Hi Katharine,

We’ve left some brain food here for you!  


Annabel works in a cognitive neuroscience lab at the University of NSW. Research underpins everything we do (sometimes, Annabels a little too in love with statistics. To be completely honest). Here are some of the key research findings that focused the problem for us:

  • Two thirds of children aged nine to eleven draw a man when asked to draw a scientist (3)

  • Toys with a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focus were three times as likely to be targeted at boys than girls (6)

  • 6-year-old girls are less likely than boys to believe that members of their gender are “really, really smart “(2)

  • When asked what type of career they would like to have in the future, twice as many male students aspired to a STEM related career than females. (41% compared to 20%) (11)

  • The percentage of males interested in a STEM career entering high school was 39.5% compared to only 15.5% of females (12)

  • Globally, 72% of scientific researchers are men (13)

  • Only 16 per cent of the qualified STEM population are women, and across all sectors, women make up only 27 per cent of the STEM workforce. (15)

  • 2020 Creativity will be in the top 3 important skills needed for the future of work (17)

  • Only one in four adults believe they’re living up to their creative potential (18)

  • Only 39 % of adults describe themselves as creative (18)

  • 59% of people believe that the education system is stifling their creativity (18)

  • Studies showed that children who are in active play for 1 hour per day are better able to think creatively and multitask (19)

  • A 2018 survey revealed that overuse of technology was the number 1 parenting concern (20) 53% of parents are concerned with the overuse of technology

When designing the solution, we also looked to the literature to help guide design principles, however mostly iterated through user testing. Over a year we worked with kids of all ages to shape the characters, copy, level of detail in each illustration, and the balance between STEM facts and fantasy.

* References are listed at the bottom of this page


How to use each card: We wanted to create a game that the whole family could play- readers and non-readers. During testing we found that some people had a natural preference for images, whilst others preferred text. In response, we designed each card with an illustration on one side, and copy on the back. This means storytellers can grab prompts from wherever they prefer- a clue in the image, or a challenge on the back.


How to play the game: Talu Tales gameplay is flexible, open and exploratory in nature, promoting imaginative pretend play, social-emotional development, creativity, problem solving and language acquisition.

There is also no winners. Which can be really intimidating and difficult (we’re so used to striving for goals!). Our ‘ways to play’ manual was designed to introduce storytellers to the concept of exploratory story play- no winners, no losers, just a whole lot of fun.

We’ve included a ways to play manual for you to have a sneak peek at.


FAQ Can be found here

Design Awards Good Design Award Gold winner (Embargo until 11th July), Frankie Magazine Good Stuff Design Award

Launch Date 21st June

Key References

  1. Girls Future-Our Future. The Invergowrie Foundation

  2. Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests

  3. Chiefscientist.gov

  4. Gender differences in individual variation in academic grades fail to fit expected patterns for STEM

  5. National Science Teachers Association: Early Childhood Science Education- key principles

  6. The Institute of Engineering and Technology: Parents, retailers and search engines urged to ‘rethink the pink’ next Christmas

  7. National Science Teachers Association: Parent Involvement in Science Learning


  9. Changing the game for girls in STEM

  10. Gender Bias in the Purchase of STEM-Related Toys

  11. Industry.gov: Advancing women in STEM

  12. Stability and volatility of STEM career interests in high school; A gender study

  13. UNESCO science report: towards 2030

  14. 2018 Women in STEM professions survey report

  15. World Economic Forum

  16. Adobe State of Creativity Study

  17. The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children

  18. 2018 American Family Survey Findings

  19. The Creativity Crisis: Decrease in Creative Thinking Scores on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking

  20. World Economic Forum: This is how the way the world measures success in education is changing

  21. Do Parents Prefer Digital Play? Examination of Parental Preferences and Beliefs in Four Nations

  22. American Academy of Pediatrics: Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era

  23. Associations between screen time and lower psychological wellbeing among children and adolescents

  24. Evidence from a population-based study

  25. Lets Play!: Digital and Analog Play Between Preschoolers and Parents

  26. Screen time and kids: what’s happening in our homes?

  27. Reuters: Pediatricians want parents to stop giving toddlers digital toys