Our Story

1990: The concept of Alphabet Zoop began with a simple idea: the number of letters in the alphabet, when doubled, matched the number of playing cards in a standard deck. 

Inspired by her love for playing cards and memories of Canasta with her grandmother, the creator filed for a utility patent and brought Alphabet Playing Cards to life. 

With several games presenting new challenges, Alphabet Zoop was well positioned to support educational growth for children, aged 3-8, as their skills progressed.

Award winning children's author and illustrator, Michael Emberley, created the engaging illustrations for Alphabet Zoop. Each illustration goes beyond just the animal for each letter, providing an enriching experience as children's literacy skills develop. 

Under Carpe Diem Games, the first order of Alphabet Zoop was placed by WGBH Learningsmith for inclusion in the store’s Holiday Catalog. 

With a utility patent obtained, Alphabet Playing Cards earned three industry awards and a custom alphabet deck was created with the MFA in Boston.

2000: 
The products of Carpe Diem Games were licensed to Ravensburger and the game of Alphabet Zoop continued to enjoy a successful shelf life for over 20 years. 

2010: 
While teaching ESL at a Title 1 School in Lowell, MA, the creator of Alphabet Zoop invented more games to help her students learn English. These games enhanced language acquisition and also fostered family engagement of learning through play at home. 

In the classroom, Alphabet Zoop, quickly became a favorite, especially a new game introduced of "I Have, Who Has?" helping students speak in English while collaborating in placing the cards in alphabetical order.

2020: 
Ravensburger retires Alphabet Zoop and all rights return to the original creator.
The creator decides to take a sabbatical from teaching to figure out how to provide Alphabet Zoop for free to help more children learn through play.

The original Alphabet Zoop and Carpe Diem Games join the collection at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY.

Project: Play2Learn is established as a nonprofit in MA, dedicated to providing free educational resources to help under-resourced children learn through play, especially those children facing poverty, homelessness, language barriers, and financial struggles within indigenous, refugee, immigrant, and diverse ethnic groups. 

Working with educators, Project: Play2Learn developes an improved version of Alphabet Zoop enhancing its portability with a new child-friendly size.

Honoring her grandmother's journey of learning English as a child immigrant from Poland, the new edition of Alphabet Zoop is designed to include QR codes for translations into multiple languages. As the original utility patent specified an interest in creating translated versions of the alphabet playing cards in other languages, this QR code makes this goal a reality.

Today: 
For 30 years Alphabet Zoop has been helping children learn pre-literacy skills through play at schools, homes, and libraries.

Through collaboration with healthcare and education organizations, Project: Play2 Learn offers Alphabet Zoop as a free educational game to the children they serve, supporting education and social-emotional health.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, Project: Play2Learn is able to provide free educational games, like Alphabet Zoop, to help children learn through play and engage with their family.