The healthy digital playground

Active play is fundamental to cardio-metabolic health and development of motor skill. But some children lack the opportunity for outdoor play. For instance because they have been hospitalized or live in an urban area with a lack of safe play spaces.

In this project we will enhance indoor spaces with a digital playground that is healthy for the heart and brain. Healthy for the heart means that it stimulates physical activity. Healthy for the brain means that it stimulates children to explore different movements and interactions. This exploration behavior is crucial to development of motor skill. Moreover, it will allow children to develop the self confidence that builds durable motivation for physical activity. By integrating neuroscience, design and medicine we develop an in-depth perspective of how design decisions affect human behaviour and health. This way, we will be able to develop generalized design recommendations for healthy play products.

Academic team

The academic team has been founded in the academic medical centers of Amsterdam. dr. Arend van Deutekom, pediatrician at the AMC knows about the heart, dr. Katinka van der Kooij, postdoc at the VUMC, knows about the brain and dr. Teatske Altenburg, assistant professor at the VUMC knows about the determinants and consequences of physical activity and sedentary behaviour.



  1. Open-ended design that stimulates exploration
  2. Participatory research with children
  3. Assessment of cardiovascular risk profile, motor learning and motivation
  4. Iterative prototype testing & fast results

Outcomes and results

  • Prototype of a healthy digital playground
  • Design guidelines for active games resulting in healthy play


  • A healthier and happier youth

Join us

To make our project a reality we need more partners! We are seeking collaboration with:

  • Companies that develop motion sensors for play technology
  • Creative developers and design schools
  • Municipalities that can offer a local perspective on children’s play opportunities