OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Story Stones (updated Jan 15)

‘Story Stones’ generates a safe and fun environment in which players can share the wonder of imagination. A storytelling game intended to be played by groups of parents, guardians and children in the area of Sylhet, Bangladesh. The game incorporates play-based responsive stimulation, developing decision making, communication and collaborative skills.

Photo of Bernhard Eiser

Written by

Update 06.01.2015

We have uploaded the Refinement Q&A PDF responding to the questions posted by OpenIdeo and Amplify Team.

We have completed the Pilot Program application form.
If you would like to join the program please follow the link and submit the form.

Update 15.12.2014

The team at Story Stones would like to invite the OpenIDEO community to take part in our pilot program starting in January 2015.

Pilot Program [Overview]
  • assessment of potential collaborators
  • distribution of the final prototype
  • prototyping in the localised community
  • providing feedback via questionnaire
  • sending us your images, playing the game

How to get involved:
Comment on Story Stones, tell us about your community, and provide an e-mail address.

What will you get:
A boxed set of ‘Story Stones’ comprising of 60 Stones, user instructions and feedback forms.

What you need to do:
In order to be considered as a candidate for our pilot program we ask that you give us a clear description of your organisation and or project.

We are also requesting an agreement to send us images of gameplay and completed feedback forms in return (via e-mail).

The Story Stones Team is looking forward to beginning our stories with you.

Update: 28.11.2014
We have identified a UK registered charity and registered international NGO called UKBET (UK Bangladesh Education Trust). They currently run innovative programs within local community centres in the city of Sylhet, Bangladesh. The programs focus on Child Labour, Education and the Environment.

They are based in both London and Sylhet, therefore we are looking to organise a meeting with them to present Story Stones as a potential pilot project. We hope to send a number of Story Stone sets out to a number of local community centres in Sylhet, to test our project with the intended audience.

Update 26.11.2014
We crafted a unique set of over 165 icons inspired by bangladeshi folk tales. The icons for prototype 5 use a custom calligraphy brush to better fit into context with the Bengali sanskrit.

This prototype is edged and cut out of 3mm mdf, and the burnt edges make it not suitable for children at this point. However we learned that the game is indeed very playable and that we would like to use a thicker material, to make them easier to pick up.

In the next stage we intend to manufacture a version using 5mm acrylic.

prototype #5

Original post:
Storytelling predates writing and this makes ‘Story Stones’ inclusive to many diverse learning abilities.

The simple visual structure of the game transcends all language barriers and the self directed nature of the stories empowers players of all ages.

Stories have been shared in every human culture, as a means of entertainment, education and cultural preservation.
Other than retelling stories ‘Story Stones’ gives both parents and children the opportunity to construct unique storylines and develop decision making abilities.
The game provides a discussion forum, that is centered within the players own cultural context.
Key Features:
Promotes community
Develops decision making skills
Creating aspirations
Cognitive development
Communication skills
Collaborative skills such as trust, sharing, belonging, and respect.
How to Play:
The game consists of 60 individual stones, each stone displays two separate symbols selected from a variety of subject areas, from everyday objects to emotions.


Example Gameplay

The game can have 2 to any number of players.
2 players = 15 stones each
3 players = 12 stones each
4 players = 10 stones each
5 players = 08 stones each
6 players = 06 stones each7 orMore = 05 stones each.
Questions for the Bangladesh community:
What means of implementing this concept do you have?
Are there existing community groups who are in touch with local business and manufactures we could collaborate with?
Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

This concept has been based on low income communities in Bangladesh, where we identified an educational gap for 0 - 5 year old children.

“While many parents do play with their youngest children, they have little or no understanding of how play and other informal learning to help prepare children for school.”

For the Islamic community we could adapt artwork to be more appropriate, such as replacing some depictions with calligraphy.

The high inclusive nature of the game could allow implementation in every community around the world.
How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

So far we have gone through two stages of low fidelity prototyping within our design team.
Including a video prototype of the game-play.

In the next stage we will conduct an alpha game scenario with a focus group outside of our design team.

We are currently working on a refined version of the printed paper prototype that could be made available to our target group in Bangladesh.
What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

Depending on possible collaborations with local ethical and community supporting businesses and manufacturers, we would adapt our artwork and manufacturing data, to be used in many mediums such as:

Paper and Card

Our final prototype will be made available as a free download.
This includes a printable file (paper and fabric), and a technical drawing for (laser cutters or cnc machines).

To produce iterations and custom artwork, we would need the IT infrastructure and commercial licenses for software.

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

  • Yes. I am ready and interested in testing this idea and making it real in my community.
View more

Team (13)

Bernhard's profile
Chris's profile
Mahboob's profile
Lee's profile
Tanzib's profile
Arizona's profile
Arizona Vitoria

Role added on team:


Imran's profile
Felipe's profile
Amowi's profile
Amowi Phillips

Role added on team:

"Pilot Ambassador - Ghana"

Natalie's profile
Natalie Lake

Role added on team:

"Pilot Ambassador - Peru"

RAMADHAN's profile

Role added on team:

"Pilot Ambassador - Kenya"

MeiLi's profile
MeiLi Siaw

Role added on team:

"Pilot Ambassador - Malaysia"

Theodora's profile
Theodora Papatheodorou

Role added on team:

"Pilot Ambassador - Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)"

Inspired by (1)

Saving Brains


Join the conversation:


Great thinking

Asher Nazir
COPE Pakistan

View all comments