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Encouraging Creativity and Learning through Storytelling Cards

Our idea is a deck of cards with pictures and basic instructions to help children think creatively. The cards allow the creation of an infinite number of stories and encourage interaction between parents and children.

Photo of Philip Matthews
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The cards help kids to be creative through an easily accessible tool, and to learn and share ideas through play. 

Cards are grouped into coloured themes such as locations, weather, characters and challenges. At least 1 card from each category is chosen so that a unique story can be created.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Children and parents - the cards can help parents to tell stories to their children, or children can use the cards to play on their own or with friends. The cards would be on sale in developed countries. Every time a pack is purchased, a family in need (either in a 3rd world country or developed) also get a pack. Libraries, preschools etc can distribute the cards to lower income families too.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

Self immersion: our group could test out the cards before testing out in the field. So we could test out the general idea of using different categories of cards to tell a story before putting them into the hands of the user. Test rough paper cards with a child we know through friends and family. Ask for feedback through from the OpenIDEO community!

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am looking for partners that might be interested in taking this idea forward in their communities.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Natasha Abadilla

Hi Philip,

I think your idea is off to a great start! I currently work for an NGO in a rural part of Kenya, and I've noticed that this kind of encouragement of creativity/critical thinking is often lacking in schools, especially in lower primary classes. I also liked the Toms Shoes-esque component (for every card pack bought, one is donated to a family in need). You also may want to consider another "category" of cards or component of your project such that you're able to help children learn more about stories that have been passed down for generations in their local communities. Checking out Snow Lion Storytelling Initiative may be helpful for refining your idea.

If you have the time, I'd love to hear your comments on my team's idea, under the Parenting Information mission: Maternal and under-5 health and education clinics. Thank you!

Photo of Dalma Kadocsa

Hi Natasha,

thanks for your feedback and insights, we were thinking about contextualising the cards for different regions that local children are familiar with, but we can do much more on that!

Later on the project in the prototyping phase would it be possible to link us up with local communities with children 0-5 in so that we could gain more understanding how they perceive the storytelling cards in Kenya?


Photo of Natasha Abadilla

Hi Dalma,

Of course - I can try to do my best to link you up with community leaders that may be appropriate for your project's goals! Just let me know when you'll be ready to communicate with them.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Really fun stuff! We're excited to hear what you learn from your prototyping – and perhaps you might also try out with local refugee communities who don't speak English and have low-income backgrounds from the developing world. Here's more prototyping tips:

Photo of Philip Matthews

Thanks Meena, we will look into this. Your comments are always appreciated!

Photo of Robert Otim

Nice one - good job on getting this posted!