By Sharon

Yesterday, I had the great honour of helping our friend – artist Laura Nova – with a mini pop-up celebration in her Lower East Side neighbourhood’s summer festival. For those of you unfamiliar with our pop-up adventure playground model, mini pop-ups are the small-scale version of what we do and are geared towards play at home and in neighbourhoods. As one girl explained to both her mom and friend, “This is a play station.”

As you can see, we kept our materials to a minimum.

Mini-Pop-Up Lower East Side of Manhattan 01
Laura and I collected some boxes, made a $20 trip to the local dollar store to buy some awesome, odd ball items such as butterfly-catching nets, party streamers, wooden craft sticks, and crayons. I contributed a bunch of old, clean socks that were about to be thrown out, and we stopped at Laura’s tailor for some scraps of fabric. The blustery wind, too, was a wonderful player on this day and the kids also enjoyed flying the party streamers in the air (and the limbo dance, of course).
Mini-Pop-Up Lower East Side of Manhattan 02
Boats and cars were made, played in and seat belts attached.
Mini-Pop-Up Lower East Side of Manhattan 03
This boy unravelled a whole roll of tape. YES, this is part of what makes our work so special. And why? As one parent remarked, “Because it’s fun! Didn’t you ever want to know how much tape was on that thing?”
Mini-Pop-Up Lower East Side of Manhattan 04
Well, we set out to run the site from 1 to 3:30, and ever so gradually the kids took their special creations home (cars and boats and many other things). By 4:00 pm, the space was back to normal. The memory of the play that happened there will always occupy a special in place my mind and leave a very fond memory in my heart.
Mini-Pop-Up Lower East Side of Manhattan 05
Thank you to Laura and Gabe for such a beautiful afternoon!
Mini-Pop-Up Lower East Side of Manhattan 06

“I was really happy to bring the community together in a child-centred way using materials from our recycling centre.” — Laura Nova