Mali asks the question of the month: Mali’s questions in 2015

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In 2015, Mali wanted to know:

December: How come angels can fly? 

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Dear Photographers,

I was recently at the playground rolling chestnuts, nuts and acorns down the slide. This made a wonderful thundering sound. The slide didn’t have any curves, so the nuts just rolled straight down, but the Rollerby Ball Track is different. The big marbles go so fast around the curves. I love that! When I was playing, I noticed that there are many different kinds of curves, curves to the right, curves to the left, steep curves and shallow curves. So I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. How do ball tracks get their curves? You technicians must know all about this, can you help me?

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Susanne, from the photo studio

Dear Mali

I am also looking forward to Christmas! For me, the Advent season is the most beautiful time of the year. Fairy lights decorate the Christmas tree and windows, and the kitchen is filled with the aroma of cookies and spices.
I’m sorry to say I have never seen real Christmas angels, but once every year, adorable HABA Angel messengers visit us in our photo studio. Just like Christmas angels, they also have little wings – perfect for flying. But whenever we photographers or someone else wants to see them fly, they just stand on the ground. So we have a little trick in the photo studio to let the little angel messengers fly. We attach a thin nylon string to the colorful little wooden angels and then tie the string to a bracket. Then it looks like the messenger angels are flying through the air or standing on a cloud. Finally, when we process the images, we simply erase the strings away. But psst Mali, don’t tell anyone; let this be our Christmas secret, okay? And just like us, the angels keep their own secret. Only they know how come they can fly.

Christmas is a time of wishing. Just maybe, when you wish it from the bottom of your heart, an angel will tell you his secret. Have faith, Mali!

Yuletide greetings,

Susanne

November: How can I best chase away the dream monsters? 

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Dear Educator Team,

I was recently at the playground rolling chestnuts, nuts and acorns down the slide. This made a wonderful thundering sound. The slide didn’t have any curves, so the nuts just rolled straight down, but the Rollerby Ball Track is different. The big marbles go so fast around the curves. I love that! When I was playing, I noticed that there are many different kinds of curves, curves to the right, curves to the left, steep curves and shallow curves. So I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. How do ball tracks get their curves? You technicians must know all about this, can you help me?

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Beatrix at the Luise Habermaaß crèche

Dear Mali

Your secret is, of course, safe with us. And if it’s any comfort to you, lots of children are equally afraid of the dark. That’s not something you have to be ashamed of.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about the days getting shorter in autumn and winter, but  this time of the year you can make it really cozy for yourself indoors. You can invite friends over, do creative things together or play board games. You can dress up in fancy costumes, play shop or organize a party with tea, coffee and cookies. There are lots of great game ideas for gray autumn and winter afternoons. You’ll see, dear Mali, that time will just fly and you won’t notice how dark it is getting out there. And here’s one consolation: in December, just before Christmas, the days start to get longer again.
But back to your question about the nasty dream monsters. There are many ways that you can chase them away, for example asking mom or dad to read you a bedtime story with a happy ending, not forgetting a goodnight kiss. But even the most stubborn dream monsters don’t like light. The HABA Night Light and Wall stickers Star Sprite glow softly in the dark, so they are always there for you when you’re going to sleep or maybe waking up in the middle of the night. So you see, dear Mali, chasing away dream monsters is not at all difficult, and I’m sure you will succeed. I wish you good night and sweet dreams.

Sincerely yours,

Beatrix

October: How do ball tracks get their curves? 

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Dear Technicians,

I was recently at the playground rolling chestnuts, nuts and acorns down the slide. This made a wonderful thundering sound. The slide didn’t have any curves, so the nuts just rolled straight down, but the Rollerby Ball Track is different. The big marbles go so fast around the curves. I love that! When I was playing, I noticed that there are many different kinds of curves, curves to the right, curves to the left, steep curves and shallow curves. So I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. How do ball tracks get their curves? You technicians must know all about this, can you help me?

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Robin from Technology Department

Dear Mali

Now that’s another good question! Curves are not so easy to explain. When HABA began building ball tracks about thirty years ago – that’s a really long time ago – we couldn’t make curves with our machines. So instead, our classic ball track from HABA has something else very special, many different redirection blocks. These are cubes with holes drilled through them. Because of this, we know of all kinds of ways to make the balls turn the corner. If you want to, come over and we’ll show them to you.
Three decades later, we’ve developed an ingenious machine with the ability to make curves in wooden tracks, adding many exciting twisting and turning elements to My First Ball Track and the Rollerby Ball Track. The machine has a big robot in the middle on a podium. There are many other motors and tools on the podium to make the curves, and of course, there’s a computer to control the whole process. You might think that sounds very complicated, and you would be right. But when you know how it works, it’s not so hard. The robot takes a wooden track and carries it through different steps in the process, milling, drilling and sawing. It’s a very dusty business, so there are brushes on the wooden boxes. But they are not for sweeping! The brushes are fastened onto the podium with the brush side up, catching the sawdust and shavings. Then many different hoses vacuum up the dirt. Isn’t that amazing?
We technicians don’t work on the machines; that’s the job of our colleagues in Processing. But we are sort of like the parents, making sure everything runs smoothly. If you like, we can look at this together.

Sincerely yours,

Robin

September: Why do building blocks have corners? 

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Dear Quality Control,

have you ever tried to make a lovely, rounded circle with building blocks? I really wanted to build a ring for my doll’s circus show, but you know what? It just doesn’t work! The blocks are much too angular! The HABA quality control thoroughly inspects all the products before we get to play with them, so you really know all there is to know about building blocks, right? Then tell me, why do building blocks have so many corners?

