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Learning through STEAM Storybook Kits

STEAM Storybook Kits teach children (ages 2-3+) the foundations of science, technology, engineering, art, math through classic stories.

Photo of Ruby H
23 18

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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)

Refinement of idea in the slide deck:

Name or Organization



Based in San Francisco, California but the kits can be available globally.

What is your stage of development?

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


  • Individual

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

Taking a different twist with classic stories everyone grew up with. Storybook Kits, not only inspire early-childhood literacy but create an appreciation for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. This would bring old tales to life, the illustrations would be updated. Each kit can have different projects or games relating to the stories. We are aiming to develop our concept further to include all steps in the Design Thinking process in kits. This concept can work on all levels, it can be packaged to be sold in stores but also be distributed in lower-income communities.

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)

The Storybook Kits aims to apply classic stories relevant to address modern day world and situations globally. The kits are scalable for all income levels and localized. The kits are mainly analog but with digital components. The kits are meant to be an expandable series that includes a companion mobile app and social website. Storybook Kits create fun, family/classroom/community-oriented sensory experiences through telling stories and play. Each kit will have a different lesson. The first one of the series would be the classic story, “The Three Little Pigs”. The first kit would include a storybook, material to build the three houses, instructions for parents. The series do not need to be limited to classics, partnerships with other authors or publishers is possible. Our goal is to grow the idea to fit into the Design Thinking model.

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

We want to help increase early literacy by bringing awareness to books and teach foundations of science, engineering, art, and math. With the increase of literacy, this would help increase employment rates while driving down crime rates. Though there is a companion app and website to the kits, we want to minimize the use of mobile devices at an early age—there is research speculating social and emotional development impacted by much use.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

The first kit in the Storybook Kits series would start with the classic story of the Three Little Pigs. The kit would be packaged in a nice box that includes the storybook, the materials for building the model of the houses (straw, sticks, bricks, base, glue, tape), instructions/lesson, link to a companion app and website. The adult would first read the story of the Three Little Pigs to the child. Then together they would construct the three houses using materials provided on top of the bases. Using the instructions the adult would then ask the child to 1) feel the materials, 2) observe the shapes of the structures, 3) try to blow on the houses 4) give the base a shake to see how stable they are, 5) talk about other ways to make the houses stronger. They can take photos of their project and post online then read what others have learned. The classroom/community version would be similar. The larger groups are encouraged have the adult read to them, have the children build structures in groups, then have them observe and test the structures.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

Children from ages 2-3+ would benefit from the Storybook Kits along with the adults. They would have a deeper appreciation of the stories, books in general, and STEAM projects related to the stories. The stories can come from other countries would open up interests in other topics such as geography and history later. We have interacted with children in the 2-3+ age range with similar concepts. Observed kids in classrooms at daycare. For our own child, we have tied in books with real-world events to teach since he was a baby that has led to early-childhood literacy.

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

According to the World Literacy Foundation, 1 out 5 people in the world cannot read or write. The Storybook Kits would help change this by bringing awareness to books, tie-in foundations of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. The kits would help with developing cognitive and math skills. The impact would help lower the unemployment and crime rates, literacy would also increase education in health and help with gender equality. Children learn through play, listening to stories. STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) toys

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

The Storybook Kits starts with the basic stories, no-frills, low-cost materials for projects. Can be distributed around schools and communities. The kits would help bring families together, help with early literacy helping lower unemployment and crime rates.

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

We can envision Storybook Kits appearing in homes, schools, and communities globally. The idea can be distributed in different forms as kits in a story for profit, as lesson plans to schools and communities. The stories can be changed based on geography. The lessons will change based on stories. Partnerships with toy companies such as Lego or different authors can be attainable.

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

For the Storybook Kits, we have done the ideation around it through sketches and research. Learned from previous experiences in observing in classroom situations, interactions with own child and other children in this age group and talking with teachers.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

The idea started from taking my own child out on with books on rides in the car and walks in the stroller. He would always have a book with him. We’d take Eric Carle’s Brown Bear series books to the zoo. My son soon made the connection between his book and real life animals. Later, projects have been inspired from reading stories. My mother was a teacher who I draw inspiration from. Working in the early childhood space is exciting because you get to help shape a child and contribute to their future. I believe in early childhood education. As a designer and parent of a young child, it is rewarding to help inspire others.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (600 characters)

Partners supporting business, testing, manufacturing and distribution stages in would help make this idea possible.

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)

Next steps would be to expand and refine the idea. Getting expertise in business and the education space to test the product would be helpful.

Would you like mentoring support?

  • Yes

If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters)

We would love to have a mentor with expertise in business and education who can help make expand the idea of the Storybook Kit. It would be great to have a mentor to work with through different stages of the process to improve and help scale and bring this to market.

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

  • Yes, share my contact information


Join the conversation:

Photo of ana torralba

Hello Ruby! This is Ana from Spain. I´m a "stem" woman (Msc transport engineer, working ij the field of sustainable mobility and climate change) , mother of 3 children ages 3 to 9, with experience in sustainable education programs and workshops for prep-schools, and will love to connect with you and help to develop and scale your product. Let me know if you are interested! my email is

Photo of Yuanyuan Tan

Great idea! It can help pre-school children develop perceptual abilities and help them visualize ideas and content. It's also foster their creativity and divergent thinking.

Photo of May Aldwais

Very much agree with what you have said, this idea can effectively enhance kids creativity which is something very important to build and encourage! Thanks

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Brilliant idea. This will be ideal for children to be engaged and learn by methods they love with stories.

Photo of Hoa L

great idea

Photo of Dahalia Jackson

This is a really good idea. Engaging children in STEAM at an early age is a plus. I am curious about your plans for including children with disabilities including children with multiple disabilities and complex medical needs, and especially children who are often absent from school for a variety of reasons. Everyone needs access and inclusive opportunities to learn and grow. Wishing you the best!

