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 www.popupadventureplay.org.

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 www.popupadventureplay.org.

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!