Pop-Up Play Spaces NYC

Pop-up play spaces provide the joy of unstructured play to the children of NYC.


5 Step Guide to

Pop-Up Play Spaces NYC


 Pop-Up Play Spaces NYC "Setting aside a space for a couple of hours that is dedicated to children has a wonderful effect on a community, bringing neighbors, local businesses, and organizations together in support of play. The steps below give you a sense of what you'll need to do to create such an experience and we look forward to sharing our toolkit with you once we've connected!" - Zoe Fortin, Executive Director, play:groundNYC

5 Steps

Who? Someone who...

Resource Checklist


Running the Pop Up event is a 10-hour commitment and you'll need to commit a couple of hours in advance to source the materials, let people know it's happening and sort the necessary permits and insurances.

What is play work? Start Reading & Get Connected

Play is a fundamental right and decades of research have demonstrated the wide benefits of self-directed time for children. We've developed a toolkit that tells you a bit more about why play matters and how you can be part of this impactful play work. The toolkit outlines the history of play in the streets of NYC and includes a video about the magic of unstructured play. We also introduce you to the field of playwork, with a short reading on its guiding principles.  It also contains links to the Loose Parts Manual, Risk Assessment and other helpful resources developed by leaders in the world of play and child development.

To recieve a free copy of this Pop-Up Adventure Play x play:groundNYC toolkit simply sign up to the ChangeX platform and complete the 5 steps to becoming a Pop Up Adventure Play group - we'll email you a link to the toolkit and connect with our team and other Pop Up Adventurers in our community.

You can also listen to this great Podcast for information and inspiration!

Choose a Site, Set a Time & Gather Materials

This step of the toolkit gets into the logistics of organising a play pop-up - lots of refences to NYC as this is where we live, work and play but you can adapt it to your own neighbourhood. We’ll give you suggestions on how to find a site that is free and publicly accessible and share lots of resources on what materials you might need, and how to find them. 

Gather Support, Spread the Word & Last Preparations

In contemporary New York City it’s unusual to have a group of children playing with random objects in a public space. This means that, in order for your event to be successful, you need to gather supporters. Our toolkit provides tips on how to do this and share some additional materials on the health benefits of controlled risks for children’s development. 

It’s Happening!

This step of the toolkit is about the day of your pop-up! We’ll share some last minute reminders to help you support children’s play and ensure everything is as smooth as possible. Think Welcome Plans, Refreshments, Basic Event Toolkits - things you already know and a few you'll be glad to remember!

Clean Up, Congratulations and Self-Care!

When children leave a pop-up, there are a few reactions that are very normal. In the last step of the toolkit, we’ll give you tips about the end of the play pop-up and prompts to reflect on your experience. Thank you for joining us! We hope that this is a beautiful start to your play advocacy adventure.