Useful resources

On this page you’ll find a number of resources that will help teachers and council staff implement the Kids Co-designing Healthy Places project.

Kids Gallery

The Kids Gallery showcases some examples of photos and annotations as well as a couple of digital stories where kids have responded to the task. These could be shared with kids to help them conduct their audits. You could also share them with colleagues, as seeing examples can be helpful.

The gallery below showcases some of the data that kids might collect as part of their project work. Keep in mind the data has been collected to help them answer a main question:

What are the physical and social aspects of your neighbourhood that might affect healthy eating and being active?


Healthy eating


Being active


Feeling safe


Digital stories

Teacher resources: learning about healthy places

Here are some resources that will help kids learn more about how places (environments) can positively or negatively affect people’s health. You’ll also find our healthy places animation here, which kids should watch before they do their audits.

This section includes resources to help you when you introduce the project to kids in your classrooms. Specifically, we want kids to understand how both physical and social environments affect health. This section will be helpful for council workers as well as teachers. 

This animation is the main resource we have developed to introduce kids to the project and develop their understanding of how physical and social environments affect health.

Once kids have watched the animation, we suggest spending some time unpacking what they have seen and exploring some other examples. This will help them think broadly about things they could look for in their local neighbourhoods. 

Brainstorming prompts 

After kids have watched the animation, we suggest that you hold a discussion to help them understand how environments affect health. Ideally, this discussion should be conducted in small groups and – once kids have had a chance to respond to the questions you have set – you can collect responses on the board. You could also conduct this discussion online via Padlet or a similar app. At the end of the discussion, kids should be able to identify a range of different ways their local environment affects healthy eating and being active. These understandings will equip kids to conduct their neighbourhood audit.

1. Prompt the kids: ‘From the animation you just watched, make a list of the different things you noticed and whether they were social, physical or both.'

For your information, the main examples in the animation include:

Healthy eating:

  • The neighbourhood has a pool kiosk with healthy low cost options (physical).
  • It has shops selling a range of healthy options (physical).
  • There is free water available (physical).
  • There has been a change to the advertising and images at the shops (physical and social).

Being active:

  • The community has a neighbourhood pool (physical).
  • The pool feels safe, inclusive and welcoming (social).
  • It has an access ramp (physical). 
  • There are green spaces, trees, seats and play equipment at the park (physical).
  • The neighbourhood has safe streets and crossings, and bike and walking paths (physical).
  • The park feels safe, fun and welcome (social).
  • Kids can see other kids being active at the park and at the pool (social).

Once students have made their lists, collate a larger class list to make sure you   have collected all of the examples.

Ask students to pick an example and discuss how it might affect either healthy eating or being active. Ideally, students will have a chance to share their insights with the class. 

2. Ask students to list three other examples of how different physical or social environments might affect community health.

To further promote student thinking here you could:

  • Show them a YouTube clip that examines how changing environments can lead to changes in behaviour.
  • For specific examples related to healthy eating and being active, the lists below should get kids thinking:
    • Healthy eating
      • The number and types of food shops (for example, supermarkets, bakeries, fruit and vegetable shops, fast food outlets) in the neighbourhood
      • How much food costs
      • Food advertising and digital marketing
      • What our family, friends and people in our social worlds consider 'normal' ways of preparing and eating foods, and how this impacts what foods we eat.
      • The benefits of community food gardens and markets
    • Being active
      • The range of activity options available
      • Access to different activity options (cost, location, times available)
      • Improvements to public transport so it’s easier or safer to use
      • The presence of safe walking and bike routes to school
      • The impact of social norms around gender, bodies, sexuality and culture (see the This Girl Can campaign, for example)
      • The range of different equipment in parks to play on
      • The condition (good or bad) of different facilities
  • Provide students with different health examples to think about:
    • Smoking
      • Increasing the cost of tobacco
      • Restricting access and availability (age you can purchase tobacco, places where you can purchase it)
      • Changing the rules around where people can and can’t smoke (smokefree places)
      • Banning advertising and enforcing plain packaging
    • Sun safety
      • Providing sunscreen
      • Providing shade at pools and in playgrounds
      • Having rules about wearing hats outside during certain times of the day (for example, ‘no hat, no play’)
    • Road safety
      • Enforcing speed limits
      • Introducing seatbelt laws
      • Making changes to cars to make them safer
      • Making changes to roads to make them safer
      • Creating bike paths and pedestrian crossings to keep cars, walkers and bike riders separate

Links to resources

A list of resources that have informed our focus on healthy places.

The following resources provide some of the background to our focus on healthy places. It is not an exhaustive list and you will find other resources in the toolkits, projects and background reading sections.

Healthy Places and Spaces

This guide showcases the work of a program run between the Australian Local Government Association, the Planning Institute of Australia and the Heart Foundation. The program aimed to design, plan and create sustainable communities. It includes project examples similar to Kids Co-Designing Healthy Places.

