A range of small containers and toys can enable baby to explore, play with mathematical concepts like space and geometry and increase their vocabulary and listening skills. This is a fun way for whānau to support baby’s cooperative and turn-taking skills.

Why do it?

  • This activity provides an opportunity for baby and whānau to share attention.
  • Baby can reach, grasp, turn, mouth, shake, bang and look at all sides of an object, exploring and exercising their curiosity.
  • Whānau can model how to explore an object and follow baby’s lead when they’re exploring something.
  • Whānau can use parallel talk to describe what baby’s doing — this builds their ‘receptive’ language (language understanding).
  • Whānau can use self-talk to describe what they’re doing — this also helps build baby’s receptive language.

How to do it

  • Find 2–3 different sized containers (for example, plastic, cardboard and metal).
  • Find a similar number of small, safe objects that will fit in the containers (for example, a block, spoon, small ball, little book, toy car, rattle).
  • Give a container and an object to baby, and keep a container and object yourself.
  • Model putting the object in and taking it out.
  • Encourage baby to copy you.
  • Give the words to baby — ‘The rattle is in the box. The rattle is out the box.’
  • Play ‘in and out’ until baby has had enough.

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Watch, observe
To examine, explore
Ngā Ipu Containers
To shake
Motukā Iti Little car
Ngā rākau Blocks
Titiro mai, e te tau Look here, my darling
Kei roto In
Kei roto i te pouaka Inside the box
Kei roto i te pouaka te pune The spoon is inside the box
Kei waho Out
Kei waho i te pākete Outside the bucket
Kei waho i te pākete te motukā iti The little car is outside of the bucket
Look for, search
Rite tonu, ōrite Same