Find resources / Activities / What was that? – He aha tērā? Activity

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













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I can hear the sound of the sea

Kei te rongo au te tangi o te moana

What’s that sound?

He aha tērā tangi?