Stacking and nesting games can enable baby to explore, play with mathematical concepts like space and geometry and increase their vocabulary and listening skills. This is a fun way to support baby’s cooperative, problem-solving and turn-taking skills.

Why do it?

  • Stacking and nesting activities give baby opportunities to share attention with whānau and explore what fits into what, and what stacks on what.
  • Baby also learns problem-solving skills and language skills (including prepositions such as ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘out’, ‘under’ and ‘over’).

How to do it

  • Start with a small number of items — about 4 — that ‘nest’ in each other.
  • Encourage baby to explore what item fits into what.
  • Turn the objects over and show baby how to put one on top of another.
  • Encourage baby to explore other objects that can be stacked on top of each other.
  • Use words like ‘in’, ‘on’ or ‘too big’ to describe what baby is doing as they explore.
  • Build a block or box ‘tower’ for baby to knock over.
  • Give baby a clap and a smile when they succeed.

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Advisor, instructor
Problem solving
To experiment
Really big
Iti rawa Really small
He poto rawa Too short
He nui rawa Too big
I te taha On the side
Unstable, capsize
Knock over
Encouragement, urging
Applaud, cheer
Ka pai koe Well done you
Kātahi te pēpi mōhio, ko koe What a clever baby you are