Posting items down a cardboard tube is a fun game where toddlers learn about anticipation from repetition. It supports problem-solving and explores science (gravity, momentum, force). When played with whānau, language and turn-taking skills are developed.

Why do it?

  • Posting items down a tube provides opportunities for children to strengthen their hand–eye coordination.
  • When they repeat the activity, it strengthens their problem-solving skills.
  • Sharing an activity and attention with their parent strengthens the relationship between them both.
  • It’s also an opportunity for strengthening language by using language-building strategies — parallel talk, self-talk and stretch talk — as parent and child explore and talk about the activity together.

How to do it

  • You’ll need a cardboard tube (like a cling wrap roll), some pegs and other objects that fit down the tube such as a pencil, a small car or a small ball.
  • Make sure you supervise this activity closely, as small items are a choking hazard, and your child may still want to mouth them.
  • Sit with your toddler and invite them to post the peg down the tube. You could say, ‘Pick up the peg and put it in the tube.’
  • If they do, that immediately tells you they understand a two-step instruction.
  • They may need you to show them first. Do so, and then give them a peg and say, ‘Your turn!’
  • Ask them, ‘Again?’ and see what happens.
  • Try posting other objects down the tube.
  • If you have a fat tube, try cutting it in half long-ways to make a half-pipe, and they can let an object go down and watch it slide.
  • Supervise your toddler — they may try to walk around with the tube in their mouth, which could be dangerous if they were to fall.

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Release, let go
Purua Put in
Ko koe te tuatahi You go first
Ko au te tuarua I'll go second
Nōu te wā Your turn
Nōku te wā My turn
Kohia ētahi... Collect some...
Homai te... Give me the...
Mauria mai te... Bring me the...
Do it again
Kohiā te mātiti Pick up the peg
To slide, slide down
Drop out
Haere ki raro Going down