Since early 2015, Buncombe Partnership for Children has been working with community volunteers to provide free play opportunities for children, families and communities. Our group, called Asheville Adventure Play, hosts Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds in Buncombe County. The excitement has spread to McDowell and Madison counties.

Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds are free, public celebrations of child-directed play, stocked with loose parts, such as cardboard boxes, fabric, tape, rope, buckets, sticks, wood, tarps, paint – you name it!

These events are modeled from the post-WW2 United Kingdom classic adventure playground movement, which gently introduces themes of freedom and risk by welcoming people of all ages and abilities to unstructured play together. Asheville Adventure Play volunteers identify pop-up locations, promote the events through social media, and act as play workers to supervise the temporary playgrounds. We participate in about a dozen pop-ups each year at festivals, private businesses, farmer’s markets, summer camps, and public parks.


Children growing up today are spending much less time outdoors and in unstructured play, and the impact is worrying. Play helps children:

  • Be more physically active
  • Improve coordination & creativity
  • Develop problem-solving and critical thinking
  • Take appropriate risk
  • Increase social skills
  • Improve coordination

Plus, it’s fun! Unstructured free play outside brings a host of benefits to children.

Funding from the Active Play Alliance has allowed us to purchase an enclosed trailer for storage of transportation of the materials needed to host a pop-up adventure playground.

Check our Facebook Page for upcoming locations and information about the Playwork Movement in WNC.