By Joelle Whiting
We met Joelle in Swan Hill when we were on tour in Australia. It was boiling hot during the days we were in Swan Hill, so we are really pleased that these folk paid attention even in the uncomfortable weather and decided to do a Pop-Up Adventure Playground! We’re really pleased that Joelle has taken some time to reflect on her Pop-Up and write us a piece. Thank you!
On the 28th of March, Swan Hill celebrated its 6th annual Harmony Day. The children’s activities on the day has always been a highlight for the younger ones. This year would be no exception. Our aim was to allow children to play freely regardless of their age, gender, race and abilities because play does not discriminate and everyone belongs.
Swan Hill Harmony Day
After attending a Pop-Up Adventure Play workshop in Swan Hill, a few of us volunteered to deliver a Pop-Up at the event. We knew that we needed lots of boxes. Recycled bins of local white good shops were raided and the boxes stored at our houses and the library.
A week before, I took my children to the park and tested some of the trees. They passed! During the event, there were about 7 children swinging on the tree at once!
Many older children were also interested in what was going on. I told them that they could do whatever they wanted with the materials but they were not quite sure if this was true. After rummaging through the boxes, they finally built a small cubby house.
One travelling family were very impressed by the mess! Watching their younger child, the father said, “I don’t know what he is doing, but he is making something?” He was intrigued by his son’s concentration and ideas. Another adult told a group of children that their cubby was great. To that they say: “this is a train!”
I observed a young boy who found some yarn on the grass. He rolls it into a ball and decided to tape all around it. Indeed, he makes a ball! He then threw it in the air and caught the ball with a small container. He did it a few times and caught the ball each time.
Before packing up, we approached the children and suggested that they take anything they wanted to continue playing at home. They were overwhelmed by the idea and I felt like Oprah!
We started packing up at around 8pm as night started to fall. We put all the broken boxes in a skip bin and recycled what we could. Many parents and helpers stayed to help us clean up.