Purpose and scope Nüdel Kart has been designed and manufactured by Playground Ideas from natural and non-toxic materials. Playground Ideas have over a decade of experience designing, resourcing and building children’s play spaces both locally and globally, and have mitigated through design and selected materials, all conceivable risks.
The design is in accordance with and exceeds international toy and playground safety standards, including AS 4685, ISO 8124, EN 71, ASTM F1487-17 and ASTM F963.
We promote independent, freely chosen and self-directed play with a focus on STEM, 21st Century and social skills . We work in a wide range of contexts, cultures and communities globally, and have designed and manufactured Nüdel Kart to be as freely experienced by children who have endured trauma, as those who are lucky enough to be simply building happy, healthy cognitive development. Free play often carries a degree of risk that is best managed through a dynamic approach and best supported through training and preparation.
This template document is designed as a part of a dynamic risk management approach, and will support supervisors(3) in maintaining, for players, an optimum independence in a Nüdel Kart play experience, balancing the risk against the benefit of each element(2).
Development of your RBA In a Nüdel Kart play experience, participants use a range of “elements” - wooden shapes, bean bags, poles, cloth and tubes. You may choose to add your own, including tape, rope, clamps, pegs, chalk, blocks and more. These all need to be assessed in this document in the same way that we have assessed our Nüdel Kart elements.
The degree of understanding that participants have, of a diverse range of materials, will vary greatly, and an RBA prompts supervisors to reflect on and to consider that, for example, some children may not have had physical experience with the weight and movement of a rolling shape exerting centrifugal force, or the constricting strength of a binding cloth, as increased by the force of their own body weight. The active nature of an RBA means that supervisors are better able to predict uses, or ‘affordances’(1) of elements that are in use during the session and the behaviour of participants, in order to better reduce unnecessary “adulterating(4)” of play and experimentation, and to pursue a dynamic risk mitigation.
Consideration should be made to the affordances(1) of the elements within the Nüdel Kart, both in isolation and together, the surrounding environment and any changes within this environment over time, participants and others attracted to Nüdel Kart play, as well as the school’s culture around excitable behaviour - Nüdel Kart play works best with in a rights based school culture.
NOTE: Additional Supervisor TRAINING Contact us for further details of Playworker inspired training at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maximised rotational possibilities and therefore good potential for some unpredictability and challenge
Development of self-confidence and wellbeing
Learning through experience: designs not working as expected, materials not performing as expected and accidents from which one might learn
Participants encounter creative challenges and opportunities that can be overcome and taken advantage of, by the use of design, iteration, materials or technique, solving and achieving in the same way an engineer might
Engagement with natural forces of balance and movement
Potential to be incorporated into imaginative games where participants’ own creations are the play context
Mixing between different age ranges
Stepping away from traditional identities of academic or physical skill attainment, and instead emphasising non-specific skills, experimentation and iteration
Developing technological skills through scaffolding and mentoring between participants
Participating with, and seeing adults create and solve technological challenges
Participating with, and seeing adults play
Links to curriculum Framework.
Local Factors: (draft to suit your situation) Is the surrounding space close to:
low tree limbs
ball games, sports, high vigorous activity
things that should not be included in play.
Are the participants:
experienced with ‘loose parts’ play - cause and effect
experienced in managing their own behaviour - cause and effect
physically able to lift heavy objects
experienced with co-operative, collaborative free-play -negotiation and compromise
able to engineer attachment and stability.
Precedents / Comparisons:
Pop-Up Play & loose parts play spaces are common in The U.K. and growing in popularity in China, Australia and The U.S.A.
There is a growing understanding of the value of ‘Loose Parts’ programs globally, with a sense that there is school-yard provision of fixed play equipment and sports equipment but not for creative, role-play, social-play and informal Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM).
Affordances - A property or feature of an object which presents a prompt on what can be done with this object. ie. one of the affordances of an inflatable ball is that it rolls, another is that it cushions, another that it bounces.
Elements - The pieces, parts or objects that are provided for up a loose parts Nüdel Kart play experience.
Supervisor - Anyone that is trained and authorised to work with children. May also be referred to as a facilitator, teacher, early childhood educator, playworker.
Adulterating - The interference of adults in children’s play, usually through overt management, ‘teaching’ children during play or ‘fixing’ social or mechanical challenges before children can resolve these for themselves.
Dynamic - In the moment, improvised, prepared with a range of responses, anticipating multiple possibilities.
Loose Parts - Objects/Elements that are moveable by children and not anchored in the ground, can be connected together to use in whatever way the play-er chooses and have no inherent play value requiring the ideas and inspirations of the play to come exclusively from the play-ers.
Before play - Supervisors have the opportunity to affect the type of play prior to the workshop by removing objects or associating them with something else ie. if ‘Wheels’ are placed on, or next to a dowel it is likely to become a wheel and axle construction, if the wheel is placed on a box next to the “bowl” and “cup” it is likely to be a plate on a table.
In Play - To affect change during the play event. This may mean removing an element from the play space, reinforcing a construction, placing a tool or component piece nearby.
Hazards - Hazards’ are those risks that offer no value to children and could cause serious harm. Some common hazards are covered in this Assessment Document and they can and should be eliminated without loss of play value to children.
What's the difference between a risk and a hazard? Risks are inherent in play and allow for childhood growth and development. They are things that children can see and adapt to and learn from.
A hazard is something that children can’t see or are developmentally unaware of. For example, a stick with a hidden nail is a hazard, while the stick itself contains inherent risks that are good for a child to understand. Many settings that provide free-play opportunities for children use a ‘Risk Benefit Assessment’ model, whereby play types, objects and settings are assessed based on their developmental benefits versus the likelihood of injury (physical or social/ emotional).
(Canadian Public Health Association, 2019; Little, H., & Wyver, S., 2008)
Maintenance Procedure Whilst the Nüdel Kart was designed to be durable, it is still possible to break any item.
(Extract from Nüdel Kart Manual) Everything in the Nüdel Kart is easily maintainable. Nüdel Kart is like a car. With regular maintenance it will give you faithful service day after day. Over time, do:
Before and after play, inspect all parts for signs of visible damage or wear and tear that indicates a broken or weakened part. Damaged parts must be discarded, repaired or replaced. Failure to properly inspect and repair may result in serious injury. Discourage children putting objects in their mouth for hygiene reasons
You may occasionally need to wash/clean loose parts after a period of play, depending on the play environment and weather.
You can restock with Nüdel Kart parts from our website
When considering safety, it is important to distinguish between a risk and a hazard(refer to previous page)
Suggested In-Play Management Supervisors are urged to interfere as little as possible during In-Play moments, rather to influence play by changing the environment - creating something engaging close by in order to distract from risky or inappropriate behaviour, or simply being quietly present - close when necessary and further away as behaviour is reduced.
Significant time and effort has been directed towards designing each and every element of Nüdel Kart, so as to avert risk and the possibility of injury. In ‘normal’ play situations with supervision consistent with advice from your Nüdel Kart Manual, the following risks should be regarded as unlikely but possible. We list them here so as to best prepare supervisors in their role.
During play Nüdel Kart elements will be spread around the floor in a constructive chaos. Supervisors should ensure that elements not being used are cleared and piled out of the thoroughfare, so as to reduce tripping hazards.
Holes of any kind in any solid shape carry a risk of finger entrapment. A combination of weight and angle may cause injury to fingers and wrists if applied in various ways. While the holes in Nüdel Kart have been designed with sufficient diameter to allow fingers ample room to engage and release, Supervisors will need to be conscious of overtly physical activity and how elements are being held or supported.