Mali asks the question of the month: Mali’s questions in 2016

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In 2016, Mali wanted to know:

December: Why can't I have an Advent calendar every month of the year? 

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Dear Export Team,

Yummy, is that good! I just opened the first door of my Advent calendar and found a little chocolate snowman. I can hardly wait to see what's hiding behind the next door. This is so exciting! It's a pity that I can only have an Advent calendar in December. Why is that? Why can't I have an Advent calendar every month of the year?

Best regards,

Mali

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Christian from the Export Department

Dear Mali,

Oh yes, I can understand how much you enjoy your Advent calendar! I remember how excited I was when it was time to open the first door. Today, I help my own children when they can't get the door open right away. 

I'm afraid December really is the only month when you can have an Advent calendar. An Advent calendar is meant to help the time until Christmas pass more quickly, enhancing the days from December 1st until December 24th. The other months of the year do not have such an important holiday, where all the children are so excited. And imagine this, in some countries children do not have an Advent calendar, not even in December. Christmas customs are different around the world.   

In the Netherlands, the children often receive their gifts on the night of December 6th. The gifts are brought by St. Nicolaus (Sinterclaas) and his helper Farmhand Rupert (Zwarte Piet). Here in Germany, we also have a St. Nicolaus, but it usually the Christ child or Santa Claus who brings the gifts. Most of the children in southern Germany and Austria believe in the Christ child, while in northern and eastern Germany, as well as in other parts of the world, Santa Claus brings the presents. But Santa Claus looks differently in different countries. In France, he wears a red coat with a pointed hood, carrying the presents in a sack. In the USA, Santa Claus wears a red jacket with a white fur collar and red pants. Throughout the night on December 24th, he drives a sled pulled by reindeer, stopping at every house and sliding down the chimney to leave the Christmas gifts under the tree. So, our HABA colleagues open their presents on the morning of December 25th. 

In Spain, neither the Christ child nor Santa Claus brings gifts. The children in Spain receive their presents from the Three Kings on January 6th. I bet you're thinking, that's a long time to wait, aren't you, dear Mali? But that is the way it is. Christmas traditions are very different all around the world. In Russia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th! But the children get to open their gifts on New Year's.  

So, dear Mali, I wish you a lovely Christmas season with lots of cookies and a kind St. Nick. Enjoy the excitement every day before you open the next door of your Advent calendar. Then it will stay special! Have you and your family put up festive decorations? By the way, there are many nice decorations and small gifts for your grandparents or other relatives in our Christmas category. I wish you and your family a wonderfully beautiful Christmas holiday!

Best regards,

Christian

November: Why do we have to brush our teeth? 

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Dear Reception Team,

Do you know what really bothers me at home? BRUSHING MY TEETH!!! Now that’s something I truly don’t like to do. But Mommy and Daddy are very strict about it. Sometimes I have a really good excuse for not brushing my teeth, but it never works. They tell me that brushing your teeth regularly is very important. Do you think so too? But why?

Best regards,

Mali

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Bärbel, HABA receptionist

Dear Mali,

I can understand that you sometimes don’t feel like brushing your teeth. And if it makes you feel any better, we adults sometimes feel the same way, too.  But we have to brush our teeth anyway, no matter how tired we are in the morning or evening. Brushing your teeth regularly is important so your teeth stay healthy and you don’t get cavities. Those of us working at the HABA reception desk greet many people every day. And of course, we say hello with a friendly smile, instead of looking grim, because that makes everything much easier for everyone. Try it out for yourself. Smile at someone, and they will most likely smile back at you! Now imagine how that smile would look if you had bad teeth, more gruesome than friendly, don’t you think? When your teeth are clean and shiny, you feel better, too.   

I can give you a few pointers on how to make teeth-brushing more fun in the future. How about, for example, you and your parents sing a funny tooth-brushing song before brushing your teeth? Or the three of you make a deal; when you brush your teeth properly, you get a small reward. Not candy, of course, dear Mali, but a nice read-aloud story. 

