When tamariki notice footprints, tyre tracks or insect trails in earth or sand, whānau can support science and maths ideas. Make prints on paper with shells, sponges or lids and encourage conversations about shapes, patterns and homes creatures live in.

Why do it?

When making prints in the sand or on paper, tamariki have an opportunity to:

  • be creative
  • observe patterns and prints in the natural world
  • try making patterns using different colours and shapes
  • strengthen the practice of going from left to right, which helps with both reading and writing.

How to do it

At the beach:

  • Look for different footprints made by people, birds or animals.
  • Take time to look carefully at the footprints. Ask your tamaiti: ‘What is the same or different about them?’ (smaller, bigger, longer), ‘I wonder why this one is deeper?’
  • Make prints in the sand — footprints, handprints and wheel prints. Try making prints using different stones and shells.
  • Try to copy some prints you’ve seen.

At home:

  • Look for everyday objects that can make a print. They work best if they have at least one flat side. Try different blocks and lids, a potato masher, your thumbs and fingers.
  • Make a ‘stamp pad’ using a folded cloth or a sponge and some liquid paint squirted into it.
  • Provide paper for your tamaiti to make prints on.
  • Make repeating print patterns. Encourage them to start on the left and move to the right.

Using more reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Te tapuwae o ngā manu Bird footprint
Ki te Haina To stamp
To stamp your foot
Kia māriri tō tānga Press lightly
Kia mārō tō tānga Press hard
Me tīmata koe i te taha mauī Start on the left
Me haere koe ki te taha matau Go to the right