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A Hand In Learning

I want to connect older and younger generations through activities that benefit both groups.

Photo of Katey Cochran
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Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)

Originally I wanted to make a program that brought young kids into nursing homes to work on activities that will benefit the two age groups in developmental skills that, for young kids need work and elders have lost, as well as social skills. A lot of learning can occur for both age groups in that setting, with a lot of joy too. But, the problem was there isn't much a profit to that idea. So instead I've decided to create the activities in an attempt to bring elders and young children together.

Name or Organization

Kathryn Cochran, A Hand In Learning.


Bloomington/Normal Illinois.

What is your stage of development?

  • New Innovator, with less than one year of experience in ECD


  • For - Profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Describe your submission in one clear sentence

A Hand in Learning is a boxed activity with all the materials needed to help connect our youngest and oldest generations. As people age, it's common that skills they've taken advantage of their entire life (such as fine motor finger activities) aren't as easy of tasks as they were before. For young children many of the skills that older people are losing are the same skills they are developing. I intend to connect the two generations by providing an easy activity that benefits both.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Theres so many benefits for more than just young children! My activity is providing social activity for both age groups as well as the opportunity to practice skills that need work or have been lost. This idea is bringing joy and help to more than just children.

Select an Innovation Target

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

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

Consumers will go out and buy a box to take home that has all the materials needed for the activity. I hope that my product is efficient, time appropriate, and educational for both age groups involved. Hopefully there will be multiple boxed activities that can be completed. So one package will have the materials to build a simple clock and practice telling time. Another with the materials to build heat sensitive slime. Lots of learning occurs for both age groups in observation and curiosity so I hope my product can engage both entities in it.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

I hope to help connect the age groups of elders and young children while drawing in aspects of development and education.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

I plan to right now gather materials myself to create a prototype and experiment with young children and elders. I would like to see if the box has everything they actually need, what I could add to help make the experience more educational or time efficient as well as seeing if they actually enjoy the activity. I plan to make three different boxes with the activities painting a pot and gardening in it, painting plates and talking about food groups, and building a clock and practicing telling time.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

Elders and young children will be the two groups I'm focusing on as the beneficiaries. I want to help them socially and educationally through directing my activities in ways that benefit those two ideas. I hope to have experience with my beneficiaries in person as well as through ratings online.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

I hope this idea can be a business where more boxed activities are created. I want elders and young children to be able to socially connect with ease in person as well as educationally benefit. I hope later on to be able to make a program that follows along with my products that brings young children into nursing homes to work with elders. I don't have a proof currently but I plan to make my prototype and experiment with elders and young children to watch their experiences.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

I hope it can help them socially by being able to make connections with elders easily as well as helping them develop skills through exciting activities that may not be offered in their schools.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (1500 characters)

This idea is connecting two generations that are quite separated as of now. As well, my product is connecting the two in a beneficial way to both. Not many activities are focusing on educational benefits for both elders and young children. I hope to help the two generations educate themselves as well as work on developing or lost skills.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

As of now I see myself working in my own town but I am open to growing into a larger market to reach a larger group of people. I will have to figure out a way, if I grow, to purchase materials in mass but as of now I am in a small area.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

I think this is a realistic idea. I just need to gather the materials and put the work in to get my product together.

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (1500 characters)

I think this could succeed but I'll need to get my name out there to compete with activities and items that children and families have seen and desire currently.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (1500 characters)

I plan to conduct interviews with young children and elders individually, as well as families to provide what they really want in my products.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

I teach swim lessons to young kids and I'm a preschool teacher at my high school. I have a soft spot in my heart for children. I also see the world as a distant place where everyone communicates most often through technology. Unfortunately, many elders struggle working our new electronic devices. So, I wanted to create a product that connects the two generations both socially and helps them with skills that need to be practiced.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (500 characters)

I do have a class to turn to for help as well as a teacher to guide me but for the most part this is an individual project. I need partners that can help me gather materials.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

I would like to get connected to the families least expected, and who need it the most. I would also like to get into a nursing home to do an experiment that groups young kids and elders to work on the activities.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information


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