If you have something to look forward to, then brushing your teeth is a lot more fun. And besides that, HABA has wonderful bathroom accessories such as the Hourglass Toothbrush Lion, the Toothbrush Holder Mermaid Nele or the Water Glass Kalle the Bathroom Pirate, which has delightful swimming particles to shake up, so brushing your teeth is not so boring.

Best regards,

Bärbel

October: Why do grownups have to go to work? 

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Dear Marketing Department,

Do you know what I wished for last week? That we could all go to the swimming pool together, the whole family.  But my daddy couldn’t come with us because he had to go to work. That is so sad! Daddy always says that he and Mommy have to go to work because money just doesn’t grow on trees. I told him that he could just stick his little plastic card in the money machine and the money would come out all by itself! But Daddy says it’s not that simple. So please tell me, why do grownups have to go to work?

Best regards,

Mali

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Michael Schlücke, Marketing director for Germany/Austria and Switzerland

Dear Mali,

Your daddy is right; money matters are really not so simple. You can easily get money from the money machine, but you have to have money in your bank account first, before you can do that. So, your parents go to their workplaces and do their jobs. Your parents and other grownups are given money in return for the work they do. That is called a salary or wages. And with their wages, your parents can buy many things, like tickets to the movies, or clothing, or food. You probably know that from playing with your Play Store, don’t you? When someone buys bread or fruit or vegetables at your store, they pay you with play money. This profession, by the way, is called a retailer, but there are a great many other professions, depending on what you can do best. For example, a baker can bake delicious rolls or cakes, a gardener can grow beautiful flowers and a veterinarian can help sick animals get well again. Those are only three of many, many professions in the world.  

Here, in the marketing department, we have an especially wonderful profession. We make sure that all the delightful HABA games and toys find their way to the different stores, so that parents and children can buy them. 

Money can buy lots of nice things at the Play Store and in real life, too. But it can’t buy everything. Spending time with your family together is priceless! So I hope you can soon enjoy a wonderful day with your family at the swimming pool, dear Mali. 

Best regards,

Michael Schlücke

September: Can you have more than one girlfriend? 

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Dear Works Council,

I got really annoyed today in Kindergarten. I wanted to play with Imke, who is my best friend. However, Felicitas and Milla asked Imke first whether she wanted to play with them, and then the three of them went together into the role-playing corner. Only three children are allowed in there. Then Felicitas also shouted that Imke was her friend today, and I was not allowed to play with them. This made me very sad and a little angry. When Imke played with me in the afternoon, Milla and Felicitas also wanted to join in again, and then we began to argue. Our teacher said that all four of us could play together as friends. But is it correct that you can have more than one girlfriend? I would really like to have my friend Imke all to myself.

Best regards,

Mali

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Corina from the Works Council

Dear Mali,

You’re asking me a question today that concerns many children, but also some adults. The feeling that you noticed is called jealousy. It is a mixture of sadness, anger, and also fear. You surely wondered today whether if Imke was still your friend today. But don’t worry: You can switch friendship on and off like a light. A good friendship involves allowing the other person to play alone or with other children. Maybe the next time you’ll look for someone else to play with. You’ll find out that you can experience something different with every child. It’s exactly the same with Little Friends, where different children also play together again and again, but still Matze, Elise, and the others are close friends. At www.haba.de/little-friends, there are even stories about their adventures that you can have read aloud to you. 

But certainly anyone can understand that you felt angry and sad in this situation. Bothyoung people and grown-ups  get jealous time and again or have problems working together with others. As a works council representative in the HABA company family, I have in part similar tasks as your teacher. I have an open ear for all conflicts between colleagues and for all problems at work. Sometimes I have to caution adults not to argue. Resentment and anger are very strong feelings that you must not underestimate. Therefore I always look for a solution together with my colleagues. The most important thing is that you talk with each other and not simply sit down in a corner mad. Quietly talking with one another and explaining to the other person why you got mad and don’t feel good can solve many problems and conflicts. Maybe you can talk with the other girls in a similar situation and see them all as your girlfriends because friendship is extremely important in life.

So, dear Mali, I hope I could help you a little with my answer. And I wish all of you  a lot of fun when playing together – in pairs, in little groups, or also everyone together.  

