Playing with uku (clay) is fun, creative, and educational. Finger painting is just one of the many ways in which tamariki can engage in messy and creative uku play.

Why do it?

  • Enables tamariki to explore in te .
  • Turning into painting materials teaches tamariki some simple science skills. They’ll learn about physical change, and cause and effect.
  • Making painting materials out of clay will encourage tamariki to think outside the box, developing their problem-solving skills.
  • Tamariki will use their hands to make shapes, paint things, and explore textures, sparking imagination and learning.
  • Painting with clay will help build creativity.
Playing with uku (transcript)

How to do it

You’ll need

  • Different types of clay
  • Small trowel and container
  • A stone and container
  • Water and paper

Tikanga note: Always be mindful of where you source your uku from.


  • Go on a to collect clay.
  • Use rocks to grind the clay into dust.
  • Add water to make it sticky.
  • Start painting with your uku!

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
walk, hike
collect, gather together