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Nüdel Kart: All inclusive, flat packed,loose parts play kart,providing a scalable solution to improve child development & community cohesion

Children are a powerful ally in building bridges and connections for parents and the broader community in any global environment

Photo of Marcus Veerman
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

The Nüdel Kart solution was specifically designed and tested with refugees, and from its foundation is interactive and all inclusive; culturally, physically and developmentally. Play is such an important need for all children, and Nüdel Kart provides an innovative and attractive play solution via infinite possibilities, imagination and breadth of appeal. It creates a safe space for dialogue and connection in places where this is often extremely difficult due to differences in culture, language, trauma and social norms. This cultural division leads to a lack of social capital and connections between residents resulting in disharmony, greater stress and a lower sense of well being. We know millions of children in emergencies, disasters and protracted crises, will not get sufficient stimulation to reach their full developmental potential. Even in developed countries, the importance of play for children is underestimated and increasing urbanisation and lack of public green spaces are contributing factors. What we do know is that all communities and cultures share one thing in common; keeping their children safe and happy. We propose using the Nudel Kart play model to bring children together, and ultimately families and communities, through this rich shared experience. Play is a fundamental basic right in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Studies have shown early play experiences shape a child's physical growth, capacity for learning, chances of finishing school, future employment and even income. They form connections, build social and emotional skills, and develop positive long-term attitudes to discovery and learning. Multiple 20-40 year longitudinal studies have demonstrated a profound impact of play based interventions including significant economic gains both for individuals and for society as a whole. Nüdel Kart becomes the catalyst to help create social capital and community cohesion.It brings communities together through the shared goals of children

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Nüdel Kart creates an instant, adaptable space with infinite configurations anywhere in the world. Flat packed, portable, scalable, Nüdel Kart has been designed, prototyped and trialed in some of the most divergent contexts for children on earth, from crowded, desperate refugee camps in Lebanon, to exclusive Australian private schools. Nüdel Kart can be set up in “neutral” zones and areas within a community which is important to help create a balanced, non confrontational environment.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Shared experience. Everyone wants to feel safe, free and connected in the place they live and universally we all want to nurture, protect and develop children. Nudel Kart supports these goals and acts as a catalyst to bring the community together. Ultimately, connected communities create social capital which drives opportunity and harmony.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

1.The right for children to Play and the derived benefits. Play in the early years of life has a profound and lasting influence on a child’s health, wellbeing, and long-term development. Play is not an alternative to learning. It is not a diversion from learning. Rather, it provides the foundation for learning, and studies have shown early play experiences shape a child’s physical growth, capacity for learning, chances of finishing school, future employability, and even income. Through play, children develop the neurological building blocks essential to further learning and growth. They form connections, build social and emotional skills, and develop positive long-term attitudes to discovery and learning. 2.The need for connections, networks and friendship for parents and the broader community. Humans crave connection and a deep sense that they belong and are welcome . Nüdel Kart creates spaces to connect communities around the universally shared goal of nurturing the next generation.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

Using the Nudel Kart as a catalyst for positive connections through children and play will see improved social capital across the community. Ultimately we are smoothing the process of assimilation whilst providing all children within the community, the building blocks and necessary development space to succeed and thrive in later life. There is already a significant body of longitudinal research that supports the long term benefits of play to individuals and the broader community. There are also simple ways we can measure the success of a project such as the Scanlon-Monash Index of social cohesion which can monitor: Belonging - Friendships, memberships Worth - Financial / Mental well being Social Justice and Equity - Trust, balance of power Participation - Voting Acceptance / Rejection and Legitimacy - Discriminition; Do they think the future looks better or worse? This list would require significant community input.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Childhood play is a universal phenomenon found in all cultures. Play is the key driver of development in the early years and it is particularly important for humans because of the complex social system in which we live, and must adapt to. Children develop so rapidly in their early years, thus the effect of early developmental deficit leads to disproportionately large reductions in opportunity and capacity in adulthood, which in turn affect whole communities. Our vision is for a world where children get the stimulating play they need in a calm, low stress context. This enables them to build their brains and learn the critical skills required to thrive throughout their lifespan, especially those living in disaster, conflict and disadvantaged environments.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Nüdel Kart has been designed to meet the needs of communities universally, especially those impacted by disaster and conflict. It is the initial gateway for quality developmental play. The design allows for children and communities to adapt and change according to their environment, cultural and developmental needs. Outcomes based on prototyping and testing within refugee and developed nations: Scalability- built to be scaled; the larger the scale of the project the greater the collective outcomes and ROI; Portability– both to the site and during sessions; Child led– play stems from their own imagination and skills; Creates strong bonds between adults and children; All inclusive; High engagement across age range (3-14yrs); Breadth of types of play children engaged in; Youth leadership– children taking responsibility of Nüdel Kart packing up/building; Psycho-social support- children can return to a calm, mentally stable place, enabling them to re engage with learning and development

