Reading together introduces the child to the world of letters. In order to learn to write, a child must already have good hand-eye coordination, the ability to concentrate, and sufficient skills at handling a pen.
Rolling small balls out of play dough develops and grows the strength and accuracy of your fingers.
Making puzzles improves concentration, observational skills and dexterity.
Colouring in pictures, following lines and shapes, and cutting with scissors allows a child to develop accuracy, observational skills and concentration.
When a child has developed these basic skills and shows an interest in letters and learning to write, you can support them through play.
Practice the shape of different letters by drawing letters with your finger or a stick on a plate that has salt or sand on it. You can suggest letters to your child by saying them out loud. Then you can think of words that start with that letter. This helps the child learns the shape as well as the sound of the letter.
It is also fun to form letter shapes with your own body, while lying on the floor or standing up.
In a good pen grip, the pen should be between three fingers, and the wrist should be relaxed. Your child will also gradually learn this.
It is common that early on a child writes letters backwards and that some letters are still missing. This usually corrects itself as the child’s skills grow.
As the child learns to write words, ask them to help by writing the shopping list, for example!
Writing and reading skills develop simultaneously and support each other.
A child experiences many kinds of feelings during the day but they don’t yet have the words to talk about them. That’s why feelings are seen and heard. It’s good to teach your child that feelings are allowed, that they are a part of life and that they can show, but that it is also good to control them.
Let’s name our feelings
A child learns words that describe feelings in everyday interactions. Even if your child is very young, you can put their feelings into words by saying “Are you excited?”, or, “I think you feel happy after meeting Grandad.” The child notices that a grown-up understands their internal feelings, which in turns helps them to feel calm. The child learns to describe their own emotional state.
Practice describing your feelings with the help of books and games. Recognise feelings from expressions, perform different feelings yourselves, and discuss the reasons and consequences of different feelings.
Guide your child to recognise feelings
Discuss the feelings a character in a book might have: “How did this character feel? Why does he have that kind of an expression?”
Guide the child to see which signs refer to a certain feeling, for example the expression and position of a character in a book.
Gradually, the child learns to recognise and name their own feelings and to understand that other children have feelings, too.
Photos: FamVeld / Shutterstock.com
Children learn by copying
Tell your child about your own moods. Explain, why you are annoyed by something, or why something made you happy today.
You should also think about what kind of an example you set your child – how do you express feelings in your family?
Talk it out after different situations
When the child does something that makes another person feel bad, tell the child how the other person feels.
Ask how the child would feel if someone did the same to them. By putting themselves in another person’s position, the child learns empathy.
Recognising and controlling one’s feelings helps the child get along with other children. It’s easier to make friends, and working in a group becomes smoother.
This 56-piece puzzle offers a grown-up and child an opportunity to examine different feelings together. Little by little, a child can learn to understand their own feelings and to put them into words.
Alias board game has millions of loyal fans around the world. We talked to one of them to find out how Alias keeps people entertained year after year.
Manna Fransas is in her thirties and lives in Helsinki, Finland. Coincidentally, she is about the same age as Alias, published in 1981. Manna works at an ad agency as a copywriter and her hobbies include basketball. Manna’s immediate family consists of her two children, her partner and his daughter.
Manna recalls that she was still in primary school when she first played Alias with friends from her neighborhood. From day one Manna was drawn to Alias because it was fun, inventive and fast paced. Even though Manna plays plenty of other board games too, Alias has always been her number one choice. Words like energetic, daring, social, happy and humorous describe Alias pretty well – and admittedly her own bubbly personality as well.
When Manna leaves for a cottage weekend or skiing with friends, Alias is always packed along. Just before the Covid pandemic hit, Manna celebrated her 30th birthday with a big group of friends in Barcelona. With her, she had the Late Night Alias – a perfect adult party highlight.
Alias fandom has also spread to Manna’s offspring, and she has played plenty of board games with her children. Now her children can also play Alias together. Manna sees that Alias has many educational benefits: children’s vocabulary extends through play and they also learn necessary social skills, like losing. Manna still prefers to play Alias with her own friends – they offer a much needed challenge to the veteran player.
Manna has bought her fair share of Alias games during the years; the most popular ones are on their second sets already. In addition to the Original Alias, Manna’s game cupboard holds Junior Alias, Disney’s first Alias, You Are… Alias, Party Alias, Late Night Alias, Rähinä Alias (a Finnish exclusive) and Snack Alias Lights, Camera, Action. She has an ideal Alias version for every occasion.
