By Morgan

Another Pop-Up Play Shop flowered recently, in Paignton, Devon. Play Torbay had invited us down to be a part of Children’s Week – an annual celebration of and for children, that has been going for 60 years!

Most of Children’s Week happens along the seafront, with donkey rides and cooking classes, puppet shows and go-cart races. There were even mice on tight ropes!

Our location was in town, a satellite of Children’s Week for the local residents who didn’t fancy the tourist-packed boardwalk, and for families seeking a playful interlude during a days’ shopping.  We were open Monday – Friday, and on our first afternoon were visited by the cast of Star Wars!  When they arrived one child, whose Mum had been making a Dalek outfit all day, cornered Bobba Fett in a telephone box and bleeped at him without mercy.

Our base was in a little canopy, giving us shelter from the sun and occasional bursts of rain.  We decorated it, and the square around us, with all kinds of recycled materials for play.

The gorgeous Pond Cafe next door provided seating and refreshments for parents, as well as an indoor space when the weather turned torrential on Friday.  With their hospitality, and the public conveniences on the other side of the square, we were in an ideal place for popping up!

Some children came every single day, and we had large numbers of children on the autistic spectrum as well as those who simply preferred a quieter place to play.

It was a wonderful week of play at the annual Children’s Week in Paignton. We are looking forward to working more with the lovely people at Play Torbay!

The Pop-Up Play Shop was piloted by Pop-Up Adventure Play in October 2011. For more information about the Pop-Up Play Shop project, please visit the Shop’s website or drop us a line by email or on facebook!