If you think your kids have fun with Legos, wait till they experience the Pop-up Adventure Playground that Summit School of Ahwatukee is making available to families for free this weekend.
The “Pop-Up Adventure Playground” will be presented 10 a.m.-noon on the campus of Summit School of Ahwatukee, 4515 E. Muirwood Drive, one block south of Chandler Boulevard on the corner of 46th Street.
This free community event is literally popping up all over the globe – including Cairo, Shanghai, Mexico City, New York,” said Summit in a release, saying it’s free through its partnership with Treasures 4 Teachers and Pop-Up Adventure Play.
The materials, or “loose parts,” can be combined, moved, carried, redesigned, lined up, taken apart and put back together in multiple ways.
There are no specific directions for the large boxes, cardboard tubes, fabric, yarn, rocks, sticks, boxes, tires, markers, tape and other stuff provided to children, who can take home their creations.
“These events are a fantastic way for people of all ages to come together,” said Morgan Leichter-Saxby, Pop-Up Adventure Playground co-founder.
“Play is so important for children’s growth and development and for their happiness,” she said. “Pop-Up Adventure playgrounds are also a fun way to bridge our differences within the community and connect on a deep level, sending a clear message that you don’t need money to play.”
Andrea Benkel, Summit’s director of early childhood education, said playing with the loose parts “is the foundation for critical thinking and creativity.”
“We celebrate the ‘mini-makers’ in all children and look forward to the engineers, scientists, artists, mathematicians and technology innovators that will have their visions come to life at this event,” Benkel added, noting:
“As a NAEYC-accredited preschool and an elementary and middle school devoted to teaching critical thinking skills for all students.”
Barbara Blalock, a former teacher in Ahwatukee who founded and directs Treasures 4 Teachers, said, “We are on a mission to educate parents on the value of play, using wonderful materials called ‘loose parts,’ which are materials that have no specific outcome other than to build on a child’s imagination.”
Her Treasures 4 Teachers traces its origin to 2004, when saw a need to do something to help teachers who often don’t have even the basic supplies they need for their students.
Armed with only her passion and her now-emptied Ahwatukee garage, she began Treasures 4 Teachers, a creative reuse center for teachers to get the supplies they need for free or at a low cost, so their students can be successful.
Today, a plethora of local business, schools and private donors keep Blalock’s 12,000-square-foot facility filled in Tempe, serving thousands of teachers and students.
“Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds are truly a gift for children and families,” Blalock said.
At Pop-Up Playgrounds, volunteers are called “play workers.”
Volunteers will include Summit School students from the Spanish Honors Society and National Junior Honors Society, eighth-grade ambassadors and fifth-graders who have applied and earned the designation of “self-managers.”
The self-managers earned their leadership positions by demonstrating strong abilities to independently and successfully manage activities and school.
The Summit fifth-graders will be entrepreneurs for the day, with the goal of organizing and building a profitable business to sell snacks at the event. Students will select a business name, procure a healthy food choice to sell, set price points, design signage and create a work schedule. Their profits will be donated to a charity.