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How to whip up a Pop-Up Adventure Playground in no time


Providing engaging opportunities for child-directed, unstructured play does not have to be expensive or time consuming. In fact, the best kind of play costs nothing, feels great, and can happen anywhere. Just ask the folks at Pop-Up Adventure Play. They strive to provide all children with access to child-directed play in communities of supportive adults through organizing Pop-Ups. Child-directed play is play in which children make the rules and take control with minimal adult intervention.

Pop-Ups are public celebrations of child-directed play facilitated by supportive adults using a variety of loose parts including:

recyclable items – cardboard boxes, tubes, paper bags

everyday things – cotton balls, string, glue, tape

old housewares – mixing bowls, wooden spoons, baking pans

natural materials – pine cones, branches, leaves, mud

unexpected things – fabric, bottle caps, old phones, computer keyboards

If you’re interested in setting up a Pop-Up of your own, don’t be intimidated. Pop-Ups can be as big or little as you like. All you need to get started are unwanted, repurposed or recycled materials with high play value.

Playworld systems pop-up adventure playground

When building your Pop-Up, be sure to keep in mind these important guiding principles:

– Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds are free of charge

– Participants can arrive and leave at their leisure

– Children make their own choices about what and how they play

– People of all ages, genders, backgrounds, abilities and interests can play at a Pop-Up

– Pop-Ups are stocked with everyday items and demonstrate that engaging opportunities for play do not have to be expensive

– Pop-Ups are a commercial-free zone

Many children lack opportunities for child-directed play, so organizing a Pop-Up is an easy way to meet that need. My friends at Pop-Up Adventure Play have a great saying, “Together, we can support child-directed play – one cardboard box at a time.”