Children ‘s science questions Can a person not think for a moment?

Pihla Kinnunen, 10

Thoughts management can be learned to some extent. For example, many methods of meditation and meditation seek to empty the mind for a moment of thought and thus achieve a relaxed and peaceful state.

Sometimes, on the other hand, we are able to focus on something interesting, such as a computer game or reading, so strongly that in hindsight we may feel like we hadn’t thought of anything at the time.

In reality, however, thinking does not end. Our thoughts just aren’t always conscious.

The brain always makes non-conscious thinking. Their billions of nerve cells process information all the time and send each other electronic messages.

This is what happens when we sleep. Then, for example, the brain processes the information we receive when we are awake.

It has been found that if one has tried unsuccessfully to solve a problem in the evening, the answer in the morning may wake up immediately to the mind. The brain has continued to solve the problem even at night, even though we were not aware of it.

Petri Paavilainen

University Lecturer in Psychology

university of Helsinki

Not all animal individuals can be named as dogs or females.

Can animals be of the opposite sex?

Kerttu Paara, 9

Other sex is a human individual’s own experience of his or her gender. Since other animals cannot be asked for their views, we cannot be sure whether they have other sexes.

From a biological point of view, gender is primarily related to reproduction. In vertebrates, there are usually two sexes in this sense: a fertilizing male or a fertilizing female.

However, all animals can give rise to individuals who cannot be designated as males or females on the basis of biological sex characteristics.

This is also the case with mammals like humans. For example, mammalian individuals may have both male and female characteristics.

However, invertebrates have two-species species. It is typical for bipolar ones to have male and female genitals in the same individual. This is the case, for example, with snails.

Societal insects such as ants and wasps, on the other hand, have workers in addition to queens and dogs that do not usually reproduce. Sometimes, however, the workers secretly try to lay eggs on the queen. So they are basically females.

Atte Komonen

University Lecturer in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

University of Jyväskylä

Traditional games move children in kindergarten yards.

Who Invented the Game of Hippie, Hidden and Church Rat?

Tuomas Aalto, 9

Tag-, hidden and church rat play are traditional games. Traditional play means an old play that has been passed down from generation to generation and no one remembers where it was first played. It is therefore impossible to determine the inventor.

The earliest notes on the games in the archives of the Finnish Literary Society are from the 1850s. There is, for example, a hidden play called the deaf arc, the instructions for which were collected from the Uusikaupunki region in 1852.

However, traditional toys are still older than the 1850s. It has been typical for them to travel to Finland via Sweden from other European countries, such as Germany, England and France.

While the basic ideas of traditional games remain the same, there may be different versions of the games in different locations. Indeed, children add a variety of imaginative products, characters from popular culture, or new rule transformations to games.

Hidden games, for example, come in many forms such as ten sticks on a board and a jar. There is also one variation of the Church Rat. It is also called, among other things, point and omar. The hip, in turn, is the basic form of the game of escape and capture. Its variations include a chain hoop, a hug hoop, and the last pair out of the oven.

Anna Salonen

folklorist, project producer

Finnish Toy Museum Horseshoe

When was the world’s first amusement park built and what kind of equipment was there?

Matilda Kujala, 11

Right the first modern theme park, Sea Lion Park, opened on New York’s Coney Island in 1895.

However, amusement park equipment was already in use much earlier in the world. The oldest devices are the ferris wheel and the carousel. It is known that there were small ferris wheels in Turkey as early as the beginning of the 17th century. Because there was no electricity, they were completely human.

On Coney Island, an entire amusement park area with equipment was fenced in and an entrance fee was charged. The devices were state of the art at the time.

At least the biggest of them were electric. The most popular were the carousels, ferris wheel, ferocious roller coaster and especially the huge water slide.

That water slide was lowered by boats and even on display bicycles. The roller coaster is said to have been so drastically tight that people there sometimes lost consciousness.

Aquatic shows were also popular on Coney Island. There were a lot of performances in the style of ancient amusement parks in general. In this sense, they also continued the old circus tradition.

Finland’s first amusement park, Linnanmäki, was opened in 1950. Before that, people had been amused by the amusements around the country.

Marjo Kaartinen

Professor of Cultural History

University of Turku

The brain pays attention to odors that are different from everyday life.

Why do others ’homes smell different, but their own doesn’t smell at all?

Santtu Saarniaho, 9

Smell occurs when tiny molecules of odor evaporate from the air. The molecules travel with the breathing air to the nose, from where a message travels to the brain.

Almost all things have some characteristic smell. In homes, scents come from, for example, building materials, furniture, people, cleaning products, pets and food.

One can smell the familiar scents of one’s own home in the same way as others. But because there are so many other stimuli around us, the brain filters out information that is not necessary for us. That’s why we don’t notice the familiar scent of our own home, we get used to it.

The other’s home, on the other hand, may have completely new smells for itself that our brains are noticing. For example, you might use a different laundry detergent and make different food than you do in your own home.

Scents also have a strong connection to emotions and memories. Although at this moment the characteristic scents of your own home are not noticed, as an adult you may remember the scent of a childhood home or other important place.

Kaisa Toikko


Allergy, Skin and Asthma Association

Send the question, the full name and age of the questioner to The column will be edited by Touko Kauppinen and Juha Merimaa.



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