Building a hut helps baby’s muscle development and coordination (crawling, walking, crouching). Cognition is supported (problem-solving, object permanence, language acquisition) and baby explores feelings (like frustration or joy) having fun with you.

Why do it?

  • This activity gives baby a chance to practise their motor skills, such as crawling, standing and cruising.
  • It helps them learn about hiding and being found.
  • They’re also practising their communication and having fun with whānau.
  • A chance for baby to explore

How to do it

You’ll need:

  • a large cardboard box big enough for baby to crawl into, OR a table/chairs
  • a big sheet or blanket 

Make your hut: 

  • Hang the blanket or sheet over the structure and secure with string or pegs to make the hut.


  • Show baby the ‘hut’ and crawl in yourself to encourage them to come in too.
  • Try a game of peekaboo in the hut.
  • Read a story to baby in their hut.

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Temporary shelter, hui
To build
Pouaka nui Large box
Shelter, hiding place
To crawl
Kei roto In
Kei waho Out
Me hangaia he whare mā tāua Let's build us a house
He aha kei roto i te pūrokuroku nei? What's inside this little hut?
Tirohia tēnei whare ātaahua! Look at this beautiful house!
Haramai ki roto Come inside
Me pānui pukapuka tāua? Shall we read?
Kei te hiamoe koe? Are you tired?