Best regards,

Corina

August: Why can’t everyone win when playing?  

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Dear Game and Book Editors,

Recently we had another family games afternoon. It was really fun. Except my sister was annoying – just like always. She won one round after another and really bragged about it. “Someone simply has to lose, and that’s usually you,” she said to me. As a result, mom scolded her and comforted me until I was no longer so sad. But I still find it dumb: Why can’t everyone win when playing?

Best regards,

Mali

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Markus from the Game and Book editorial staff

Dear Mali,

That’s a good question, one that we on the Game and Book editorial staff have also thought about now and again. Of course everyone would like nothing more than simply to win. That’s the case with playing but also with many other things in life, sports for example. Whoever crosses the finish line as the winner in a race receives praise and recognition. That builds self-esteem and plainly benefits anyone – whether child or grown-up. The player who wins – that is, chooses the cleverest game plan, best remembers the memory motifs, or maybe simply is just lucky when rolling the dice – depends completely on the particular game. There are very different reasons for losing, but one thing is always the same: Losing is no fun, and it usually makes you sad and sometimes also angry. It’s therefore especially important that those who have won don’t make fun of the losers but rather console and encourage them. For everyone has another chance to win in the next round, dear Mali! If you always keep that in mind when playing, then maybe you won’t be so sad when you’ve lost.

However, there are actually games in which you can only win or lose together. In Orchard, a classic game from HABA, the fruit trees are full of ripe apples, pears, cherries, and plums that have to be picked as fast as possible. All the players need to work together efficiently to harvest the fruit before Theo the rascally raven can snitch it. If it works, everyone wins together. If the raven is quickest, he is the winner and the children all lose together. So you see, dear Mali, playing completely without losing just won’t work. And to be honest, it would also be rather boring, right?

How would it be if you try a round of Orchard for your next games afternoon? I’m sure that you’ll all like winning as a team. And maybe you’ll be inspired afterwards to bake together a fruit tart made with yummy fruits. The trees and bushes are loaded with fruit now in summer.

I hope you and your family enjoy playing Orchard.

Best regards,

Markus

July: Just who is Paul?  

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Dear Marketing Team,

Let me tell you what happened to me yesterday! The older kids from the kindergarten group in the next room were playing with a colorful ball track. But they wouldn’t let us play because we’re just little kids. That is so mean! Still, I watched them secretly and heard them calling out funny things like, “Faster Paul!” or “Way to go, Paul!”  That really made me wonder, because I don’t know anyone named Paul.  So I thought maybe you could tell me just who this Paul is? 

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Silke from HABA Marketing

Dear Mali,

When children are playing with a ball track and keep calling out the name Paul, then they must be playing with Kullerbü. Because wherever you find Kullerbü, you find tons of fun and excitement. Paul is a colorful wooden ball with a merry face. Together with his friends, the Kareening Kids, he zooms at top speed over the brilliant Kullerbü landscape, passing windmills, going under an archway with a little bell, even making a spectacular loop. As you noticed, with all this to play with, children can hardly contain their enthusiasm. But there’s even more to Kullerbü! Because no one wants to wait for the fun to begin, Kullerbü designers have created a clever click system, making constructing child’s play. The individual components are simply inserted and clicked together. Even the little ones can do that on their own, but with a grownup’s helping hand it’s even faster and easier. You can even watch how Kullerbü is constructed in a short, interesting Video, dear Mali! And Küllerbü is astonishingly sturdy. The columns and connecting elements, such as straight tracks, ramps and curves, are so durably connected that it holds on its own, even when you bump against it amidst all the excitement. When the older kids from the other kindergarten group say you’re too small to play with their ball track, you can tell them that you know full well that Küllerbü certainly is for small children! Even 2-year-olds can play with it, because the wooden balls are so large that they cannot be swallowed by accident. That’s the beauty of Küllerbü, little kids and the bigger kids can play together and have great fun! The younger delight in the colorful balls racing around the track, while the older kids experiment with the great variety of Küllerbü construction elements, creating many new and exciting Küllerbü landscapes.

