What was that? – He aha tērā?

Identifying sounds is a fun way to support brain development as tamariki focus, develop concentration skills, process new information and connect this to existing knowledge. Whānau can encourage listening and questioning in a fun and informative way.

Why do it?

Why do it? — He aha e mahi ai?

Playing games with tamariki that involve identifying sounds will help them to:

  • further develop their concentration skills
  • process and respond to sensory stimulation
  • practise using their sense of hearing over other senses
  • increase their use of mental representation — that is, being able to form images or ideas in their mind.

How to do it

How to do it — Te tikanga mō tēnei mahi

  • Find a large tin or a metal pot.
  • Collect a variety of small things that will make different sounds when dropped into the tin. Try a peg, a stone, a stick, a teaspoon, a plastic lid, a metal lid, a block, a leaf or a coin.
  • Look at all of the things with your tamaiti and name them all.
  • Talk about the sorts of sounds they might make if you drop them into the tin.
  • Shut your eyes and ask them to drop one thing in and you try to guess what it was.
  • See if they want a turn. Ask them to shut their eyes while you drop something in. They might want to practice a couple of times first with their eyes open.
  • Talk about the sorts of sounds you hear. What sounded loud and what sounded soft?

Other ideas — Ētahi atu whakaaro

  • Help your tamaiti to listen for sounds when you’re out and about: waves or birds at the beach, sounds out in the street, in the garden or at the park.
  • See if they can identify different vehicle sounds, such as a motorbike, the rubbish truck or a bus.
  • Try listening with your eyes shut.
  • Play ‘sounds bingo’. Make a card with up to 9 pictures of things that make different noises. Take a walk and see if you can tick any off your card. Ideas might include a dog barking, a fire engine, birds singing, trucks, trains, people talking or laughing, music playing, water running, wind in the trees or a school bell ringing.
  • If you have a smartphone or another device that can record sounds, capture some different noises and see if your tamaiti can guess what they are.

Using more reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
To drop
Kei te rongo au te tangi o te moana I can hear the sound of the sea
He aha tērā tangi? What’s that sound?