Even though playing Alias is all about having fun, the will to win is genuine. Manna claims jokingly that she has never lost a single Alias game, but she admits that playing a lot helps. Especially with the Original Alias, the words are so familiar, that she always knows the quickest ways to explain them. That’s why Manna keeps buying new Alias versions, so she’ll have fresh words to explain.
All of Manna’s closest friends are pretty competitive, too. During Alias, emotions tend to heat up and sometimes an odd quarrel stirs up. Luckily, so far no friendships have been broken off because of Alias, and the winners are always happily rewarded with something like a bottle of bubbly.
There are also funny inside stories when friends play a lot together. For example one of Manna’s friend didn’t know the word mosaic, but instead explained the word mosque. This funny mistake still makes her friends laugh. So playing Alias can expand your vocabulary even as a grownup.
In addition to verbal talent, Manna thinks that Alias also requires strategic skills. It is not the same how you explain the words, and whether you explain long words or praises in two parts or together. Here are Manna’s hot tips for winning Alias:
As an adult, the Finnish roots of Alias have become more important to Manna. She thinks it’s great that Alias represents Finnish talent and knowhow. Manna also has a big pile of other Tactic’s games, which are all made in their own factory in Finland.
If Manna could design her own version of Alias, she would add a novel surprise element to the game. In the D.I.Y. Alias, you can already come up with your own words, but an unexpected surprise, like a team change in the middle of the game, would add suspense for even the most experienced player. But would a sure win still be guaranteed?
Manna has a firm opinion on why everyone should play Alias. It’s fun yet educating. It builds team spirit and cooperation skills. It’s easy to learn and anyone can play it. You can never get bored, because every player and play session is different. A perfect entertainment package, indeed.
Photo: FamVeld / Shutterstock
A child is naturally curious. Little chats and moments of wonder are interesting to both the child and parent. You can guide a child’s thinking, but you should also leave room for their own creativity – even when it comes to thinking.
How can you support your child’s developing thinking skills?
Let your child play, experiment, try again, and see the relationship between actions and reactions. While building a tower of blocks, a child tries to place the block one way. If the block falls, they try again in a different way.
Allow your child time to think and try again. Don’t solve the problem for them.
A child is eager to ask questions. Don’t always offer an answer but rather encourage them to think about the answer themselves. “What do you think it could be?” “Where do you think we could find more information about this?”
While you play, you can think together about what happens if you act in a certain way. What happens, if you do something else?
Encourage your child to find different solutions. You can also “think aloud” to give your child an idea of your own thought process.
Critical thinking is one of the most important tools in the future. It is needed to solve problems as well as to understand the relationships between different things. Critical thinking is enforced by a stimulus-rich environment and a positive atmosphere. When a child is encouraged to wonder and investigate, you also increase their motivation to learn new things.
Photo: alenka2194 / BigStock.
Think and wonder about different phenomena together. “Where do puddles disappear to in the sunshine?”
“Why does oil float on top of water, when you pour a little bit of oil in a glass of water? And what happens, when you add a drop of washing-up liquid?” Come up with your own little experiments.
Talk about stories. Read the beginning of a story and think about what happens after, and why. What else could have happened?
In the modern world, there is no shortage of stimuli, but it’s important to also allow some space for boredom. That leaves time for one’s own thoughts.
When a child becomes interested in letters and wants to learn more, this excitement can be fed through play, following the child’s motivation and interests. A child can only learn to read if they are motivated to do it.
You should not start practicing too early. If reading feels too difficult, it can dampen the child’s motivation.
When you read to your child, their listening skills improve and their vocabulary grows. And don’t stop reading to your child even after they learn to read. Instead, take turns reading to each other.
It’s more important for a child to learn the sounds that match the letters, not the names of the letters. Look around the child’s room or study a fun picture, and search for things that start or end with a certain sound. Swap the initial sounds of words and try to think of words that rhyme, such as “game, same.”
A child first learns to recognise simple words based on how they look, but they might not yet understand what they are reading. Talk about what different words mean.
You can only develop good reading skills by reading. Offer your child different kinds of texts, according to their own interests: Comic books, rhyming stories, fairy tales, poems, children’s magazines, etc.
Word games are a fun way to learn the letters and grow your vocabulary.
These four fun letter games to help children learn to read and write! The letter boards allow the children to form words and move gradually into more challenging tasks. The other mini games encourage the players to use their smarts in lots of different ways.
