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Meet Ryan Dean! Owner and creator of Lumuku


LUMUKU was started by Ryan Dean, an English teacher and artist living in Providence, Rhode Island (USA). He believes that learning is easier when it’s fun and that quality time with others is invaluable. Inspiration came from several years of experience working internationally in which play became the engine for breaking down walls, allowing for learning to take place. 

For example, in 2008, Rye began volunteering for the United States Embassy in Berlin, for which he found himself giving a presentation to German elementary school students. To put it plainly, it fell flat. The students were reticent and not fully engaged. But then it was time for recess and the students invited Rye to play tag with them; luckily for Rye, after connecting in this fun and authentic way, the rest of the school day was a breeze! It went spectacularly because there was a new energy and openness in the classroom! 

A few years later, Rye began working for an English language learning program at a school in Istanbul, Turkey. He eventually began running the program’s art studio and for five summers, he and his co-workers would go to uncharted lengths to create new and fun activities for the students. When the kids were playing games, using their imagination and creativity, and having fun interactions, learning did not feel like a chore. They engaged the target language because they wanted to! Fun was always the secret ingredient for learning.

So, maybe we were onto something? After the birth of his nieces, Rye began to wonder if there were ways to continue this work closer to home by combining his passion for illustration and drawing with his love of education and language learning. From that inspiration LUMUKU was born, offering dual language twists on classic card games. We invite you to have some fun while learning and connecting with those around you. What could be better?