Babies are born to move and to explore. Creating a play gym will encourage pēpi to interact with their environment, learning how their actions affect things around them. Lie beside or sit near baby and show delight when they manage to make contact.

Why do it?

  • Baby is likely to notice their hands around now, and will be interested in looking at them.
  • They will reach out for things hanging in front of them, like on a play gym.
  • They may hit or grab things by accident at first, before learning to touch them on purpose.
  • They’re making brain connections for using their eyes and hands together — this is the beginning of many fine motor skills they’ll develop over time.

How to do it

  • You’ll need:
    • 3 things baby might be interested in looking at and touching (such as a rattle, measuring spoons and a piece of fabric)
    • string or ribbon
    • sticky tape.
  • Attach the objects to the edge of a table using the string and sticky tape.
  • Position baby so their hands can touch an object.
  • Wait and watch — baby will touch something by accident, and after some repetitions they’re likely to start touching deliberately.
  • When they’re ready for new objects, swap the old things for new ones.
  • Aim for a wide selection of materials — fabric, wood, metal, shells (check for sharp edges), as well as plastic items.
  • Use tinsel down the windows, as it will sparkle.
  • Balloons are good for tying onto the play gym too — but watch for out for pets or older siblings who may pop them

Using more reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Kei te aha koe? What are you doing?
Kei te tākaro koe? Are you playing?
To wait
Watch, observe
Titiro mai, he aha tēnei? Look here, what’s this?
Play things
Hanging, dangling
Reach out
To sparkle, gleam
To rattle
Kei hea te Where is the ....