Posting pegs into a bottle 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 a peg into a bottle helps children develop their hand–eye coordination.
  • It also encourages problem solving — the child has to figure out how to line the peg up so it fits into the hole.
  • It gives them a chance to have fun and feel satisfaction with their achievements.
  • It can be developed into a turn-taking activity.
  • It also provides an opportunity for using language-building strategies — parallel talk, self-talk and stretch talk.

How to do it

  • Use pegs without springs, so your child doesn’t pinch their lips or tongue if they put the peg in their mouth.
  • Use a plastic bottle with a handle so they can hold the bottle steady with one hand — a clean milk bottle is ideal.
  • Give your toddler a peg and the bottle and let them explore — see what they do with them.
  • Invite them to put the peg in the bottle and see what they do.
  • If necessary, show them how to post the peg, or guide their hand.
  • If they aren’t experiencing success, find a container with a wider opening to practise with, and then try the bottle again later.

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Ipu miraka Milk bottle
Kohiā te mātiti Pick up the peg
Kuhuna ki roto Put it in
Release, let go
Do it again
Ahua nui rawa tēnā mātiti? This peg might be too big
Me mahi tāua anō Let's try again
He aha te tae ō tēnā mātiti? What colour is that peg?
Whakamatuatia te ipu miraka Keep the milk bottle steady
Puritia te hānara Hold the handle
Nōu te wā Your turn
Nōku te wā My turn
Ko koe te tuatahi You go first
Ko au te tuarua I'll go second
To experiment
Persist, try hard
Mahia pēnei Do it like this
Homai te... Give me the...
Mauria mai te... Bring me the...
To slide, slide down
Haere ki roto In it goes
Ruiruia te ipu Shake the bottle
Haere mai ngā mātiti Here comes the pegs
Tahi, rua, toru, whā One, two, three, four