Photo of Ruby H

Thanks for asking, Dahlia! This is a good question. One of the many goals If the product is to be inclusive. The idea should be adaptable. We would need to do more future explorations to learn more about the specific disabilities and needs are. Perhaps there is a series for children in hospitals or for special care in the future. We intend to include accessibility feature on the mobile app as well. Our initial plan is to start out small. We appreciate your comments.

Photo of Matilda Morgan

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Photo of Ira Kassiel

I love this idea! We all grew up with classic children's stories and I think this project takes them in order to learn about other things as well. It's great that you include the story, but also other materials in this kit so that children can expand their knowledge right after having read the story!

Photo of Victoria

I think the idea of the storybooks is an amazing idea because storybooks can become classic household items that are used for years to come. For example, they use three little pigs as their initial basis for their storybook kits, three little pigs, a classic story for kids. I like the idea of incorporating a universally well known story because it gives them an extra boost to try and become a common storybook/kit for kids.

Also, I absolutely love the idea of the 3D kit and the digital aspect of the kit. The fact that the world of technology is incorporated into this is perfect, especially because in today's day and age are hooked on the ipads so by incorporating a digital aspect, you are adding to the enhancement of the technology learning of the kids.

On another note, I love how the kit comes with actual arts and crafts for kid to do projects. While I think it is great that this idea incorporates technology with the digital aspect, I also think that kids now a days are too consumed in technology. By having the toolkit have supplies and crafts, you are veering the kids away from the ipads and iphones and teaching them to learn hands on and visually without technology which is becoming so scarce now a days and is absolutely vital.

Photo of Ruby H

Hi Victoria,

Thanks for your feedback. I come from old school where I think children should learn concepts and foundations before going into screens. Screens are powerful tools and can consume us. Having a 3D kit allows children to experience the materials, how the real world works. The app is secondary, to accompany the kit. We cannot steer them away completely but give good guidance. Technology is readily available in first world countries, in more affluent communities but technology is not available in all parts of the world still. The concept should reach communities globally on different levels.

Photo of Victoria

I love your outlook on it and I completely agree. I am young but I am very old school and completely on board with the learning on concepts without the use of screens because children become so consumed. But just as you said, taking the "screens" out completely would give the product less of a competitive advantage in this technological age and the reality is that children are going to need to use to learn screens and technology in order to thrive in the future so having a good mix of the two will certainly create the ideal learning experience and I look forward to seeing your idea come to life.

Photo of kevin

I agree with most here. this seems like a great idea. I especially like the way the children can imagine themselves being part of the story by building the 3 houses, trying to blow them down, etc. It would help them imagine new ideas about the story and even help develop conversations.

Photo of Lídia Roca

I think is a very good tool for kids to have a lecture in the most dynamic way posible, it engages the kid to what s/he doing and helps them interiorize the learning without any extra effort.

The problem I see is that you are using books for them when most of them can't read at that age, which means they are dependable. I think an audiobook will be much more productive, they can be independent do the discovery on their own and feel proud of themselves, and this way it can be introduce into a classroom where there is one teacher for more than one student who watches over them but doesn't need to be assisting the kid during the whole activity.

Photo of Katie

I am very interested to see how these progress. I can see these becoming a staple item in classrooms, especially with the big push for STEM/STEAM. Libraries may also be interested as it would be fairly easy to inventory them and circulate them to patrons. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Katie L.

Photo of Ruby H

Thank you for the feedback, Katie. I would love to get this into the classrooms and libraries.

Photo of Peggy Sissel, Ed.D.

Hi Ruby! This great! We do something similar (but very different) with our Time2Talk2Baby app that gives parents brief, daily audio suggestions about ways to enrich their child's language experiences. For the 24-36 month group, we use the story of the Three Little Pigs, and encourage parents to first tell the story, then over the course of a week (the audio suggestions are only 30-45 seconds long) build on the story to help their child engage in some critical thinking: WHY was one house stronger than the other? WHAT would you have to do to knock each one down? HOW would you build a house to keep you safe and warm.
Love to see others such as yourself taking classics and thinking about them in a new way!

Photo of Ruby H

Hi Peggy,
Thanks for introducing me to the Time2Talk2Baby app. It's great to see how classic stories can be used in different ways. Would love to check out your app when it is on the app store.


Photo of MaryKay Mahar

Hi Ruby,

I would love to hear more about what your initial targeting will look like. Do you intend to partner with specific organizations or have you identified specific communities to engage with?

Photo of Ruby H

Hi MaryKay,

Our initial target would be in local communities. We intend to start small to test and refine the product then eventually grow it, a larger group. We'd like to partner with organizations. We have not identified specific communities aside from our local schools and network. We are currently open to any suggestions.


Photo of Carol Carter

Hi Ruby,
This is Carol Carter- I am thrilled to see that we are teammates on this platform! I would love to hear more about your interest in Early Childhood Education/Development and what points of collaboration and/or synergies you noticed in our proposals. My organization is called GlobalMindED, and we host an annual conference that includes an Early Childhood track that might be of particular interest to you! Feel free to visit our website to learn more: We are also in the preliminary stages of organizing a pre-conference meeting of interested parties focused specifically on ECE, many of whom submitted proposals for the Gary Community Investments Innovation Prize, so keep that in mind if that is something you might be interested in. Looking forward to hearing from you, Ruby! Best, Carol

Photo of Ruby H

Hi Carol,
Thank you for reaching out. GlobalMindEd looks to be a very good place to share ideas. We are still in the very early stages of the project but would like to keep it in mind for the future.