Why do it?

  • Between 2 and 3 years of age, children have a lot of energy to release.
  • They’re also likely to experience frustration at times, as their language development may not ‘keep up’ with the strong emotions they need to express.
  • Vigorous play helps young children to release energy and relieve frustration, especially when they’re outside.
  • It’s an opportunity to practise and strengthen motor skills including balance, fitness and co-ordination.
  • It encourages children to learn to take risks, and to develop confidence and resilience.

How to do it

  • Children need plenty of space to run around in, such as a backyard or a nearby park.
  • You also need a ball and some items that can be used as bats — wooden spoons, glad wrap rolls, a rolled and taped newspaper, or a long sock to be used as a tail.
  • You can make a ball by scrunching paper and wrapping tape around it.
  • Play ‘chase the tail’ — tuck the sock in your waistband so the toddler has to chase you and pull it out. Take turns.
  • Use the ‘bats’ and newspaper ball to play ‘newspaper hockey’.
  • If it’s windy, make a basic kite with a supermarket bag tied on to some string — as they run around the wind will fill the bag.
  • Just running with the wind blowing around them can be great fun itself.
  • A paper towel tossed into the air can be fun to chase after, and to try and catch it again.

Using more te reo Māori

Kakare To be agitated, emotional
Matekiri To be frustrated, disappointed
Whakatautikatia To balance
Whakapakari tinana Physical fitness, exercise
Reretahi To be coordinated
Māia Confidence, courage
Manawaroa Resilient
Waewae kai kapua Adventurous person, risk taker
Tahuaroa Open space
Oma Run
Whai, aru Chase, follow
Te hau Wind
Pōro Ball
Pouaka Box
Koho Spoon
Niupepa Newspaper
Tōkena Sock
Whiore Tail
Piu Skip
Huri Turn
Peke Jump
Tauhunahuna Play hide and seek
Takahuri te pōro Roll the ball
Kia tūpato Be careful
Āta haere Go slow
Kia tere Be quick
Ka aru āhau i a koe I'm going to chase you
Oma tere Run fast
Kei te haere koe ki hea? Where are you going?
Ka nui tēnām e te tau That's enough, my darling
Kia tere tonu tē haere! Go as fast as you can!