By Suzanna Law

A lot has happened in the last 3 months. As an organisation, we’ve been to Turkey and the USA, and have also talked to lots of exciting people and have been involved in a lot of projects. We even won an award! These are all exciting times, too. But it’s difficult to rejoice in those when our lives are being overshadowed by invisible monsters.

Yes, the coronavirus is a real and present thing, as are all contagious diseases that have been before, and those which haven’t emerged yet. Pop-Up Adventure Play has taken some steps to limit our impact on the transmission of this disease: the Pop-Up Play Shop is now closed until further notice, and both Morgan and I are postponing certain trips that we had planned so that we don’t spread this thing inadvertently, or put those we love at greater risk. Now back from a trip, Morgan is in total self-quarantine!

We’ll keep playing

But this isn’t the end of play. Quite frankly, this is when we will need play the most! This is what we will be playing in the next few weeks, and hopefully you will be able to, too.

  • We will be going for a lot of walks outside, either around a quiet neighbourhood, next to a river or in the woods.
  • We’ll also deeply invest in our hobbies. Things such as stamp collecting, reading, knitting, doodling, baking…
    • New recipes will help make the limits in grocery options a little more exciting.
  • We’re gonna video chat with our friends and family for some much needed silly time.
  • I aim to enjoy the back garden and get some planting done. Morgan is excited to see that the snow has melted, and to squish around in the mud! We’ll both feel better with the earth between our fingers and the breeze in our faces.
  • We promise to smile where ever we go, just like we always have. It is a little lift that we can give for free in a world that is currently heavy with worry.

To get through the social isolation, the contagious disease of fear and doubt, we need to play. It may not be what we’re normally used to, it may not be as free as we’d like, but we need to find a way to play so that we can make sense of all of this for ourselves. We need to give our children the opportunities to play so that they can understand what is happening. We need to prioritize our own play, so we can all be stronger together.

The UK situation

I’m in the UK and they’ve finally decided to close most of the schools. This means that there will be children underfoot while we are all getting used to working from home – it’s a new normal that we’re going to have to work through. This is a nice opportunity to start exploring some non-classroom based ideas and provide them with the freedom (within limits) to play! Here are some ideas that might be helpful for you and your children right now:

  • Organise a mini pop-up adventure playground. We have a free kit that you can download from here to help you with that prep.
  • Go exploring outside – find ways to follow their lead.
  • Let them get bored. Here’s a nice blog post that might encourage you.
  • Build a den / fort / cubby / hidey-hole. Morgan wrote a lovely guide about this which you can read here.
  • Our friends over at KOOP Adventure Play are doing a wonderful job of encouraging parents and children to keep on playing during this time – go check them out.

A lot of things are out of our control right now, but play is not one of them. Take some time to play every day until all of this is over. And then when it is over, play some more. Just remember to #PlayNoMatterWhat.