Action songs use rhythm and description to encourage movement, and strengthen muscles and bones. Vocabulary, listening and other communication skills are practiced as tamariki match what the song says with what their bodies should do.

Why do it?

  • Young children and whānau enjoy sharing songs together.
  • and rhymes are great for building a child’s memory and confidence.
  • Experiences with rhythm and rhyme help promote language development.
  • Singing and using actions at the same time is a complex activity and involves different parts of the brain. This means rich learning happens when children are enjoying (action songs).
  • Singing is fun.

How to do it

Look through the Whakatipu booklets for waiata to enjoy.

  • Te Pihinga 1, page 33 — Mēnā harikoa koe
  • Te Kōhuri 2, page 15 — Mā is white
  • Te Kōhuri 2, page 33 — Tahi is one
  • Te Kōhuri 3, page 32 – Haere, haere, hikoi haere

Download and order Whakatipu booklets(external link)

Search for these other songs from the collection of waiata on this website. Follow the actions or make up your own.

Waiata mai

Singing soothes tamariki and builds their brain. Check out our waiata section for more than 100 songs for tamariki and pēpi, including songs in Pacific languages and te reo Māori.

Find songs and rhymes
Mother plays guitar with her daughter

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Waiata mai Sing to me
Whakarongo mai Listen to me
Turn around
To stamp your foot
Action songs
E oma Run
E noho Sit
E peke Jump
E huri Turn
E piu Skip
E tū Stand up
E kata Laugh
Huri atu Turn away
Huri mai Turn to me
Entertainment, dance
Pleasure, amusement