WHO social determinants of health

This website provides an overview of each of the World Health Organisation’s social determinants of health. This could be used as a source if teaching an introduction to community health indicators. 

VicHealth health promotion overview 

This YouTube clip by VicHealth will provide you with a broad overview of health promotion. It explains what some of the social determinants are and goes on to talk about how working to improve environments is key to promoting health. 

The Achievement Program

This Victorian Government program helps early years, schools and workplaces create healthy places for their students and staff. It provides a WHO-based framework with advice on creating healthy spaces. It highlights the importance of healthy physical and social environments as well as community connections, aligning well with the Kids Co-Designing Healthy Places project. 

Youth Action School Project

This project, funded by The Department of Education and Training, empowered young people, teachers, and other community stakeholders to co-design opportunities for themselves and others to be physically active across school and community contexts. Informed by critical inquiry and strengths-based approaches, a curriculum resource was co-designed by researchers from Monash University and teachers from three schools across Metropolitan Melbourne.

Changing Environments to Change Behaviour 

This YouTube clip provides a good example of what can happen if we make changes in the environment. You could play it as part of a discussion about how places positively or negatively affect being active. It is a fun example and could be used in the brainstorming session above to help kids think broadly about how environments impact on behaviour. It could also be used as a prompt during the KCDHP workshop to get kids thinking about what kinds of things they might change and how. You can also discuss some of the limitations to making changes; for instance, you could introduce cost as a consideration. 

Co-design toolkits

Here you will find a range of useful toolkits to help you adapt or develop new ideas for doing co-design. There are literally hundreds of examples across the different toolkits that you could choose from to help you embed co-design in your work.

The resources below are a selection of co-design resources and toolkits developed by different organisations. You can find lots of useful ideas, activities and tools to help you plan for and use co-design as an approach in your work.

VicHealth co-design resources

This article provides an introduction to co-design, explaining its origins, its potential uses, and how to use co-design with young people to deliver projects. 

Civic Service Design Tools + Tactics 

An introduction to service design for public servants, including practical ways to incorporate design methods. 

The Open Innovation Toolkit

A community-sourced set of best practices and principles for using human-centred design to develop products.

Design Thinking for Educators

This is a great design-thinking toolkit for teachers. Check out the Community Wall for lots of examples of teachers working with design thinking

The WACOSS Co-design Toolkit

A toolkit used by the Western Australian Council of Social Services to implement co-design in their planning processes.

Experience-based Co-design

A co-design toolkit developed for Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) and Consumers Forum of Australia (CHF) and based on the experiences of healthcare-system users.

The Rapid Design Sprint Toolkit

This design toolkit contains 18 tools and canvasses to enable an impactful, human-centered and outcome-focused design sprint (a rapid approach to design).

Ideo.org design kit

An online design kit providing a range of ideas for human-centred design methodologies.

Co-design projects involving kids

This section includes worked examples of how co-design has been used with kids and young people. Read on to see how other projects have worked with kids and co-design. You’ll find some great ideas as well as some very interesting findings. 

Below is a list of co-design projects involving children and young people. We have also included a range of projects which, although they might not be labelled as co-design, provide some great examples of how we can seek kids’ help to improve our environments.

Creating a Children's Plan with Children

This report illustrates children and parents’ views on what makes the City of Melbourne liveable. It presents the findings of a comprehensive consultation process with children and their families including data such as children’s words, drawings and photographs. You can look at it to see examples of how a similar project to KCDHP has been delivered.

CityStudio Vancouver

CityStudio Vancouver is an innovation hub, where city staff, students, faculty and community work together to design experimental projects that make Vancouver more sustainable, liveable and joyful. 

Child Friendly Places

Developed by the Children's Environments Research Group, Child Friendly Places is an approach for integrating children’s rights into local development initiatives and educational programs. It encourages a participatory, intergenerational and child-friendly assessment and planning methodology.

Co-creating Welfare

The Co-Creating Welfare project is a European Union–funded project aimed at using co-design principles to develop new curricula, education methods and training courses for professionals in the welfare sector.

Co-create EAT

A project that brings together 14 research and advocacy organisations including EAT, which describes itself as a global platform for food system transformation. Co-Create EAT aims to involve young people in shaping environments that prevent obesity and climate change.

Co-Designing with Young People

Published by Orygen, Australia’s National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, this guide is useful for anyone involved in designing, commissioning or delivering mental health care for young people. 

Sustainable Transport

Promoted by the NSW Government, Sustainable Transport is a five-step process designed to encourage teachers and students to explore issues related to transport, climate change and the environment. It supports authentic problem solving through active student participation.