There are so many different kinds of board games that everyone can find one they like. And we can all learn something from them – no matter our age!
Board games offer children a safe environment in which to gain necessary everyday skills like social skills or playing as a team. The very youngest children can play to learn, for example, colours, combining, and awareness. Slightly older children can learn fine motor skills, counting the numbers on the die, and words. Preschoolers shine in tasks that take some deduction and can even beat their parents. Playing also teaches children to be patient while waiting for their turn, to win and to lose. Even disappointment is easier to handle when you can practice it first. Whatever the skill, playing board games allows the players to always try again and get a little bit better each time.
When you move up to another age group, skills become more important than luck. Then the game becomes a way to challenge yourself, to compete against others, and to develop different abilities. Board games are an excellent way to support learning in the home, at clubs and the classroom, and many teachers use board games as a part of their teaching.
See at least these:
Games can also have a rehabilitating effect.
Many occupational therapists and speech therapists use games in their work. They are a great tool for exercising the brain. We received an encouraging message from Marika, and an expert opinion of the meaning of games in the work of an occupational therapist:
Games are also popular in care homes.
Board games activate the brain in many ways and help maintain deductive skills, memory and fine motor skills. They also have a hugely socialicing effect.
Games teach us how to play.
They teach us to think about our next move, to read our opponents and the game situation, and to think of various strategic solutions to reach the desired goal. When the game is played again and again, the repetition allows us to try different strategies, take risks and find out, which solutions were the best. You might not realise it straightaway, but reading the rules is also a skill which requires understanding what you read and the patience to test it in practice. Counting scores is a great way to develop mathematical thinking.
Around us, society is becoming more and more “gamified”, and the elements we know from games are becoming more and more common in our everyday life.
As the world becomes incresingly digital, board games create a balance for screen time and bring people together. So, games teach us how important it is to come together around the same table, to spend time offline, to feel like you belong, and to feel a shared joy and the myriad of other feelings that games can create.
Board games can teach all a variety of new skills. And having fun while you do it is not too bad either!
Tactic offers children fun learning experiences through the new “Let’s Learn” range of learning games. The games and activities have been developed together with Finnish teachers, and they are manufactured from recycled cardboard in our own factory in Finland. The products are safe, durable, ecological and ethical. Children have an important role in our product development. “We offer children activities that match their age and development level. Our games offer children positive emotional experiences and joy, which encourage them to keep learning. Childhood forms the basis for life-long learning and a child’s idea of themselves as a learner,” says the new Let’s Learn product manager Lotta Jansén. Lotta has extensive experience from creating new learning products, in product development as well as a teacher.
Picking the right game for your child’s age and level is easy! The age marking on the cover makes it easy to find a present for a grandchild, for example. The QR code on the back cover of the game box accesses a game tutorial, and the videos can also be found on Tactic Games’ YouTube-channel.
The first games in the range have been received with great excitement across Europe. The Children of the World board game has already been awarded the first prize in the Polish Toy of the World competition, in the learning games and toys category. This is what people have to say about the game: “Even though all the people in the world are different, they are all equal. […] This game is the perfect introduction to curiousity and how to respect other cultures.”
Here are some comments our games have received:
An outdoor and sport games company from Höganäs, Sweden, Bex Sport was founded in 1985, and it specialises in great quality outdoor games. Tactic Games, founded in 1967, is a board game and outdoor game company with its own factory in Finland.
Tactic’s main goal is to offer families and friends shared moments that turn into cherished memories. Tactic makes quality products with a big heart, and at the core of the company’s production process there is responsibility, and ethical and environmental thinking. With a broad range of game products, Tactic has a solid presence in the UK, Netherlands, France and across Europe. Tactic’s number one outdoor game is Original Mölkky, which sells at a rate of over 200 000 items annually across the world.
Bex Sport is solid company and a Swedish market leader in outdoor games. The company’s products, such as their own Original Kubb game, complement Tactic’s outdoor game portfolio. Two such strong outdoor game brands make for a great combination, says Fredric Johansson, Tactic Games’ country manager for Sweden and Denmark.
The Bex Sport team will remain as it is, and business will be conducted from Höganäs. Tactic Games is a 50-year-old Scandinavian family business with strong roots, stability and large-scale benefits. This acquisition ensures continued co-operation with on-board partners and Bex Sport AB, adds Pierre Bladh, Bex Sports’ purchase manager.
