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Playground Ideas

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

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.

HundrED 2019


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2019

HundrED 2018


Victoria, Australia

Web presence






Target group
September 2017
Anyone anywhere can do it - if you have motivation and commitment you can build a playground for children anywhere in the world

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. A3D 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 studiesthat showthat stimulating play in the early years of a child’s life can improve life chances considerably, forsome 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.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

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!

HundrED Academy Reviews

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

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.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Do your research!
Visit to find out why play is crucial to a child's life chances.

If you're interested in building a playground, you probably already understand how important play is to childhood development. But did you know that access to early childhood play can have long term effects, such as boostinghigh school graduation by 44% and even increasingthe chance of earning a bachelor degree by 17%?

Browse the website and make sure to read The Case for Play,Playground Ideas’ groundbreaking report highlighting the most significant research findings on the impact of early play interventions, particularly for children living in poverty.

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.

By creating an account, you'll be able to download over 150 playground designs, made to inspire creative, imaginative, active and social play. Each design comes complete with full DIY instructions andincorporateslow-cost, recycled andeasy to find materials like used car tires, timberand sand.No specialized skills are required and the pictorial instructions mean anyone can use the guides regardless of language, plusthe designs are customizable to your location and materials.

Conduct a community consultation
Download the Playground Builder's Handbook which is full of information about how to conduct an effective community consultation.

Talk to the community about what they are already doing well and understand what youare planning to achieve together. Use the activities to gather the information necessary to create a space that is unique and relevant to the community, and take an inventory of community assets.

Create a project
After you've signed up for a free account, go to your dashboard on the website to create a project.

Find your favourite designs and add them in, usingthe 3D designer to create a to-scale 3D professional site plan for your playground in minutes. Based on your community consultation, create a project that suits your community's needs and desires and keep checking back in with your community about it.

Build that playground!
Use the online manuals and designs to create your play space. Gather materials and volunteers and get building!

The Playground Ideas website has all the resources you will need, and the team is available to guide you through any issues you might have along the way.

On the website, you can create a crowdfunding page, where you can collect fee free donations for your project as well as advertise for volunteers. You can also collaborate with other playground builders in your region to learn handy tips and tricks. Remember to update your supporters as your project develops!

How To Guide: Playground Ideas

An Overall How-To Guide: By HundrED Spotlight on Victoria

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