Pop-Up Adventure Play spent four beautiful days in sunny Largo, Florida helping to support Largo’s city-wide “Play! Unplugged” event and to kickstart a county-wide initiative.
With support from the incredible Jennifer McMahon and all of the staff at Largo’s Park & Recreation Dept, Morgan, Anna, and Sharon ran trainings reaching a total of about 200 adults, including before-school and after-school program staff, early childhood teachers, directors, and camp counsellors. A huge thanks to the local medical community and others who gave generously to make this possible. Thanks also to the Pinellas County Health Department for funding our trainings, travel, and printing copies of our P.L.AY. guide.
Here’s what happened once Anna, Morgan and Sharon jetted from around the world, swapping out winter coats for sandals and summer dresses…
Friday Workshop – March 9
About 30 people joined us for an introductory Pop-Up Adventure Play workshop on Friday evening. We discussed the pressures many adults and children experience today, the numerous obstacles to child-directed play, and how we can all help to make a real change. We introduced our pop-up adventure playground model and shared our outreach materials including our P.L.AY. guide, which helps parents promote child-directed play in everyday life.
Our mini pop-up began in a room down the hall…
Adults rediscovered the joy of playing with empty cereal boxes, duct tape and crayons. We found that not only is it possible to play baseball using empty water bottles as baseballs and a cardboard tube as the bat, but it can be done while wearing a cardboard Transformer costume.
|Yes, we know this person is a “grownup”, but squint your eyes and she very well could have been a 9 year old girl intent on building something anew.|
15,000 People Hit Largo Central Park for “Play! Unplugged” – Saturday, March 10
The “Play! Unplugged” event began at 2pm and ended at 8pm. We had a steady flow of children and parents who played for hours in several “play” stations, including this pop-up adventure playground area. As it grew dark, children continued to arrive and play gleefully, drawing their parents into massive construction projects and finding tons of new uses for duct tape. With 15,000 people attending the event over the course of the six hours of play, we saw a lot of smiles and that joy in kids’ eyes that only comes through child-directed play.
|When we ran out of duct tape, they improvised.|
Monday Training Day – March 12
|Off on an adventure!|
|Making a swing out of slice of tree trunk and rope – it works!|
And the same rope was used as a jump rope and a tightrope!
|When asked how it felt to experience this mini pop-up, to be given the permission and the materials to simply play, the man above said just one word, “Relaxing.”