FIVE FROM FINLAND: Stuff for kids
These five Finnish companies are focused on child-friendly solutions.
This batch of innovations includes digital tools for learning and saving memories, analogue board games, kids’ design and safety in the car.
Baby diaries are still ink and paper for most parents, although the majority of photos, videos and even conversations are digital. What if there was a dedicated digital platform where all baby business could be documented and where relatives could leave comments? Well, toddle no further since Kidday co-founders Juho Nieminen and Shamil Seifulla may have the answer.
“Our slogan is that every moment with your child is priceless,” Nieminen told us in 2018. “That’s why Kidday’s aim is to enable families to store and share those moments with others, and eventually with the children themselves.”
Kidday offers families the best of both worlds – the convenience of digital and the touchy-feeliness of analogue – since the users can print the journal for physical safe-keeping.
Meet Playvation, the company behind Moomin Language School, a Moomin-powered digital language learning tool for children aged three to seven.
“You learn the language just as you did your mother tongue: through play,” explained Anu Guttorm, the CEO of Playvation. “We have weekly themes that align with the development goals of the Finnish early childhood education curriculum. We deal with emotions, develop social skills and foster creativity.”
The Moomins support not just the fun part of learning, but they also mirror values such as courageousness, equality and appreciation of nature.
Founded in 1959 to produce seat belts and moving into the child seat market in 1967, Klippan is a traditional company with a well-established clientele abroad. The Finnish company exports 80 per cent of its products.
“We are a very small company, and there are plenty of other players in the market that are much bigger than us,” said sales, purchases and logistics manager Hans Bäckström. “However, our small size is also a strength, as we can be agile and move forward with our product development without unnecessary delays.”
One of competitive edges of Klippan is the rear-facing child seat, which, although already common in the Nordics, is generating considerable interest elsewhere due to its enhanced safety.
What started as a sewing hobby and blog has become a company that ships to over 30 countries. Mostly sold in specialised shops, PaaPii’s products take ethical and environmental aspects into account as much as possible.
“PaaPii Design walks its own path without being dependent on trends or seasonal fashion,” explained founder and owner Anniina Isokangas. “We like to do things our way, and I hope that it’s that fun and original style that our customers recognise, too. My aim is to create a lifestyle and design brand beyond textile, without being categorised too strictly.”
A self-proclaimed unlikely entrepreneur, Isokangas has had to learn a lot during her eight-year stint running the company, but she seems as confident as ever.
“It’s great to be able to do exactly what you want to do, and as we’ve grown I’ve been able to find others who are interested in and good at the tasks I’m not too keen on.”
Storyteller, artist, entrepreneur and mother of six Petronella Grahn was worried about the lack of play and imagination in kids today. She decided to use her talents to bring about a world of fairytales, magic and imagination in the form of Pomenia, which today is a board game, a book and a mobile app.
“My aim was to create a game that’s not so much about teaching cognitive skills as it is about encouraging kids to explore the world of fairytales, adventures and imagination,” explained Grahn.
Grahn believes her stories can offer people of any age the time and space to escape themselves and step into a world of imagination.
“The best thing about imagination is that it makes you forget who and how old you are and what your role in this world is,” said Grahn. “A good fairytale not only teaches kids to read and write, but it also takes them on an adventure that gives a lesson about empathy and ethics. I can’t imagine what could be more important than that.”
Text: Samuli Ojala
Originally published in August 2019
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