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 eye-hand coordination
  • 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.

How to do it

You’ll need

  • A selection of tools to suit the age of your child, such as a small hammer, flat-head nails, PVA glue, tape, scissors, Blu-Tack.
  • 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 that can be nailed, glued or taped together, such as bottle tops, scraps of fabric, cardboard boxes of various sizes, plastic straws, lids, string, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, driftwood and twigs.

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

Te reo Māori English
To build
To stick
He poto rawa Too short
He roa rawa Too long
He aha tō pirangi ki te mahi? What would you like to make?
Hei motukā tēnei pouaka This box can be a car
Māku e whakapiri ngā taupoki mō ngā wīra I’m gluing the lids on for wheels