Play and Learn with Miffy

Designing Play and Learn with Miffy characters to stimulate early child development worldwide


The books about the little rabbit Miffy, created by Dutch artist Dick Bruna, are perfect for young children to learn about growing up. Inspired by how the stories speak to children, Butterfly Works started Play and Learn with Miffy in 2010.

Play and Learn with Miffy

Play and Learn with Miffy creates worldwide characters inspired by Dick Bruna’s Miffy, to encourage early child development (ECD). Yoyo in Venezuela, Laddu in Pakistan, Sanga in Uganda and Daxi in China. Books and social tools with educational themes are given out in areas where they are most needed, and sold in bookshops for those who can afford it. Merchandise is created and part of the returns is reinvested into the project. It is this mix of stories, tools and generating a profit, which makes Play and Learn with Miffy so successful in encouraging early child development.

Project development

To speak to children, the new international characters of Play and Learn with Miffy are made completely in line with the experiences of children and with their surroundings. That is why a new character is always developed in a co-creation process with children, illustrators and writers in the country. The process is just as much a masterclass in design and children’s literature, as it is about creating a new character based on Dick Bruna’s illustrations. Simplifying details to come to only the most basic elements of the character, the story and the culture, is an art in itself.


Venezuela (2010), Pakistan (2013), Uganda (2014) and China (2015)


Mercis Publishing, international illustrators, writers and ECD specialists, Oxfam Novib Pakistan, Fundación Empresas Polar, Mango Tree Uganda, Beijijng Design Week.


With creative and cultural input gathered at children’s workshops, the local illustrators, writers and ECD specialists create a new character for Play and Learn with Miffy. The books, with culturally specific storylines, are then distributed in areas where they are most needed and sold in bookshops for the middle class. By building a strong Play and Learn with Miffy brand, opportunities arise to develop merchandise of which profits can be used to reinvest in the promotion of ECD.

Results so far

We have seen the birth of Yoyo in Venezuela at the Caracas Book Fair in 2011. The books have been distributed across Venezuela. Laddu in Pakistan was presented by the Dutch ambassador at Islamabad’s Children’s literature festival in 2013. 5000 Laddu books and handwashing posters were distributed in the flood affected areas of Pakistan. An additional 5000 were sold in shops. For Sanga’s birth in Uganda we organised an expo in 2014. Sanga’s first birth books are currently being distributed. Daxi in China was presented at the Dutch embassy with many inspiring speeches from representatives of UNICEF, Alibaba and the Deputy Ambassador. Chinese media made sure the news spread quickly all over China. The book will be for pre-sale at the Beijing Design Week 2015.


Do you want to know more about how we use our method in the projects? Download our white paper here.

If you are a company, foundation, design studio or working in the field of ECD and you think that the young children around you might benefit from Play and Learn with Miffy, please contact us.