17 Jun 2016
What the Ooks and their crazy adventures constantly aim to achieve is a love and appreciation for literacy among kids. Children love routine and familiarity but they thrive when presented with variety and change. There are countless ways of incorporating reading and writing into the lives of the youth; over time we have observed the effectiveness of art and illustration. Art is something that comes naturally to kids, it is a medium of expression that is typically embraced and enjoyed. Within seconds of visiting the OoksHQ page you will see that when we aren’t getting the kids to read and write stories, we are encouraging them to visualise and illustrate them.
In the earlier years of childhood, art and creative-play can have an astounding impact on youngsters’ literacy abilities. Children are exposed to chalk and crayons long before pens and pencils; art and illustration are powerful learning tools that our company recognise and don’t take for granted. There is a compelling link between art and literacy that not only improves kids’ cognitive and kinetic skills but also their reading and writing prowess. Our daily Popjam content generally includes some type of illustration activity that follows the theme of a story or literacy-focused issue. The children love the OoksHQ posts that revolve around them thinking up something that is going to happen to the Ook or come into contact with the Ook, verbalising it and subsequently portraying it. Each piece of design we receive in the comments of these activities is unique and reflective of the diverse volume of young people our page reaches. In these posts, instead of writing out intricate passages or filling in blanks, they are detailing an imaginative illustration that mirrors their thoughts and concepts through an important medium that is sometimes overlooked. Although literacy is a doorway to expression and power; it can sometimes daunt children. Art and design allows these children to imitate and freely communicate their anecdotes and thinking in an abstract and animated manner whilst simultaneously building on their communicative and narrative capacities.
At OoksHQ, we are passionate about bringing learning and fun together. When children are broadening their knowledge and acquiring new skills whilst enjoying our games and puzzles we know that we are doing our job right. A newfound hit with our Ooksters are our mini Story Adventures that inspire followers to take simple adjectives we provide for them and transform these into visual attributes for their characters. The creative and innovative way of thinking that these activities inspire is highly apparent in the responses and comments.
Our main Story Adventures, which we have a detailed blog post on, rely heavily on visual storytelling and illustration. Through colourful imagery and art we reinforce the idea of storytelling and story formatting to our young followers. Story Adventures require a certain level of participation from the children and the bizarre Ooks that they generate are always redrawn and tweaked by our followers. We have found that they love to adjust and rehash certain elements of the characters, tailoring them to their own thoughts and style.
Fan-art competitions are consistently held on our Popjam page, encouraging followers to express their interests, passions and hobbies creatively. These specific contests are among our most popular due to the adoration kids have for both art and stories. When these two things are intertwined it creates something very special and attractive to the young mind that we have moulded into a constant feature of the Ook World. Every day we receive illustrations from our followers of their favourite Ook, their own Ookified versions of things and themselves as an Ook character. Some of these creations take minutes, many take hours and a surprising amount take days to complete. They all share a common theme of storytelling and adventure whilst igniting a deeper way of thinking and a more abstruse means of viewing things.
As Tim Burton said, “drawing is exercise for a restless imagination”. When children are encouraged to put pen to paper and represent their reasoning and knowledge in a picture instead of words, it challenges them. The artistic features of our world are just another way in which we highlight the value of proficiency and storytelling. We strive to keep them varied and challenging in an effort to capture a feeling of enjoyment whilst ensuring an element of proficiency and learning runs throughout them. The talent and flair that the children exhibit through their participation in these exercises astounds us every day. Not only do these countless drawings act as a physical reminder of the children’s own ingenuity and inventiveness, they also leave them with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Seeing our followers recreate our characters is an amazing feeling; knowing it is also strengthening their storytelling skills is even better!