As tamariki grow, coordination becomes refined. Building with blocks enables creative problem-solving as increasingly complex structures are built. Science and maths (balance, gravity, measurement) are explored as tamariki cooperate with others.

Why do it?

Building with blocks and other toys allows tamariki to:

  • use their problem-solving skills involving balance, size and space
  • strengthen their fine motor skills and improve coordination and concentration
  • use their imagination and be creative
  • develop their language skills as they work and play with others
  • enjoy a sense of achievement when they’ve built something.

How to do it

You'll need:

  • Tamariki can build with blocks, boxes, timber offcuts and plastic containers.
  • Blocks can be borrowed from toy libraries or can often be found in second-hand shops.
  • If whānau want to make wooden blocks for tamariki, they need to use untanalised wood.

Play ideas:

  • The simplest thing to build is a tower — see how high they can build their tower.
  • Encourage creativity by suggesting other structures they might try to build — maybe a wharenui, a garage or a barn.
  • Kōrero with them about the different parts of a building: walls, floor, roof, windows, doors, steps and chimney.
  • Encourage them to include other things alongside their building: toy people, vehicles or animals. Twigs stuck in playdough could be the ngahere.
  • If building with recycled materials, tamariki can stick boxes and pottles together with glue or tape to make a more permanent building. This could be decorated with felt pens, paints or collage materials.
  • Share picture books about building — for example, ‘The three little pigs’.

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Ngā rākau Blocks
House
Box
Tower
Church
Garage
Wall
Floor
Door
Window
Stairs
Steps
Chimney
Bridge
To build
Balance
Playdough
Ngā Ipu Containers
Need
Fall
Stick, adhere
Kohia ētahi... Collect some...
Homai te... Give me the...
Mauria mai te... Bring me the...
Me pēnei Do it like this...
Kia tūpato Be careful
Titiro mai Look here