Seasons, animals, farms, outer space, jungles — these are just some of the themes East Rockaway resident Ricky Kauget uses in her line of birthday cards, which are geared toward educating young children and getting them to think.
“Any experience can be a learning experience for a young child, even a birthday card,” Kauget said. “Birthday cards are usually throwaways, this is really something that the child can keep and talk about.”
Kauget, 60, created 12 different card designs, all aimed at stimulating childen’s minds by having parents strike up a conversation with them about the card, getting them to ask questions, use site word vocabulary and label items. She cited an example of one of her cards, which depicts people picking apples on the cover, and noted that parents can ask their children what they think the people will do with the apples and then when they open the card, the people are seen eating them.
The line of cards, called Card Stories, was created because Kauget said she believed there was a need to teach young children skill building. She said she was inspired to make the cards while teaching homebound early intervention for children with special needs and serving as a special education itinerant teacher for Nassau County, visiting students in their homes and at schools across the county. She said her cards are geared toward all children ages 1 to 8, regardless of their educational skill level.
Kauget began sketching the cards in 2015, and her daughter Jamie, 35, helps turn the sketches into finished drawings. Jamie, who works as a lawyer, has been drawing since she was a child, Kauget said.
“My daughter was always drawing these little country looking things and I always said one day we’re gonna do something with these characters,” Kauget said, “and those characters are in the first card that we made, this country-looking dog family.”
Kauget grew up in Woodmere, but has lived in East Rockaway near the Marion Street School for 34 years. Jamie and her brother Matthew, 32, who is also a lawyer, went through the Lynbrook school system.
The cards are created on a computer and 50 to 100 of each theme are printed at a time at Sterling Pearce Co., in East Rockaway. In addition to the birthday cards, Kauget has also created ones congratulating children on becoming a big brother or sister or for being potty trained.
Kauget said she raises awareness for Card Stories by attending craft fairs, and that they are available at the Long Island Children’s Museum and Valenti Pharmacy in Rockville Centre, as well as at stores in Brooklyn, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The cards are sold at $3.99 apiece, but a set of all 12 birthday cards costs $30, which comes out to $2.50 per card. Card Stories can also be purchased at https://etsy.me/2MJORzM.
“The people that get it are really so complimentary about it and parents who are looking for literary opportunities for their kids are appreciative,” Kauget said, “and that’s what really keeps me going.”