So, dear Mali, now you know quite a bit about Paul and Küllerbü and can tell this to the older kids in your kindergarten. I hope they then let you play with them so you, too, can cheer on Paul. I wish you a world of Küllerbü fun!

Sincerely yours,

Silke

Are dolls only for girls?  

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Dear Ines,

Today I have a very special question I want to ask you personally since I know you are the doll mommy at HABA. Yesterday in kindergarten, I was looking forward to playing Daddy, Mommy and Baby with Fabian. I had even brought my favorite doll with me. But Fabian said that dolls are stupid and only girls play with them. Is that true? Are dolls only for girls? And did you have a favorite doll when you were a little girl? 

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Ines from the Design department

Dear Mali,

That really is a special question. But you know what? I may be considered the HABA doll mommy today, but when I was a little girl, I didn’t play with dolls at all! I was much happier playing with building blocks. I didn’t have a favorite doll when I was a little girl, but I can tell you which HABA dolls I especially like nowadays. Mette, the feisty little carrot-top, and Doll Imke are both very close to my heart. They are two very different characters, but that’s what so special about dolls. And that brings me to your question. Of course dolls are not only made for girls, boys can play with dolls, too. That’s why HABA makes so many different kinds of dolls. There are cuddly soft fabric dolls in different sizes, but also numerous glove puppets and more recently, the Little Friends. When I look back and add them up, over 100 dolls have been made. Each one looks completely unique and has its very own character. So they offer you and all other children lots and lots of playtime possibilities and are true lifelong companions. There are cheeky boys like Matze or adventurous girls like Elise. And with the merry glove puppets you can transform into just about any role.

I still have loads of ideas for new doll figures! But do you know what I think is especially important, dear Mail? My dolls must have the right kind of body, clothing and facial features that small and pre-school children can recognize. I want to make one hundred percent positive figures without them being over-cute or kitschy. My dolls should simply be beautiful, each one unique and “alive.” So you see, designing dolls is really exciting and endless fun! How would you like to try your hand at doll designing? HABA’s Little Friends Little Doll designer lets you create your own darling doll online and print out your results. Surprise your kindergarten friend Fabian with a super-duper special picture. Maybe then he won’t think dolls are so stupid any more.

So, dear Mali, I hope you are satisfied with my answer to your question. I wish you continued fun and friendship with all your HABA dolls.

Sincerely yours,

Ines

May: Why do I have to clean up my toys at the end of the day? 

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Dear Production Team,

The other day, I built a very, very high tower with my wooden building blocks and it didn’t fall down! Just as I was beginning my second tower, my mommy came in and told me I had to stop playing, and that it was almost time for bed. And before I go to bed, I should put away my building blocks. I was so upset! I would much rather play a while longer instead of cleaning up! Can you tell me why I have to clear away my toys? That’s the last thing I want to do…

Sincerely yours,
Mali

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Andy from the Production department

Dear Mali,

I sure do understand when you say tidying up is no fun! And you’re not alone. Hardly any child likes to clean up, but it’s simply a part of playing. And not only a part of playing, it’s also part of working, unfortunately. Take us, for example, at HABA toy production. Many people work together here, woodworkers, lathe operators, painters and many more, to turn simple wooden boards into wonderful and colorful toys like your building blocks. It is really important that all workers put away their tools when they’re are finished, so the next person can find them when they need them. The wood shavings that fall from the lathe also have to be swept up neatly; otherwise we would eventually be working on top of mountains of wood shavings. That may be funny to imagine, but in a workshop safety comes first, and that means both feet firmly on the floor.

So you see, dear Mali, we grownups have to clean up, too, and it important for several reasons. Imagine you left your wooden building blocks and other toys on the floor. Someone could easily trip over them and hurt themselves. Still, tidying up can be fun! Particularly when you can store your toys in colorful accessories from the Cheerful Chums series, such as the Tote & storage Cheerful Chums. And maybe you can play a cleaning game? Ask your big sister or mommy to help you tidy up, and the one who packs the most building blocks in the bag, gets to choose, for example, the bedtime story or a sweet treat.

