Why Figurinhas are Awesome for Little Kids


Hey world! Are the rest of the kids out there as crazy about collecting and trading World Cup figurinhas as the kids in Brazil are?? (And, ahem, their parents are??)

If you are not yet aware of this craze, this is a FIFA initiative. (I have yet to break it to my daughter that FIFA is evil. Kind of like how Santa Claus isn’t real, I’d like to maintain her innocence about the way the world works for a little bit more.) In partnership with Panini, it has put out a book that you can fill with stickers (called figurinhas here) of all the players participating in the game, plus team logos and other photos like pictures of the stadiums. In Brazil, a pack cost R$1 and comes with 5 stickers.

At first, this looked to me like a silly waste of time. I mean, you don’t really win anything if you complete your book, so what’s the point? However, I soon realized that there are many educational benefits for kids! While my daughter prefers the virtual version of the sticker book, she does have a hard copy which we actively participate in filling. Here is what she is learning:

1. The number line

The number line in itself is a somewhat boring concept. You know… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, ….100, 101, 102… 200 – where numbers fall. Plus, it’s one that small children sometimes find hard to grasp. Once you get ten, how many items can you really keep track of anyway if you are a little kid, so it looses it’s meaning. However, the number line gets much more interesting if each of your team stickers has a number on the back, which you need to find the spot for in your book to put in a sticker. Suddenly, we understand where 523 falls against the others and it is important.

2. Countries and their flags

Especially due to the online version, my daughter can quickly identify country flags as she collects stickers and hunts down where each needs to be placed. While name like Hrvatska and Hellus threw even me off, each time we run through the books we talk a little bit about the countries and often look one up on the internet.

3. Estimating amounts

Because she wants to trade the stickers she has for ones she does not have, she has honed the skill of quickly assessing which team page has the minimum amount missing in preparation for a quick score trade.

4. Commerce without cash

The whole “trading” concept is completely new for my child. And, I’ll admit, she’s not so good at it yet. She insisted on going to school this past Tuesday with her “extra” stickers to trade with all the kids who sit in a big circle on the floor, adhesive currency scattered about them. I tried to coach her, but as I expected, she gave a bunch of cards and got none in return. It’s OK. It’s all about the learning process.

5. Achieving long-term objectives

The World Cup sticker book is kind of a big project. With 32 teams, plus a bunch of other stickers, this is no small task. Yet these kids (ok, sometimes with parental guidance) are plowing through with an enthusiasm that I rarely see on adult, professional projects.


So if you are outside of Brazil, you may want to consider hunting down a book to start your expedition. Here is the best place to see where the items are available in your country: Panini World Cup Sticker Albums. To engage in the online game, go to Panini Online Sticker Album.






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15 Responses to Why Figurinhas are Awesome for Little Kids

  1. Katie says:

    my mom found them at Target in CA!

  2. sampaspeaks says:

    it is not actually a fifa initiative, more like a panini initiative. And this has been going forever (at least since I was a kid…i remember collecting figurinhas in the 1986 wc…great fun

  3. You know, figurinhas have been around for a long time but I was still pleasantly surprised to see how much it’s taken on for the World Cup.

  4. I’d never seen figurinhas before. Does anyone know if the book and stickers were available worldwide during the last couple Cups?

  5. sampaspeaks says:

    here is a decent summary: http://guiadoscuriosos.com.br/blog/2013/06/04/a-historia-dos-albuns-de-figurinhas-de-futebol/
    ” O primeiro álbum de figurinhas do Brasil começou a circular no início dos anos 1900. Era uma publicação da tabacaria Estrela de Nazareth, e cada uma das 60 figurinhas correspondia a uma bandeira de um país.”

  6. Good educational tool indeed. I fully support this. And if not for such iniciatives the gifted yet underpriviliged Asian brain whizzes I send player stats to (and in return obtain guidance regarding draft and lineups for my fantasy football team) would not have been able to develop their talent. This would mean missing out on the 50 cent a month income I provide for said technical advise, plus the additional carbon drinking water filter which I offer as a bonus when making it to the playoffs.

  7. Shelley says:

    The FIFA books came out in the Spanish language newspaper here for free! They sell the packs of about 8 at target for $1. My 10 year old is LOVING being able to collect them here. Saudades!

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