Why do it?

  • ‘Opening and finding’ activities are an opportunity for toddlers to exercise their curiosity by discovering what’s inside a container with a lid.
  • When toddlers practise opening and closing a lid this makes new brain connections and strengthens the connections through repetition.
  • It also strengthens the relationship between toddler and whānau by sharing a simple, fun activity.
  • When whānau use the chance to talk about the activity with the child as well, it strengthens their toddler’s language development.

How to do it

  • You’ll need some containers with lids some with hinged lids too. Simple ‘hinges’ can be made by threading and securing string or ribbon between the base and lid. Two hinges will provide and even balance and string needs to be long enough to allow for easy opening and closing.
  • Have a selection of interesting items for them to put into the containers, one at a time.
  • Start with one container and put in one item. Offer the container to the toddler and invite them to lift the lid and find something interesting.
  • If necessary model this first, by saying ‘What’s inside?’ — and acting surprised when you find the item.
  • When they start to lose interest, introduce a different container with a new ‘surprise’ inside.
  • Notice how a toddler gets better at opening and closing by repeating the action.

Using more te reo Māori

Pouaka Box
Paepae Container
Taupoki Lid
Huaki(na) Open
Kati(a) Close
Tētahi mea Something
Ngā tōkena Socks
He tāre A doll
Ētahi mātiti Some pegs
Kei roto In
Kei raro Under
Kei runga On
Kimi(hia) To look for
E kimi ana au mō he... I'm looking for...
Huakina te taupoki Open the lid
Katia te taupoki Close the lid
Huakina te pouaka Open the box
Whakahokia te taupoki Put the lid back on
E hia ngā paepae kōnei? How many containers are here?
E rua ngā paepae Two containers
He aha kei roto? What's inside?
Me mātakitia Have a look
Kei te kite ahau he... I see a...
He aha tēnei? What's this?
Kōrero mai Talk to me
Kātahi nā te tamaiti mōhio, ko koe What a clever kid you are