On October 29 and 30, 2016, Reimagine Play unveiled its “Pop-up Playground” exhibit at the Boston Public Schools’ BuildBPS Open House held at the Bruce Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury, MA. BPS opened its doors to the community to showcase its history and obtain input on its vision for the future of schools. A variety of panels, workshops and displays highlighted the changes that will form part of BPS’ facilities investments and instructional improvements.
In line with BPS’ focus on innovation, Reimagine Play was thrilled to create an interactive playable exhibit called the “Pop-up Playground” for the Open House. Many of the play creations were part of Reimagine Play’s original KaBOOM! Play Everywhere Challenge application to develop Boston’s first pop-up obstacle course for families, especially those in under-served neighborhoods.
The play structures in the KaBOOM challenge were designed with Alexandra Bowen, an urban designer with a passion for technology and community development. We wanted to transform an empty, unexpected space into a vibrant, indoor play scape to foster interaction, community-building and just plain fun. While academics are an important part of education, play is a universal skill builder. It is well-known that active play helps all kids develop their creativity, critical thinking and social and emotional skills necessary for success in school and life.
The focal point of the exhibit was the giant space net, a specially-made slackline nest featuring the craftsmanship of professional slackliner, Mike Payton. Space nets are used by adventure sport athletes who have honed the skill of walking across slacklines erected across mountains and then jumping thorough these nets with parachutes. This one was a bit closer to the ground and still offered hours of fun for kids and adults alike.
The space net and slackline was installed by our new friends Dan Walsh and Rusty McStix at Slackline Boston who showed us a few tricks and treats. Both kids and adults played in the space net with delight and many took up the challenge of walking the slackline. We even had a surprise visit by circus tight-rope walker, Blake Wallenda.
The Pop-Up Playground also featured classic geo-dome climbers patiently built by BPS staff and volunteers. LED stackable light cubes, a life-size box art maze decorated by kids and an imagination board filled with comments added a layer of art and creativity to the exhibit. The goal of this interactive installation was to create a unique place for kids and caregivers to play, challenge themselves and interact with each other.
The installation was so well received that Reimagine Play will be doing a road show of the “Pop-up Playground” in other locations, including schools interested in re-imagine a space in a new, playful way. To reserve the exhibit, please contact us.