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Ribbon HUNDRED 2019
How can the power of play improve a child’s educational outcomes?

Playground Ideas

location_on Melbourne, Australia
Building playgrounds to build brains. These unique, child designed playgrounds are built using local materials to provide abundant opportunities for daily play. Recent addition - Nüdel Kart; a deconstructable, mobile play kart that can be reconfigured in endless ways to encourage self-directed learning. It contains research-backed specially selected materials to stimulate children’s development.
Marcus Veerman, Founder & CEO
Anyone anywhere can do it - if you have motivation and commitment you can build a playground for children anywhere in the world

Marcus Veerman, Founder & CEO


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2019

HundrED 2018


Victoria, Australia

Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
2 300 000
7 459
Updated on March 17th, 2022
about the innovation

What is Playground Ideas?

More than just a nice way for children to pass the time, play has an incredibly important role in a child’s development. Self-directed play has many positive effects on the body and brain. Gross motor skills are developed and improved along with social skills, risk awareness, self control and creative thinking for problem solving. There is evidence to suggest that if children miss out on this early stimulation there are long term negative consequences.

However, in many countries possibilities for play are limited. This may be due to the nature of the education system or the lack of opportunity and space for play. The UN predicts that 250 million children will turn 5 years old without reaching full development potential. Many of these children are from lower to middle income families in developing countries.

Playground Ideas is a not for profit organisation that both advocates for the importance of play and supports communities in developing countries to build their own low cost, safe playgrounds. Over the past 11 years they have supported communities in 85, predominantly developing, countries to build thousands of playgrounds.

Playground Ideas provides downloadable ideas, plans and manuals free of charge to empower communities to build their own playgrounds. There are over 150 design ideas all of which can be adapted for different age groups. A 3D design tool enables the design of a completely bespoke playground to suit local needs.

The playgrounds are made with materials that are readily and cheaply available rather than specially designed playground equipment. For example, tyres can be used in many ways to build a variety of activities such as swings and seesaws or to build a sandpit for sensory play. Included in the guides are also ideas for sparking imaginative role play by building a shop front, for example.

The guides come with step by step instructions on how to build each aspect of a playground along with safety information for each piece of equipment. There are also manuals to support the design of inclusive playground spaces so all children can benefit from the playground. Playground Ideas is committed to play-based education and also provides information for educators on how to develop this pedagogy.

Despite studies that show that stimulating play in the early years of a child’s life can improve life chances considerably, for some governments and communities this is somewhat counter intuitive and can present a barrier to play provision. Advocacy of the importance of play has become a central part of the work of Playground Ideas.

While the playgrounds are low cost, a certain level of outlay is inevitable. In order to support local communities to raise the funds required to build their own playgrounds, Playground Ideas offers a fee-free crowdfunding service.

Founder of Playground Ideas, Marcus Veerman, was named as one of the top 100 Global Public Interest Designers.

As of February 2020, Playground Ideas has supported play spaces in more than 4000 communities, in over 143 countried, impacting more than 2 million children.


HundrED Academy Review

Very cool. Their overall approach is scalable and seems accessible and supported by training and support for acquiring funding.

- HundrED Academy Member

Learning by doing and playing together with other children has many positive effects on the body and brain. Gross motor skills are developed and improved along with social skills, risk awareness, How can the power of play improve self control and creative thinking for problem solving.

- HundrED Academy Member
Playground Ideas is a not for profit that provides downloadable ideas, plans and manuals free of charge to empower communities to build their own playgrounds. By open sourcing all of the materials, Playground Ideas has leveraged a global community of thousands to impact almost a million children with a staff team of less than three. So far there have been DIY playground projects in 125 countries!
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

See this innovation in action

Hey Educators! This is the Award Winning Nüdel Kart.
The Nüdel Kart was designed to perfectly pair with a child’s unstoppable urge to explore, experiment, imagine and play, to create the perfect environment for a child to dramatically increase their capacity.So what is it?Nüdel Kart is a mobile play and learning space, a kart that explodes into more than 200 different research backed loose parts, that children can explore and experiment with in endless ways. How does it work?Nüdel Kart has taken the concepts and principles of loose parts and refined them to create a powerful combination of elements proven to work together to maximise an endless array of activities. The nature of loose parts play encourages imagination, creativity, and experimentation. Specific design features of the kart encourage collaboration, communication, resilience and negotiation. Is it proven?Nüdel Kart has been designed, prototyped and trialed in some of the most divergent contexts for children on earth, from crowded, desperate refugee camps to exclusive western private schools. The Nüdel Kart is advised by longitudinal research from Cambridge, Harvard and the University of Sydney, currently running a 17 year trial providing and observing how children interact with different materials. 
HundrED Victoria Spotlight - Playground Ideas
Drag Drop Playground Designer - Playground Ideas
The Story of a Slide A Saurus Rex
PLAYGROUND IDEAS - How Ana Built the Coolest DIY Playground
PLAYGROUND IDEAS - Build a playground, anywhere.
Playground Ideas - Marcus Veerman


Achievements & Awards

November 2020
September 2020
Reached 2m+ kids Feb 2020
September 2020
Launched Nüdel Kart - Sep 2019
September 2020
Good Design Awards
May 2019
November 2018
HundrED 2019
October 2018
Victoria, Australia
September 2017
HundrED 2018
September 2017
Innovation page created on

Spread of the innovation

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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Do your research!
Visit to find out why play is crucial to a child's life chances.
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Create a free account
Create a free account on the Playground Ideas website which will then provide you with free access to all resources, including over 150 designs, instructions, manuals on designing, building, safety, maintenance, inclusive design and loose parts, a 3D designer and much more.
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Conduct a community consultation
Download the Playground Builder's Handbook which is full of information about how to conduct an effective community consultation.
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Create a project
After you've signed up for a free account, go to your dashboard on the website to create a project.
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Build that playground!
Use the online manuals and designs to create your play space. Gather materials and volunteers and get building!
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How To Guide: Playground Ideas
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