Last year, Tactic Games strengthened its position in Norway through the acquisition of Chrom As, one of the country’s largest and strongest wholesalers of games and toys. Together with Bex Sport and Chrom, Tactic Games forms a formidable Nordic operator with a network that reaches across Europe and beyond.
Facts: Tactic Games Oy is a Finnish family company founded in 1967. Tactic Games manufactures, sells and markets indoor and outdoor games, books and toys. Most of the production takes place in Pori, Finland, and the company has subsidiaries and sales offices located in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Poland, the Netherlands and United Kingdom. Tactic Games’ products are sold in approx. 70 countries around the world.
Bex Sport AB is the company behind many well-known brands. For over 33 years, Bex Sport has designed, developed and marketed both outdoor and indoor games for all ages. Bex Sport’s products are sold worldwide.
The word explanation game Alias was invented in Finland three decades ago. Back then, so called ”party games” were few and far between in the Finnish market. Tactic Games, previously Nelostuote, decided to create and publish a game based on the product idea. Tactic began to manufacture Alias in its own game factory in Finland.
The chairman of the board of Tactic Games Markku Heljakka looks back on the early stages of the game,
”A new game concept was offered to us, and after a few test play rounds the management of the time decided to invest in it and create a product out of it. The first print run consisted of 3,000 copies. The design emphasized family fun and Finnishness, and the models on the cover were wearing shirts by Marimekko. The game box was rectangular, which was quite uncommon when it comes to board games.”
Alias quickly became a hit and its success story continues today. The games represent high Nordic quality and are manufactured from sustainable and recycled materials in Pori, Finland. Today the Finnish word explanation game brings joy to players all around the globe — Alias has its biggest markets in the Nordics, Russia and Central European countries such as Czech Republic for example.
”The Alias product family is one of our flagships. The sales have grown organically in all markets. We export Alias to 40 different countries and there are almost 30 different language versions available, including Chinese, Korean and Icelandic to name a few. Alias clearly has some magical qualities, because players make it come alive all around the world,” states Juha Nieminen, the CCO of Tactic Games.
”Based on sales and compass points, someone in the world is playing and enjoying Alias right now. They’re explaining and guessing words, laughing and spending time with friends thanks to our game. How amazing is that!” Nieminen adds.
The Alias product family has grown over the years. It contains entertaining and unique word explaining games for players of all ages. Alias games are constantly evolving and offer a fantastic mix of both traditional and fresh new words for the players to have fun with. Educational professionals also use Junior Alias to broaden the vocabulary of their students.
In 2020 all Alias games get a new and fresh look and some of the content is also updated.
”The Alias product family has grown over the decades and gained international success. To celebrate the anniversary, we have given the games a new, contemporary look, updated the content and added some digital features. You will see a lot of Alias in the media during the autumn,” says Jemina Heljakka, the CMO of Tactic.
According to the designer responsible for the renewed look, the aim was to strengthen the identity of the brand and the message of the game box. Now the Alias logo text design is much more airy and dynamic.
The dot in the “i” of the word Alias is now shaped like a speech bubble.
”That’s what this game is about – speaking. The speech bubble symbol has been around since the 13th century and now different digital communication platforms have made it topical again,” says Tactic’s designer Jussi Lindberg.
Lindberg thinks that the message of the box design is simple and effective. It also works well on digital platforms.
Juha Nieminen with the renewed Party Alias, which will hit the stores in the autumn. Jemina Heljakka is holding a copy of Alias from the 90s. Jussi Lindberg with the renewed Junior Alias and Original Alias.
Alias games have been manufactured in Finland for 30 years. Alias is Finland’s most well-known and top-selling party game internationally. It is sold in over 40 countries. Over 6 million Alias games have been sold worldwide and the product family grows every year. In 2020 the family got a new, fantastic member called DIY Alias!
Different language versions:
Bulgarian, Czech, Slovak, Danish, Estonian, Croatian, Hungarian, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Latvian, Flemish, Norwegian, English, Polish, Portuguese, French, Romanian, Sami, German, Slovenian, Finnish, Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese
Learning the rules of the game has never been so easy!
You will find the QR code and the text Learn the game in 30 sec on the back cover of several new 2020 games. By scanning the code, you can get familiar with the game idea – while you are shopping.
Learn by watching the videos!
Learn the game videos will make it easier and quicker to understand the game idea. Videos aren’t supposed to replace the rule books, but the details of the rule book are easier to internalize once you have already understood the basic idea.
Press pause and rewind if necessary.
Learn the game in 30 sec videos are initially in English. The visual story is easy to follow even if you don’t know the language.