Tidying up is also a wonderful opportunity to make the children’s room even more welcoming. Shelves and wardrobes add that touch of comfort, while offering a special place for all the toys so cleaning it up is quick as a flash. The Cheerful Chums wardrobe shelf or picture string offer many possibilities.
Try it out and you will see, dear Mali, tidying up will become a lot more fun!

Sincerely yours,

Andy

April: Why do little children have to learn to walk? 

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Dear Designers,

Yesterday, my cousin visited us with her mommy and daddy. I could have easily played with my cousin all afternoon, but she is much too small for games. She cannot even walk by herself, she can only crawl. Every time she tried to pull herself up into a standing position, using the leg of a chair or by holding on to the sofa, she would just fall back on her bottom. That looked very funny and my cousin never cried, she always laughed. But it made we wonder. Why can’t she just get up and walk? 

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Jutta from the Design department

Dear Mali,

It is completely normal for your cousin to plop down on her bottom when she first tries to walk. That happens to all small children. Some things they know from the moment they are born, and other things they have to learn first. Walking is one of the things little children have to learn. Babies start out by crawling around on the floor. Later, they begin pulling themselves up on furniture and try to stand, something you observed very well, dear Mali. Learning to walk is like so many things in life; practice makes perfect. The easiest way for little ones to begin walking is by holding onto a grown up or onto the Walker Wagon from HABA. They guide the little world explorers on their first steps and give their wobbly legs more stability. The walker wagon only rolls as fast as the little child can walk because we designers installed an individually adjustable brake. That sounds more complicated than it is. Mommy or daddy simply set the walker wagon brake to a certain level and that determines how fast or slow the walker wagon can go. Beginning walkers go slowly, and champion walkers more quickly. Little children love to dart around the house with their walker wagons. And the floors are never scratched because HABA walker wagons have wheels with plastic tread, which pleases the grownups, too.  Little children simply adore all the discovery features on every walker wagon, and there is even space to transport darling teddy or other toys. So you see, dear Mail, learning is simply a part of life. And the best way to learn is by playing and being curious about things. So stay curious, Mali!

Sincerely yours,

Jutta

March: Why does cake get bigger in the oven? 

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Dear Marketing Team,

I recently baked a truly delicious chocolate-banana cake with my mommy. That was loads of fun and I helped stir the ingredients together, even snuck a taste or two from the dough. Yummy! When we finished mixing the dough, we poured it into a super Snake silicone cake mold and baked it. Can you imagine what happened? When we took the mold out of the oven, there was suddenly much more dough than when we put it in! How can that be? Why did the cake get bigger in the oven?

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Maria from HABA Marketing

Dear Mali,

I also love baking a delicious cake from fresh ingredients. And if you ask me, sneaking some of the dough is an important part of baking!

It’s quite normal for cakes to ‘grow’ in the oven…in fact, it is intentional. That’s why you added baking powder to the dough. Baking powder is a so-called rising agent that makes the dough expand while it’s baking. This is caused by a very interesting chemical reaction. The heat of the oven and the moisture in the dough cause the natron and acids in baking powder to interact, releasing carbon dioxide. That may be a difficult word for you to understand, dear Mail, but you can also call it CO2. When CO2 is released, tiny little gas bubbles are created, making the cake not only bigger, but also light and airy. That’s why you shouldn’t eat too much of the dough, you could get a belly ache from it.

I know that might have been a few difficult words all at once, but now you know why cakes grow in the oven. And not only cakes, but muffins and cake pops, too. Try it out next time you are baking with your mommy. It’s really easy, the Family Food Stars silicone baking molds come in many amusing shapes and also include a recipe booklet with delightful baking ideas and suggestions for decorating and icing your creations. Chocolate glaze, sugar sprinkles or sugar writing all make sweet baked goods even more beautiful. We have collected several recipe ideas under Tips and Tricks: Baking, Ice Cream and Co.

And finally, I have one more excellent tip for you Mali. You can whip up super simple desserts with the Jungle snake mold, like homemade yoghurt ice cream or pudding, to name only two. You’ll be amazed!
I wish you and your family loads of fun baking and sampling your creations. Bon appétit, dear Mali! 

