【From Finland】Popular Children’s Games from Around the World


Finland, a Scandinavian country, is known as “the happiest country in the world”. This happiness is thought to be due to the country’s well-development welfare system and high quality of education.
In this article we will introduce the educational system in Finland and games that are popular with Finnish children.


What type of educational system does Finland have?

Finland is known around the world for its outstanding children’s academic ability. In the 2000s, Finnish teaching methods attracted attention in Japan as well. In Finland, all children can attend nursery school (daycare) from the age of 0 regardless of their parents’ employment status. All children then attend preschool from one year before entering elementary school where they can gain the required cognitive and social skills to succeed. Compulsory education starts from preschool and then students go on to elementary and junior high school. After junior high school, students can choose to attend a regular high school or a vocational high school.
Students who attend regular high school usually go on to university.
All tuition and school lunch fees are free for students from preschool all the way until university and graduate school.
At Finnish schools, students learn according to the “cross curriculum” in which multiple subjects are combined. For example, “math + geography” or “science + national language”. Students are encouraged to present what they have learned rather than simply memorizing facts. This type of curriculum helps students develop their thinking, expression, and communication skills.

Which games are popular among Finnish children?

Finnish children love playing outdoors in nature, especially during the Summer and Autumn months.

”Mölkky”, a game similar to outdoor bowling

Mölkky is a popular game played by children during the Summer. Wooden pins (called skittles) are put on the ground. Then, players throw a wooden stick (called a Mölkky) at the skittles and try to knock them down to receive points.
When only one skittle falls, the player will receive the number of points written on the skittle. However, if the skittle overlaps or falls on the Mölkky, no points will be given. As the game progresses, the skittles will be arranged differently, making the game more difficult. At the end of the game, the player who has exactly 50 points wins. Players with more than 50 points will finish with 25 points.
Although this game is like bowling, players need to add and subtract points which makes it more educational. This game is popular with all ages.


Finland is surrounded by a beautiful sea, which makes water activities popular during the holiday season. Canoeing, rowing, and sailing are popular family activities. Playing freely outdoors, helps children develop a rich sensibility, an adventurous spirit, and a challenging spirit.

Moomin World

There is theme park based on the popular character “Moomin” in the town of Naantali, which is very popular among children. At the theme park, children can “visit” Moomin’s house and meet the unique characters that appear in the story.

The Finnish educational system encourages children to think for themselves and express their personal opinions. Parents who want their children to acquire the ability to think for and express themselves should consider enrolling their children in infant classes.