This multi-use toy piece was originally used by many children as well as our Kinderfeets creator in Waldorf early childhood classrooms. It was created to help children develop a sense of balance, stimulate their vestibular system, and gain a deep sense of awareness of their body and body parts.
Our German beechwood Kinderboard is Dutch designed and it’s excellent for stimulating child development—both physical and mental—and offers open-ended play opportunities for toddlers, children, teens, and even adults. It can hold up to 220kg/485lbs! The Kinderboard has water-based lacquer and can be used both indoors and out, perfect for rainy and sunny days at home or in a school environment.
Watch the child’s imagination take over once their Kinderboard arrives. It becomes a seesaw, a balance board, a slide, a step stool, a boat, a resting place, a doll bed, a puppet stage, a tunnel and many more opportunities for them to explore. The possibilities are endless—and truly up to them!
The making of a Kinderboard
Kinderboards look deceptively simple. Developed for use in Waldorf early childhood classrooms they're a simple but rather clever concept for developing a child's balance, stimulating their vestibular system and helping them gain a deeper awareness of their body and body parts. However, as is often the case with many of the world's most enduring toys things are never quite what they seem.
A Kinderboard's hidden cost and complexity begins with the raw material used in its manufacture. Each board is made using Beech plywood; a heavier, denser timber than other cheaper options. This ensures it’s both strong and durable and thus will endure plenty of energetic play. The timber used is also FSC certified. This means it’s often more expensive than untraceable non-sustainability harvested alternatives.
Before a board can be shaped its plywood must first be manufactured. This process involves kiln drying the raw timber until its moisture content falls below 2%. Thin timber veneer sheets are then cut from each log. These are carefully layered and glued by hand to form a plywood panel. Rectangular shapes cut from each panel then begin the journey that results in a finished Kinderboard.
Creating their elegant shape is the first step. Super-heated steam is used to soften the raw plank at a temperature of more than 130°C. The plank is then carefully bent using a custom built shaping form. The form holds the plank under tension until the softened wood cools and hardens into its final curve. It almost an hour to bend and set each board. This process involves expensive industrial steam presses that make only one board at a time. This obviously limits the number of boards you can make in a day. Furthermore, not all planks survive the shaping process and must be discarded.
Raw planks that made through the shaping process are then sanded and shaped by hand to ensure a smooth and elegant finish. This includes the addition of each board’s deceptively simple corner curves. Adding these finishing touches is a surprisingly time-consuming task.
The completed Kinderboard is then stained and lacquered. This involves up to four coats per board. Each coat is applied by hand and then hand sanded before the next is applied. Kinderfeets uses ecologically friendly stains and lacquers. These are more expensive than solvent-based alternatives.
A final quality review identifies and removes any boards which have developed significant cosmetic blemishes before packing and export. There are then additional costs associated with testing it to Australian standards, EU standards and US standards and importing this relatively bulky toy and distributing it nationwide.
However, despite these complex and often expensive manufacturing processes, Kinderfeets Kinder boards are up to 20%-40% cheaper than competitive products available in the USA. The simple things in life really aren't always as simple as they seem!