Sincerely yours,

Maria

February: Which language do HABA dolls speak? 

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Dear Export Team,

My parents and I recently visited my Aunt Carla, who lives in Rome. That was fantastic! We were taking a beautiful walk through a park, when I saw a little girl playing with the HABA doll Elise. Isn’t that funny? The little girl and Elise were talking up a storm together. But I didn’t know what they were talking about because I couldn’t understand the words. I mean, Elise comes from Bad Rodach, so how can she understand a girl from Rome?

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Meike from the Export Department

Dear Mali,

I am happy to hear how much you enjoyed your visit with your aunt. And of course, you are right. That must have been an odd coincidence, seeing a little girl playing with Elise in that park in Rome. But that’s not unusual. Children all over the world play with HABA Dolls & Accessories. And to make sure that HABA dolls and other playthings can be found around the world, we at the export work together with many, many people. Export is probably a new word for you, isn’t it? It’s a word that comes from the Latin language and literally means to carry away. That’s still not very clear, so what it really means is that we work with colleagues and shop owners in other countries to make sure HABA toys can be bought all around the globe. To do this, we have to speak to our partners in many different languages, German, English, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and some others, too! And that brings me to the answer to your question. The HABA dolls can also speak many different languages. They speak exactly the same language that their doll parents speak. That little girl in Italy was most likely speaking Italian with Elise. Maybe she was telling Elise a secret that no one else should hear, especially not her parents or brothers and sisters.  

Of course, there are children who speak more than one language from the very beginning, when their mommy or daddy come from another country, or when they go to an international kindergarten. There, children from varying countries play and learn together in varying languages. So these children’s dolls can also speak more than one language. 

You see, dear Mali, it is very important that we speak to one another. The more languages you speak, the more people you can talk to from all over the world.  

Maybe you will go to another country on your next vacation, where the people speak another language. You can ask your parents to teach you few words in this language before you go. Then the language they speak there won’t sound half so strange to you. 

Sincerely yours,

Meike

January: Do grown-ups forget how to play? 

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Dear Game and Book Editors,

Today I have a very special question for you. Do grown-ups forget how to play when they get older? If I had my way, I would play all day long with my friends. But almost every time, just when it seems like we’re having the most fun, my mommy comes into the room and says it’s time for dinner, or that I have to clean up my room, or that I have to go to bed. That is so annoying! Sometimes mommy can be a horrible party-pooper. I think she should play more often, then she would realize how much fun it is! Don’t you think so, too?

Sincerely yours,

Mali

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Miriam from the HABA game editors’ staff

Dear Mali

I can understand that sometimes you’re having so much fun you don’t want it to end. Playing is something truly wonderful. You learn new things, have amazing adventures and discover thrilling fantasy worlds. It’s even more fun when you play with other people. Unfortunately, we grown-ups actually do forget how lovely playing can be. Not because we don’t like to play, but because we often don’t make the time for it. But you children can help us, Mali! You can remind us how much fun it is to play. How about, making your mommy a gift certificate for your play store? Or drawing her an invitation to play princess?
HABA has wonderful children’s games for you, to make sure playing is always exciting. These games are not only fun for children, but are also amusing for grown-ups when they play with you.

How about a matching game or a stacking game where you have to stack up funny wooden animals? Or would you rather have a game of dexterity, where you have to be fast; a card game where you’re allowed to fib; or a dice game with glittering cloud crystals? HABA has loads of very diverse children’s games, so everyone can play what they enjoy most. And when it’s time for “Let’s play HABA family games”, then all the older ones come flocking to the table – brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors.

No matter which HABA game you choose, you’ll have oceans of fun. Winning, laughing and drying tears together…that’s what makes the time playing together so valuable. Then, at last, we grown-ups can remember how wonderful it is to play.

So, dear Mali, I wish you many joyful hours of playing games with your family.

PS: Here’s an excellent pick up pointer. The faster you tidy up, the more time you have to play.

Playful greetings,

Miriam 

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