The power of koalas

Posted: 21/10/2020

Around the world, koalas are universally loved. They are furry balls of sleepy cuteness (if you ignore their sharp claws and the eerie grunting sounds they make at night—holy Manuka, that is one scary noise)!

But they are also more than that. They are tenacious, strong and incredibly resilient. They are also perfectly designed to deal with the often harsh and changeable Australian landscape, needing little water and food to survive.

And they are completely unique. They are not a bear (despite publicity to the contrary) but a marsupial, carrying their young in a backward-facing belly pouch (how does that work). They have four opposable thumbs, ‘particularly hard bottoms’ and survive on a diet of toxic leaves. They also have fingerprints, just like us. In fact, under a microscope, koala fingerprints and our fingerprints are almost indistinguishable! There isn’t another animal like a koala anywhere else in the world.

In other words, just like humans, they are complex and multifaceted. They may look like one thing on the surface but hidden just beneath that surface are many diverse and fascinating qualities. This is one of the things that make them so relatable and engaging.

It is also the reason Innovative Resources has chosen to use them as characters in many of our card sets and tactile tools. Like many animal characters, koala characters are great because they can be any gender, ethnicity or age, so everyone can relate to them. Koalas are also enigmatic which makes them a great canvas for exploring different emotions, feelings and body signals.

Koalas feature in The Koalas, Mates Traits cards and activity book and on the Koala Company Therapy ball. They also make a cameo appearance in Strengths Cards for Kids and Picture This. Now they are also the stars of our latest digital card set, the Koala Company cards.

The Koalas and Koala Company cards—what are the differences?

Two of our much-loved card sets, The Koalas (available hard copy only) and the Koala Company (these were previously available in hard copy format, now available digitally only) were designed with different uses in mind.

The Koalas is a set of 20 cards that are small enough to slip into your pocket, which makes them perfect to take with you to meetings with clients or when you are heading into the classroom. They are great for impromptu catch-ups or quick conversations on the run. You can also play games with them (they are small so they are easy for children to shuffle) or combine them with other card sets and resources, like story books or stickers.

They are not only small in size, but also in price! The Koalas were developed to be an affordable and accessible option for practitioners who wanted a condensed but versatile set of feelings cards.

While there are only 20 cards, they cover way more than 20 emotions. For example, the koala with smoke coming out of its ears could be angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, blowing off steam or just plain hot! The potential emotions and feelings are almost endless and it’s completely up to the person using the card to decide what the koala is feeling. Because these cards depict the whole body of the koala character, they are also perfect for talking about body signals and body language. The Koalas are for people of any age.

The 50 circular Koala Company cards include a range of zany characters, complete with punk haircuts, nose rings and sunglasses, which make them great for using with teens. Unlike The Koalas, these cards focus on faces so you can really hone in on their expressions.

Koala Company cards can be used as a communication tool, an evaluation tool or as a reflection tool. They can be used with individuals, in classrooms, families, or groups. So many possibilities!

Why don’t the cards have words on them?

As we know, it is rare that one single word can provide a complete description of our experience. If only life was that simple! While we often use single word labels as a shorthand way of describing our feelings (happy, sad, fine, cross, depressed, etc.) this can lead to an oversimplification of what we are feeling. Often feelings are actually a jumble of different emotions—they may have many subtle variations, differing intensities or confusing and competing layers.

That is why, when we are talking about feeling and emotions, it can be great to have a range of different images you can mix and match to create a more complete picture of an experience. This is where feelings card sets can be particularly useful. Spread them out and let people choose a range of cards that, together, help describe their experience. Ask people to imagine how they would like to feel in the future and select cards that provide a concrete image of those feelings. What emotions are getting in the way? What feelings would they like to feel more, or less?

Having no words on the cards also means that people can interpret them however they like. They are also great for people with low literacy or whose first language isn’t English.

The new digital Koala Company cards have some great extra features!

Now the Koala Company cards are available digitally so you can use them on your laptop or other mobile device. You can make notes on them with the pen tool, create bookmarks or send them to people. They are great for having remote conversations and are infinitely portable. And just like The Koalas, you can slip them into your pocket, but on your phone this time!


Koala Company digital cards              $39.50 inc. GST      Product Code: D3061

The Koalas                                               $19.95 inc. GST       Product Code: 2175

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