Walking and exploring in nature with whānau is a fun way to learn. By slowing down and taking time to notice the environment around them, whānau can create learning opportunities for tamariki everywhere.

Walking and growing

Going out doesn’t always mean spending money. There are plenty of free and interesting things for tamariki to explore on a short walk with an engaged adult.

Meanwhile, safety is always a subject to talk about with tamariki when we are outdoors.

Ask whānau:

  • What have you noticed about your tamaiti when you visit places outside?
  • What sorts of things are they interested in?
  • What sorts of environments do they enjoy?

Take notice of the environment while you’re walking outside. The best learning happens when adults let themselves slow down and enjoy the trip too. Letting tamaiti stop, look, climb steps, jump in puddles, balance on low walls and swing around poles makes a simple walk lots of fun, with active learning.

Ask whānau:

  • Where have you and your tamaiti walked to before?
  • What sorts of things did you notice on your walk?
  • What did your tamaiti seem most interested in?
  • Can we see people working as we walk along the street?
  • What sorts of questions or comments might you make to get them exploring particular ideas? They could be about colours, differences, animals, people, cars, numbers, shapes or smells.

Mahi pāngarau

Activities at the playground help tamariki develop motor skills and confidence, but also provide real-life examples of mathematical concepts.

Height, distance, length, speed, counting and balance are all at the playground through fun at te papa tākaro. Whānau could ask questions like:

  • How many steps up the slide?
  • Why are you up on the see-saw and I’m down?

Mahi pūtaiao

Early science learning can be as easy as talking about nature as we walk. Ask tamaiti questions like:

  • Can we find houses that have flowers or trees in the yard?
  • What birds can we see?
  • What’s different about the sky today?

Perhaps you’re raising a little scientist!

Haere ki tātahi

Places like the beach have endless opportunities for exploring nature. Tamariki also learn about science, maths and language at the beach by naming objects, being able to describe them and seeing the differences and similarities between items they discover.

Beach walks are great for collecting things too, and the conversations can then be continued back at home.

Ask whānau:

  • What do they need from you when they’re absorbed in outside play?
  • How could you encourage or extend their play?

Helpful resources for whānau