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Thomas from Quality Control

Dear Mali

Making a circle from square building blocks is a fascinating idea! And as you have discovered, it is not easy to do. You would certainly also need building blocks that are cut diagonally or, even better, rounded. Most building blocks have corners for one very particular reason; they can be perfectly stacked and do not fall down easily – unless you build your tower too high. In quality control, we make absolutely sure that our building blocks are perfect for you and all the other children to play with. The edges and corners have to be sanded well, so that they feel wonderfully smooth and are nice and safe to grasp. One day, dear Mali, I will tell you about the journey our angular building blocks go on before they can come to your house. Of course, HABA has many other wooden building blocks. Some are shaped like round columns; some are shaped like a cone. And some very special Discovery blocks have even more intriguing features; they rattle or jingle; have a mirror, a magnifying glass or a peephole to look through.
So you see, Mali, not all building blocks are building blocks. And there are so many other titillating things you can do with them. You can sort them according to color and size, practice counting, solve little Math problems or make them seesaw! All you need is the scales from your play shop and some building blocks of varying size and weight. Lay a few building blocks in one scale pan and a few in the other. Now watch how the scales move up and down, according to how heavy or light the building blocks are. And what do you have to do to make both scale pans rest at the same level? Try it out Mali; you will be amazed!
How about instead of building a round circus ring, you build a dancing theater for your dolls. Angular building blocks make an excellent stage.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas

August: What is the color of water? 

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Dear Designers,

I desperately need your help! You’ll never guess what happened to me. I was recently watering the flowers in my garden with my lovely blue watering can. In the watering can, the water was a beautiful blue color. But when I began watering the flowers, the water came out colorless! Did it change its color secretly? But then things got even more confusing! The very next day, I used my green watering can and once again inside, the water was very green. I hope it’s not sick! Please tell me what is going on. What is the real color of water?

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Jan, from the design department

Dear Mali

There’s no need to worry about the water; it’s doing just fine! But you made quite a sharp observation! Water takes on a different color, according to where it is at a given time. Water is naturally colorless. You can see this clearly when you turn on the tap or fill a glass with mineral water.
Even though water is colorless, that does not mean it is boring. Quite the contrary! Water is a magical fluid and you can conduct all kinds of fascinating experiments with it! Try this one: fill a bowl with water and then drop small objects made of different materials into it, like a stone, a seashell, a leaf, and so on. Now watch and see which things immediately sink to the bottom of the bowl, which fall more slowly and which do not sink at all, but float on the water’s surface. Try it and see for yourself!

Now I know how much you love to splash around with sand and water, dear Mali. So this experiment is just perfect for you. Pour water from your blue infant watering can  into a transparent bucket. Now take your sand-water-trowel and shovel some sand into the water, stirring as quickly as you can. You will see how sand and water mix together. After some time, the sand will settle to the bottom of the bucket, and the water above it will become clear again.

Now I have one last experiment for you, that is certainly to your taste – coloring water! Fill three glasses with mineral water, but not all the way to the top. Now put a different juice into each glass, for example apple juice, orange juice and grape juice. The more juice you pour into the glass, the more colorful that water becomes, and each glass is a refreshing drink, too. Cheers, Mali!

I hope you have loads of fun with your water experiments and your HABA sand toys.

Sincerely yours,

Jan

July: Where do unicorns live? 

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Dear Game Editors,

Oh my, have you got it good! You get to play all day and nobody comes and tells you to stop and go clean up your room. I’m going to be a game editor when I grow up! But tell me, do you know a lot about animals? I really love unicorns. Can you tell me where they live?

Sincerely yours,

Mali
 

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Kristin from the HABA game editors’ staff

Dear Mali

Thank you for your question. You are right, we game editors really do have a wonderful job. Not only CAN we play, we HAVE to play a lot to make sure HABA games are thoroughly tested and are loads of fun for you and all other children and their parents. Of course, a game editor does not only play, we have many other things to do, but I will tell you about that another time. But right now, you want to know where unicorns live. I know four darling little unicorns that live in faraway Land of Clouds. Their names are Glitterluck, Stardust, Marvel Flower and Magic Swirl, and they are the best of friends. I bet you are wondering what they do together and what adventures they have? I can tell you this much, Unicorn Glitterluck and his friends love to gallop over soft, billowy clouds, to slide down glittering rainbows and to play with sparkling cloud crystals.
And now, my dear Mali, I imagine you are just bursting with curiosity and can’t wait to meet Unicorn Glitterluck and his friends. Well, then pay them a visit in the Land of Clouds, they will be thrilled to meet you!

Sincerely yours,

Kristin
 

June: What does Red taste like? 

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Dear product management,

You always create such a wide array of fantastic things in many different colors. My favorite color is Red, as it always glows so brightly! But what does Red taste like? Do you know?

Best wishes,

Mali

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Vanessa from HABA product management

Dear Mali

We gave a lot of thought to your question. But we can’t give a quick answer. Everybody knows what Red looks like. But what does it taste like? Strawberries and cherries are sweet, tomatoes and red apples are juicy … but what about red HABA building blocks or clutching toys with a red plastic ring? They don’t taste of anything. Now you will say: How boring! Those at HABA have forgotten about taste! But that is our intention: We only use water-based solvent-free lacquers. That may sound a little complicated to you but what really counts is you remember: It is completely safe when you or one of your little sisters or brothers suck a HABA toy. You see: The HABA Red is top-notch when it’s about looking, clutching or playing ... strawberry red on the other hand smells and tastes delicious. Maybe your mum will bake a strawberry pie soon?
You should ask her...

Vanessa
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