One Flat Stanley Project Per Child


I am Dale Hubert, the creator of the Flat Stanley Project. For those not familiar with it, children make paper Flat Stanleys (or Flat Suneelas, Flat Andrews, Flat Achmeds, Flat Marias...) and send them, along with a cover note and a blank journal to a recipient.

flat john
Flat John and I in Russia

The recipient treats the Flat Stanley as a guest, takes it places, does things with it, then returns it and the completed journal.

Pictures and souvenirs are often included. The recipients can be selected from the List of Participants that includes tends of thousands of students from 47 countries.

Children also send Flat Stanleys to celebrities, scientists, politicians, musicians and people of interest. The Picture Gallery has pictures of Flat Stanleys with Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, prime ministers, presidents... and the list goes on and on.

One of my favourite replies was from the legendary musician and social activist Pete Seeger who wrote:

"Kids- if YOU keep your sense of humor, and reach out to other kids in ALL the world, and get them to reach out to you in their own way, there may be a human race here in another 100 years!"
Communicating through penpals and electronic penpals is a great idea, but children often don't know what to say when writing to a stranger. Somehow, when a Flat Stanley is included, it's as if we have a mutual friend and communication becomes easier.

We can write about what Flat Stanley sees. We can say, "Flat Stanley was surprised to see all the snow!" or "Flat Stanley didn't know he would see so many camels," or "Flat Stanley was frightened by the sounds he heard in the night."

Writing through Flat Stanley's eyes opens the door to imagination and enhanced communication. The Flat Stanley Project is totally free of charge and children from around the world have become part of the Flat Stanley community.

I think it would be a wonderful idea to have the Flat Stanley Project pre-installed as a bookmark in the OLPC browser. I would be delighted to create a special blog or forum on the FS Project for recipients of the XO laptop. I would also include images that were sent from XO owners or do anything else that was requested in order to support the OLPC initiative.

Have your own idea for One Laptop Per Child? Then submit a Guest Post to OLPC News today.

Related Entries


What is the Web address for the Flat Stanley project?

flat stanley sounds cool.. makes common ground, imaginative, a safe place to play in.. here's a fast rich visual picture:

//when a Flat Stanley is included, it's as if we have a mutual friend and communication becomes easier.. Writing through Flat Stanley's eyes opens the door to imagination and enhanced communication.//

??: is flattened Flat Stanley ever related to Mr. Bill?

This is such a fun and interesting project! Any plans to translate the Stanley site into other languages? If children who get XOs hear about this, they may want to participate too.

Oops--I just saw the links for French and Spanish translations on Nice!

I wonder what would happen if Stanley went with an XO.

There has been a project going on for years now. It's called the geocache. Very similar, however I appreciate the flatstanley project. It's kid oriented. How very cool! Keep up the good works!


Great idea! An exchange of XO Stanleys.

I have used Flat Stanley before when I taught 2nd grade. The kids loved the story and love mailing him off to parts and places unknown and getting him back with pictures and notes about all he had seen. I think it would be a great idea.

Still waiting for my XO

Surely its time for Electronic Stanley.

With the potential of the XO to capture images and sound, the places Stanley can go is limited only by email. Create your Stanley image in the Paint activity, include the start of Stanleys journal and invite the recipient to take Stanley (living inside the XO laptop) to visit popular sights and meet people.

Perhaps an animated Stanley could even be sent.

Imagine all the pictures Stanley could bring back from the visit.

I love this idea!

XO owners who want to take part in this can team up with students. I can envision some emailed Flat Stanleys being printed by owners of XOs, and XO-camera pictures (maybe even videos) being taken of Flat Stanley's travels. Photos can be emailed back to the students, and/or a site can be set up where the photo albums can be posted online for everyone to see.

This applies both to G1G1 XO owners as well as the students of the schools taking part in the OLPC project.

Great idea. My mother is a teacher who uses the Flat Stanley project in her classroom. It is always a great success and receives lot of laughs from all of the students, their families, and the teachers that participate. Good luck with the project and I look forward to hearing more about it.

@Robert & all
yes, bypass the paper journal, and do the journal on line using the OLPC!

Years ago with my class in a one-room schoolhouse in Uruguay we took part in a project of Traveling Buddies, sent/received from Australia, NZ, US... The worst thing was the postage fees because they were actual stuffed animals, with a rather heavy diary that was added to at every location. It was marvelous, this thing about kids from Uruguay hinterland participating in a progressive story with kids elsewhere (we got a 2400 baud modem donation from Australia, got them to participate in the NASA Mars Lander thing where you sent your name and they sent you a PDF certificate... oh my, what would I have done with OLPCs...)

Hi, folks! I am a cousin of Flat Stanley.

Seven years ago I made a trip from rural Minnesota to Washington, DC. You can read by diary at
(We didn't have blogs back in those days)

Flat Luke

Flat Luke, you are way wrong on blogging. I started blogging in 1997, I entertained a Flat John in Russia way back in 1999, and I was even blogging from DC by 2000! It was only you that didn't visit someone cool enough to have a blog.

Wow, Flat John, you have been to Russia! What is the URL of your blog? What color are mail boxes in Russia?