Play is fun and lets tamariki develop their bodies and learn. It’s important for tamariki to exercise their big muscles so they can practise running, climbing, jumping, and throwing. Whānau should be aware of safety at all times.

All through the booklet Te Kōhuri 1, there are hints that a toddler needs lots of space and time to develop their ‘big muscles’.

On page 6 of the booklet, tamaiti says “When I hear music it makes me want to . I can’t stop myself from moving. Look at me! I can too.”

Perhaps you could try the Tohorā Nui in the Te Kōhuri 1 booklet (page 13).

Waiata Tamariki - Tohora Nui

Waiata Tamariki - Tohora Nui (transcript)

Follow the translation of the waiata and create some actions for big whale, long whale, fat whale, spouting out its blowhole, waggling its tail, and swimming in the sea.

Page 24 of Whakatipu Te Kokuri 1 is about haututū – the playful explorer. It explains how this child is learning through explorations, and that it’s up to whānau to keep them safe and to ensure they've got a ‘yes’ environment to explore in.

Try an activity


Children enjoy creating new environments and activities using everyday household materials. This activity encourages large muscle play indoors. It’s especially good on really cold or wet days when they can’t get outside

Getting tamariki interested in active play

Children need space to run, skip, jump, crawl, roll and play.

Explain to whānau how active play helps children gain control and awareness of their bodies and to understand space and distance. It’s important that they exercise their big muscles so they can practise running, climbing, jumping, and throwing.

The key to providing a ‘yes’ environment is to be aware of safety and to keep an eye on their toddler at all times.

Conversation ideas

How does your toddler react to music?
What sort of changes are you noticing in your tamaiti in their strength and physical ability?
How do you help them ‘let off steam’?
What do they like to do with balls?
What sort of things do they like to do at the park, beach or playground?
What ways have you found to help your toddler safely climb and explore?
Have you tried toys that they push or pull along?
What does your tamaiti like to do with big empty boxes?
How do they deal with steps and stairs? Even kerbs and little steps might be tricky for them.
How about crawling, rolling, throwing and kicking?

Helpful resources for whānau