Well, we were on the final stretch of our Grand Canadian Tour! Our last stop in BC was Surrey. It included both a pop up adventure playground and a screening of The Land. These two events were hosted by Child Care Options and gave us the chance to meet folks in quite different ways. We connected with many local childcare providers. Some recognized us from social media. Others knew us through Options directly. A few discovered the pop-up just by walking past.

Acknowledging our Surrey hosts

We also want to give a small shout-out to Gisele, who played an instrumental role in organizing our stop in Surrey but couldn’t be there on the day. Sharlene and the rest of the team were enthusiastic as well. We knew for certain when they told us they’d been hoarding materials for weeks and had been unloading them since 6:30 am that morning!

While we were getting ready, Ricky asked what it would be like at a pop-up adventure playground primarily for under-5s.

“It’ll be super chill,” I said.

This remained accurate. The 100 little ones toddled in and out of cardboard boxes, wobbled across wooden pallets. They stared at sticky balls of tape. It felt relaxed for us but was still adventurous – just smaller and slower.

Pop Up Play - exploring Surrey BC


Pop Up Play - exploring Surrey BC


Pop Up Play - Surrey, BC

Playful moments unfold

Andy said that he gave pieces of tape to one boy. The first time it was too long for him to handle. As such, he cried when it got tangled. Therefore, Andy handed him a series of tiny tape pieces that slowly got bigger. Eventually, he could manage the length of tape he’d wanted in the first place.

Meanwhile, I watched two slightly older boys smash a cardboard box apart. Unsure how the rest of the crowd would react, I stood at the edge of their play frame to show it was okay. They laughed and practised anger, shouting, “I hate you! You stupid box! This talk grew until one of them knelt down and bit the cardboard hard, then jumped up and shouted “I’ll bite you!  I’ll bite you right in the toilet!” I turned my face away so they wouldn’t see me smile, charmed by this being the worst thing he could think to say. About twenty feet away, Suzanna was with the boys’ mums, explaining why I was standing near the kids but not intervening. She asked if they were comfortable with what they saw.

“If you’re cool, we’re cool, as long as they’re in sight!”  She asked if they ever felt judged in their parenting styles, and they said no. They knew their boys were rather gentle and so, felt very comfortable being more free in their boundaries.

We recognise the challenging legislative landscape regarding children’s freedom to roam in British Columbia. Nonetheless, our observations on the ground tell a different story. While discussions about children’s rights to play, self-determination, and risk are ongoing, remarkable efforts are currently underway to enhance children’s lives across Canada.

To hear more about our Canadian adventure, check out our dedicated tour page. To see more from us, check out our Facebook and Twitter, and as always, check out our website.

By Morgan