Hiding objects and encouraging tamariki to discover them, and then talk about what they have found is a fun way for whānau to support descriptive language development and mathematical skills (problem-solving, matching, grouping, counting).

Why do it?

  • The ‘seeking’ component adds interest to the child’s everyday toys or objects.
  • Looking and finding provides opportunities for toddlers’ language development, such as:
    • using ‘parallel’ talk — parents describe what their toddler is doing
    • adding vocabulary through parents naming and describing objects their toddler has found
    • encouraging learning of a second language by parents using it to describe and name objects.

How to do it

  • Gather a range of containers like cardboard boxes, a washing basket, an old handbag, a shoebox and a bucket, and fill each with an assortment of safe objects.
  • Give one of the containers to your child and let them discover and explore the items inside.
  • Describe what they’ve found and talk with them about the different objects.
  • Objects could be grouped (for example, just soft toys or clothing items) or be a random mixture of safe household objects.
  • You could also include another smaller container with contents — for example, a sock filled with clothes pegs.
  • Save a variety of empty boxes and fit them inside each other. Or, put an object inside each box — your child can explore them one-by-one.
  • If you don’t have any suitable boxes or containers, try filling a pillowcase, or cover a selection of objects with a towel and let them discover ‘what’s underneath?’

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Me titiro Have a look
Kei te kite ahau he... I see a...
Tētahi mea Something
Kei roto In
Kei waho Out
Kei raro Under
Kei runga On
Look for, search
Huakina te taupoki Open the lid
He aha kei roto? What's inside?
He aha tēnei? What is this?
Kōrero mai Talk to me
E kimi ana au mō he.... I'm looking for...