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Nudel Kart is a loose parts play model which is simply a name for stimulating materials that children can use to learn how the world works. Unlike “normal” Playgrounds or toys, loose parts are open ended and reusable in an infinite number of ways depending on the child’s needs for development. It is because of their open-endedness that they engage the highest forms of thinking and interaction such as creativity, problem solving, and social skills. So whilst loose parts play is great for psycho-social support to kids from traumatised or disadvantaged backgrounds, the karts will be used differently in different contexts for a truly all inclusive experience. Nüdel cart encourages both infinite possibility and imagination in a real environment and then, in a social environment. Local children and affected communities can increase their development by using their existing capabilities and strengths whilst creating a shared narrative.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Nudel Kart is an innovative play model developed by Playground ideas (PI). PIayground Ideas was created in 2007 and has supported play projects in over 2500 communities in 143 countries, helping 1.4m+ children to access stimulating open ended play in some of the harshest contexts on earth. But we have not done this alone. PI has partnered with local communities, not for profits (local and international), as well as corporate organisations to make this happen. Supported by an innovative board, PI has an extensive local and global network that can support our work almost anywhere. The Global Play Alliance is a network of organisations focused on creating play opportunities for children in communities where these resources do not exist or are in short supply. Together we commit to goodwill, cooperation and open-source sharing of time, ideas, resources, and knowledge to give more children around the world access to play.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Product: A new or enhanced physical product that creates value for end beneficiaries

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

Group or Organization Name

Playground Ideas

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Playground Ideas (PI) has over a decade of experience in creating resources and building a global community with a specialisation in scale at extremely low cost. PI has supported play projects in over 2500 communities in 143 countries, helping 1.4m+ children to access stimulating open ended play in some of the harshest contexts on earth. Nüdel Kart is the world’s first loose parts play solution truly designed for mass scale to impact the lives of billions. It is a new innovation that fulfills both the critical developmental needs of children in early life and can help to bring together families and communities through play. Although the contexts vary dramatically for children across the globe, their developmental needs are remarkably similar and all children have often unrecognised but powerful internal tools to drive their own development. Nüdel Kart is designed to create the perfect environment for a child to dramatically increase their capacity.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State

Melbourne, Victoria


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dana Ilmari Polojärvi

Hi, Marcus,

I love this idea, and the video of the children playing speaks to the effectiveness of the prototype. I think my question is somewhat similar to Lynne's. I'm wondering about the way you're planning on scaling up the project to meet the overall goals. I see that you're working with Playground Ideas, but I'm having trouble visualizing your next steps for moving forward. Do you want to make this part of a toy line for a company? Create a company of your own? Distribute as needed (if so, how would you define the need)? I'm especially curious about how you hope to get Nudel Cart to areas impacted by disaster and conflict.

For me these questions are directly related to the OpenIDEO heading above "How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)".

Thanks for the inspiring idea!


Photo of Marcus Veerman

Hi Dana,
Thanks for your query. Nüdel Kart is part of Playground Ideas, it's a product that the founder created and designed with the help of his global network. We are currently looking for funding and implementing partners and grants such as this to help us get the karts in the hardest to reach communities, such as though impacted by disaster and conflict. The Nüdel Kart comes flat packed and is easy to assemble so with the right partners and funding we believe it is relatively easy to get them to these hard to reach areas. Once assembled the karts are portable and have been tested in some of these environments. The Kart does require a facilitator so we are hoping to get input from INGO's to help with implementation, but you can also train individuals in the community for this role so they are empowered to implement this themselves. Hope that somewhat answers your questions.
Kind regards

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