The butterflies have been swooping and dancing outside my 14th-floor window for the past couple of days. I think they want to play! So, here we are… Last weekend witnessed some pretty fabulous Earth Week, pop-up adventure playgrounds — one in Austin, TX and the other in New Rochelle, NY. Based mainly on using recyclable and repurposed materials (cardboard boxes, fabric, yarn, tape, wood), these events were perfect for an Earth Week celebration. Had these pop-ups happened at the same moment in time, we would have connected them by video chat. Are you curious about how these events turned out? Keep on reading to find out!
The Magellan Green Team members write:
The Pop-Up Playground was one of our premier activities. Parents who had never seen a pop-up in action were instant converts as they watched the adventure unfold. The children inspired each other and us with their spontaneous joy and pride in their pop-up playground creations, building a fort, tearing it down to construct a space craft, inviting friends to join them on a ride, then working together to build an airplane, complete with propeller. They neither needed nor wanted adult help. In addition to the creative free-for-all going on on the playground, Spanish music classes for babies and children were enjoyed by many families, and adults had the opportunity to learn a plethora of tips on how to make their homes and lifestyles greener. Families took home organic produce from Green Gate Farms, a local family farm, enjoyed Whole Foods’ healthy fare and browsed among the fair trade and local eco-art on display.
Twenty-five organizations supported the event and more than 200 people came together to learn and play at The Magellan International School’s Día del Niño Verde 2012, a unique and successful community celebration.
Pop-Up Adventure Playground on Sunday – April 29, 2012 in New Rochelle, NY – at Family Fun Day in Celebration of Earth Week at The College of New Rochelle.
Earth Week Family Fun Day was co-hosted by Heather Caplan and The Castle Gallery at The College of New Rochelle in partnership with Pop-Up Adventure Play and Naomi Gams-Towers and Patrice Schwartz (retired early childhood teachers with over 70 years combined experience). Held in conjunction with The Castle Gallery’s Westchester Biennial 2012, families were invited to enjoy the exhibition throughout the afternoon. With sponsorship from the New Rochelle Council of the Arts, Pop-Up Adventure Play supplied printed materials about child-directed play and pop-up adventure playgrounds.
We echo the experience of Austin’s pop-up. Kids played by themselves, though many also were directing the play within their own family units. Forts were built (with the requisite outhouse) and defended, and there was sewing of pillows, painting on canvas, wood and cardboard, and sword fighting. One rocket ship was launched…many times. A boy spent quite a long time making a train track on a flattened cardboard box. Another made a tent for his cat.
To fuel our play, we had some delicious, healthy offerings. There was a table full of veggies, fruit, and pretzels. My friends at PlayHarvest made a special appearance with their green smoothies (yummmm, not yuck!) made by blending either kale, spinach or dandelion greens with a mix of bananas, mango, pineapples and ice. PlayHarvest also supplied ingredients for Sodexo’s bicycle-powered blender (see video below!).
Family Fun Day was a smashing success with over 115 people attending, and the weather was incredible (clear blue skies and mid-sixties). This was the second pop-up I’ve hosted in collaboration with the Castle Gallery and can’t wait to do more! (Click here for photos from the first.)