Simple activities like playing and dancing help tamariki learn and develop essential skills for their growth. They also strengthen the bond with their whānau and create a supportive and nurturing environment to explore, learn, and grow.

Why do it?

  • Home is the first learning place, and the whānau are a child’s first teachers.
  • Children don’t always need special learning activities. Simple everyday household activities and routines can provide learning experiences in a familiar environment.
  • Having someone nearby who loves them and who’s caring and nurturing is the most important thing for a child’s learning and development.
  • Whatever parents and toddlers are doing together using parallel talk, self-talk and stretch talk will promote the toddlers language development.

How to do it

Here are some ‘around the house’ activity ideas:

  • Assemble a basket or container of 3–4 items that can easily be taken around the house.  A toddler can play with them when parents are doing household chores. This could involve the pull-along toy activity.
  • Revisit the child’s kitchen drawer and put some new kitchen things in for them to explore, such as containers with lids, and some other objects that will fit into the containers.
  • Buy or make a soft and light ball for a toddler to throw, chase after or aim into a big container. It could be made from foam, or you can make one with scrunched up paper and tape, or use a rolled up pair of socks.
  • Ask the toddler to find something and bring it to you.
  • Play ‘talking on the phone’ with a toddler, using 2 blocks as your pretend phones.
  • Sing and dance to music.
  • Find a tin or container (with any rough edges taped or sanded smooth) and stand pegs up on the edge for your toddler to take off and put in the tin — this is a good activity when you’re hanging up washing.
  • Watch out in case pegs start going in the mouth and might accidently pinch lips or tongue. 
  • When outside, and only when supervised, have just a few centimetres of water in a container and a selection of things that float or sink, such as a cork, block, peg, leaf, twig and shell.
  • Make sure any items used in these activities won’t fit inside a paper towel tube, so they aren’t small enough to be choking hazards.

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Talk, communicate
Mahia pēnei Do it like this
Kia tūpato Be careful
Titiro mai Look here
Homai tēnā Give that (thing) here
He aha kei roto i te pouaka? What is inside the box?
He aha kei roto i te pēke? What is inside the bag?