permission to follow my own agenda, to adapt and respond accordingly, to be able to push myself into slightly uncomfortable situations, but under my own direction and control.

My time in California was fast-paced, eye-opening and taught me a lot. I presented at the NAEYC conference to over 100 professionals on incorporating the playwork approach into education. Together with SCVAP I ran Pop-Up Playgrounds with diverse groups of children and their families across LA County which were underpinned by a weekly session on Eureka Villa, where exciting things are unfolding and some real playwork magic is already  happening! As part of my work with SCV Adventure Play I was embroiled in the LA2050 campaign for a chance to win $100,000 to develop Eureka Villa. It was an exhausting but exciting period which created new friends and contacts from around the world. My final project in December was a spontaneous piece of work at a local charter-school which quickly snowballed into a possible research study and small-scale documentary, focusing on the impact of the Playwork within the US recess environment.

Anyway, to cut a long but very exciting story short: Following your own ideas and interests, in your own way and for your own reasons can be a really big deal, even for an adult. I took a risk and stepped outside my very safe and warm comfort zone, and it reminded me that my bubble was small and the need is big, that risks are scary, but fear is temporary and without sounding too much like an insert of 'Inspiration Daily', my most important reflection was reconfirming that playwork is my purpose.

So here's to 2017. Possibly the most volatile, unpredictable year in modern history. There is no time for comfort zones and inertia, it's time for advocacy and protest, to take risks and make change.

To find out more about what we get up to on a daily basis, check out our Facebook and Twitter. You can also keep an eye on this blog or visit our website