Kids in the City

This website reports on a research project that investigated the wellbeing of children in Auckland, New Zealand. It documents the project’s process of co-designing a public space with children.

Background readings and useful references

The following references have informed the development of our co-design toolkit and might be useful for you to read if you are looking for further information.

Bearman, S. K., Bailin, A., Rodriguez, E., & Bellevue, A. (2020). Partnering with school providers to codesign mental health interventions: An open trial of Act & Adapt in urban public middle schools. Psychology in the Schools, October 2019, 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22410 

Bessant, J., Farthing, R., & Watts, R. (2016). Co-designing a civics curriculum: Young people, democratic deficit and political renewal in the EU. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 48(2), 271-289. 

Bødker, S., Grønbæk, K., & Kyng, M. (1993). Cooperative Design : Techniques and Experiences From the Scandinavian Scene. In D. Schuler & A. Namioka (Eds.), Participatory design: Principles and practices (pp. 0–14). Erlbaum. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-051574-8.50025-X 

Bratteteig, T., Bodker, K., Dittrich, Y., Mogensen, P., & Simonsen, J. (2013). Methods: Organizing Principles and General Guidelines for Participatory Design Projects. In Jesper Simonsen & T. Robertson (Eds.), Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Design (pp. 117–143). Routledge. 

Champion, K. E., Gardner, L. A., McGowan, C., Chapman, C., Thornton, L., Parmenter, B., ... & Teesson, M. (2020). A web-based intervention to prevent multiple chronic disease risk factors among adolescents: Co-design and user testing of the Health4Life school-based program. JMIR Formative Research, 4(7), e19485. 
Chisholm, J. (2015).
What is codesign? http://designforeurope.eu/what-co-design 

Cicognani, E., Albanesi, C., Valletta, L., & Prati, G. (2020). Quality of collaboration within health promotion partnerships: Impact on sense of community, empowerment, and perceived projects’ outcomes. Journal of Community Psychology, 48(2), 323–336. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22254 

Clark, A. (2005). Ways of seeing: Using the Mosaic approach to listen to young children’s perspectives. In A. Clark, Kjørholt, Moss, P (Ed.), Beyond Listening. Children’s perspectives on early childhood services (pp. 29-49). Bristol, The United Kingdom: Policy Press.

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (2009). Belonging, being and becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia. Retrieved from https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-02/belonging_being_and_becoming_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australia.pdf

Department of Education and Training (Victoria) (2016). Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework: For All Children From Birth to Eight Years. Retrieved from https://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/curriculum/earlyyears/veyldf/Pages/Index.aspx 

Donovan, D. (2016). How children represent sustainable consumption through participatory action research and co‐design of visual narratives. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 40(5), 562-574. 

Duhn, I. (2018). Governing Childhood. International Handbook of Early Childhood Education. Fleer, M. & van Oers, B. (eds). Springer, Vol. 1. P. 33-46. 

Griebler, U., Rojatz, D., Simovska, V., & Forster, R. (2017). Effects of student participation in school health promotion: a systematic review. Health promotion international, 32(2), 195-206. 

Hiniker, A., Sobel, K., & Lee, B. (2017). Co-Designing with Preschoolers Using Fictional Inquiry and Comic boarding. Paper presented at the CHI Conference on human factors in computing systems, Denver, CO. 

Mäkelä, T., Helfenstein, S., Lerkkanen, M. K., & Poikkeus, A. M. (2018). Student participation in learning environment improvement: Analysis of a co-design project in a Finnish upper secondary school. Learning Environments Research, 21(1), 19-41. 

NCOSS. (2017). Principles of Co-design. https://www.ncoss.org.au/sector-hub/sector-resources/principles-of-co-design/

Oshio, T., & Urakawa, K. (2012). Neighbourhood satisfaction, self-rated health, and psychological attributes: A multilevel analysis in Japan. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 32(4), 410–417. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2012.07.003 

Pruitt, L. (2017). Youth, politics, and participation in a changing world. Journal of sociology, 53(2), 507-513. 

Robertson, T., & Simonsen, J. (2013). Participatory Design: an introduction. In J Simonsen & T. Robertson (Eds.), Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Design (pp. 1–18). Routledge. 

Sanders, E. B.-N., & Stappers, P. J. (2008). Co-creation and the new landscapes of design. CoDesign, 4(1), 5–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/15710880701875068  Sanders, E. B.-N., & Stappers, P. J. (2014). Probes, toolkits and prototypes: three approaches to making in codesigning. Codesign-International Journal of Cocreation in Design and the Arts, 10(1, SI), 5–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/15710882.2014.888183 

Simmons, C., Graham, A., & Thomas, N. (2015). Imagining an ideal school for wellbeing: Locating student voice. Journal of Educational Change,16, 129–144

United Nations. (1989). Convention on the rights of the child. Retrieved from http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b38f0.html