Find resources / Activities / Te mahi kāmura — Carpentry Activity

Get the tamariki involved in making something exciting with whatever materials and tools you have around the house. It's something fun you can do together and also a great opportunity to teach kids about problem solving and basic carpentry skills.

Why do it?

Doing construction carpentry is an opportunity for tamariki to:

  • be creative in 3 dimensions
  • foster children's natural desire to construct and play
  • learn about adult tools and how to use them safely
  • strengthen hand–eye co-ordination
  • explore maths and science concepts such as size, weight, length, balance and force
  • practise planning and problem-solving strategies
  • build confidence and develop carpentry skills, which are very useful life skills.

Read more in Whakatipu booklet Te Māhuri 1, ‘Construction carpentry’, p. 15.

How to do it

You'll need:

  • A selection of tools to suit the age of your child e.g. small hammer, flat-head needs, PVA glue, tape, scissors, bluetac etc. 
  • A steady surface to work on, such as a low table.
  • Small offcuts of soft, untreated wood in a range of shapes and sizes. Large round slab of pine or logs can be suitable for practising hammering into.
  • A collection of other materials nearby that can be nailed, glued or taped together e.g.  bottle tops, scraps of fabric, cardboard boxes of various sizes, plastic straws, lids, string, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, driftwood, twigs etc. 

Next steps:

  • Ask your tamaiti what they feel like making and help them select what they might need need to build it.
  • Let them lead the process.
  • Encourage tamariki to think of different ways to solve problems. For example, you could ask: ‘How could you make wheels for your truck?’
  • Practise hammering using cardboard shapes with holes punched in them and flat-head nails.
  • Tamariki may enjoy matching bolts with nuts, exploring hinges and screws, and using a screwdriver.

Using more te reo Māori

Building Whare
To build Hanga(ia)
Hammer Pākuru
Hammering Paopao
Joining Honotanga
Glue Kāpia
Gluing Whakapiri
Nail Nēra
Too short He poto rawa
Too long He roa rawa
Box Pouaka
Church Whare karakia
Boat Waka
Bridge Arahanga
Garage Karāti
Shop Whare hoko, Toa
Car Motokā
Wheels Wīra
What would you like to make? He aha tō pīrangi?
This box can be a car Hei motokā tēnei pouaka
I’m gluing the lids on for wheels Māku e whakapiri ana ngā  taupoki hei wīra