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THE BEST LEARNING HAPPENS THROUGH PLAY! We want to empower parents to change the future of their children and we want to help them prepare their children not only to be “ready for school, but to be ready to learn”, one game at time!

Our idea is a to develop a game and workshop that tackles the lack of knowledge and information parents in low-income communities have on how to support the development of the cognitive, social & emotional skills of their chidlren in their very important early years. But also gives the parents an opportunity to join a community of parents that share the same dream of seeing their children be successful in life. It addresses the problem by creating a game that gives parents all the “expert know how”, on how to support the development of their children but it also addresses the problem by creating a series of workshops that makes them aware on how, as parents, the play the most important role in this process!

Photo of Valeria Fernandez Cortina
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56 % of children under the age of 5 live in poverty.
80 % of young children are taken  care only by their mothers
12% of the girls age  between 15 and 19 years already have a child.
50 % of mothers with young children did not finish middle school.
75 % of the mothers of children under 4 do not have a social security.
6 % of Mexican children  age 0-5  years attend childcare centers private and public.
20 % of the children that attend nursery schools in low income communities do not acquire basic language and math skills.
16 % of children under 5 years of age  are living in overcrowded conditions which  is strongly related to abusive behaviours.
 * ( Mexicanos Primero, a public, independent initiative that aims to promote the right to quality education in the country)


Little children are in the most important developmental  stage of their life, during the 5 first years,  the foundations of their  life are being built.
Paradoxily this is  same stage in  which  children depend the most on  the adults and caregivers  around them to help them develop their cognitive, social and emotional skills. This  dependancy  makes them very vulnerable.
But children in low income communities are even more vulnerable,  because of the lack of education of the parents themselves, the huge  economical challenges the parents face,  the lack of public child care centers, the lack of time, because  in many cases both parents have to work an the children are left with older siblings, grandparents, or dropped off at unregulated and unhealthy “ childcare places”

So in order to help children reach their  maximum potential, we need to support  their parents and caregivers because they are the key players in order to achieve this goal. We need to give them the tools.
We need to give information to   parents  and caregivers on how to help children reach those developmental stages and we have to create a method for them do so. What better way to do so by playing.

In the GAME
The parents are   given  simple expert tips and "know how”,  in each “challenge“ encountered  by children and parents through the game, that will alow them to support the cognitive, social and emotional skills their children need to develop in those very important years.
The parents are given very important, researched based information  regarding the development of  their children.
Information they need to know  and understand in oder to be able to support their children learning process  while playing.
The parents are also given the oportunity to build a sense of partnership, collaboration with other parents of the community.
Which will alow them to become real game changers of the future of their chidlren within the community.


 “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”

- Buckminster Fuller

YUUM is an innovative solution to help parents and communities better   prepare  chidlren to face the challenges of the  XXI century. 


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

Young children ages 2.5 -5 years but also older siblings, parents and caregivers . Children would have the opportunity to play but parents would be receiving along the playing time with their children a lot of very useful information on how to support the learning process of their children . Specifically receiving expert tips, know how that explain what skill is being addressed in that challenge. This idea is widely scaleable , but to start, this idea could be implemented in Valle de Bravo a rural town 1.30 hours away from Mexico City with parents in a local public school and in la " Barranca" a poor area in the outskirts of western north part of Mexico City.

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

1. If I had a month to test this idea. I would set out to these communities and play the game with some families. (Yuum , can be relatively easily prototyped) 2. I would ask them if they would like to play again and if so I would set a date and ask them to invite some friends to play again. This would let me know if they liked it. 3. If parents become motivated I would ask them if they would like to hear a lecture on early childhood development and give them the Yuum workshop.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

The most important thing for me is the feed back from the OpenIDEO community. If this idea sounds reasonable I would need help from 1. Experts in child development about and relate the activities within the game to cognitive skills and how to explain them to parents so we can get their support. 2. Designers to create a board game that is appealing to children. 3. I would appreciate suggestions from people that create, design games for children.

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.
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Team (6)

Hao's profile
Hao Dinh

Role added on team:

"Hao would love to work together hope you can join my team! Valeria"

Valeria's profile
Philip's profile
Philip Matthews

Role added on team:

"Philip loved your idea of the story cards and you could be part of the game I ma trying to design because I ma thinking that each board game has a theme, in this case it was pirate game, and I was also thinking of having some of the cards be storytelling cards, and ask parents and children to elaborate on them. so hopefully you would like to join the team! Valeria"

Tino's profile
Tino Elgner

Role added on team:

"Hi Tino, would love to have you in the team, I think you have incredible and very creative ideas so it would be really nice to have you be part, hope you will accept the invitation... Valeria"

André's profile
André Fernandes

Role added on team:

"Hola Andre! Love the idea behind the cordel booklets, thought that maybe we could incorporate that idea into mine, meaning an inexpensive booklet that could be part of the game. Hopefully you would like to part of my team... Valeria"

Sanjana's profile
Sanjana Ramamurthy

Role added on team:

"Sanjan I loved your idea and thought it go along mine because to be able to impart the worships for the YUUM game I need to identify the same kind of persons you mention in your idea. These would be passionate, very creative and wanting to hep the community kind of person... Hope you want to join the team Valeria"


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ayman Hanafi

As you say Valerie, play is a great way forward. YUUM sounds wonderful, helping mothers help their children build a confident future. Once the seed of how to play and learn is embedded, life will be secure for centuries to come. It will also bring mothers together, sharing ideas and skills but most of all creating solid friendships and happiness.Thanks Valerie and happy adventuring!

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