Case Study 4

January 2014
Braunstone Library (Leicester) with Dovelands Primary School (Leicester)


The aim of this final case study was to test the use of Pop Up Play ideation cards as an in-the-spirit tool to conjoin all the theory, practice, and innovation, and to explore their impact on best practice. This was conducted over a 3 day residency, with 8 children years 5 and 6, looking into 3 types of card facilitation.


The cards were designed to facilitate four types of shift in the flow of play and to join together right and left brain activity without bursting the bubble of the mixture of realities:

  • Change – Tinkering: colour, sound, image or background
  • Challenge – Modification: game, player, problem, solving
  • Create - Major shift: make a maze, timeline, small world
  • Connect - Meaning making: find the links, explain, discuss

Critical moments of evidence

The evidence showed that the cards have the potential to increase creative thinking and communication of ideas. Then cards give children confidence to read aloud, come up with ideas and share them with their peers. The cards are a call to action and enable children to 'have a go'.

Additionally, the cards have the potential to be used as a planning tool. The four categories of change, challenge, create and connect afford any practitioner a broad range of activities. In live play the four categories can be used separately or combined.

As such there is no hierarchical value system, i.e. one set of cards does not produce better results than the other, but I would suggest the novice practitioner uses one pack of cards from the deck at a time.

The participants said:

"I thought that it was really fun, you can act, you are on a screen, and also things like the backgrounds and effects. It‟s kind of like you can see yourself and it‟s fun."

"I quite liked doing the acting bit being in the screen. I liked how you could see yourself but I also like making and doing the toys. You could move them however you wanted and make little stories yourself."

"My favourite zone was the construction because I just like building stuff and making it like that. You can get different effects and pictures."
"I liked it because it wasn‟t just the same thing and it gave us different things to do."

"Normally in class if you do a good piece of work or something you want to show the class you either go to the front of the class to show it or put it under the visualizer so that everyone can see it on the big screen. This is a bit similar."

The cards were tested in the following ways. Although, not an extensive list it does indicate the versatility of this system and the co-operation between right brain and left brain approaches:

  • Rules – timed buzzer, orchestrated blends, self-initiated selection
  • Dynamics – individual, collaborative, communal
  • Interpretation – reading, repeating, re-wording
  • Scaffolding – suspending, supporting, showing

Critical evaluation

From the evidence gathered we observed that the idea cards were beneficial in aiding the production of creative ideas. They are a concrete engagement tool, with broad appeal. On the whole they are an essential part of the Pop Up Play toolkit.