Play can be more than just fun. Doing simple jobs around the house and playing with others are great learning opportunities.

Home is the best learning place!

Look at Whakatipu booklet Te Māhuri 1, pages 12 and 13, where you’ll see Maka and Heru playing with each other, playing with things from around the house and helping with simple jobs.

Pātai atu ki te whānau:

  • What do you think they might be learning ?
  • Have you helped your tamaiti to do anything like this?
  • What did you notice?

Affirm whānau when they:

  • encourage their tamariki to get involved in any play and learning activities
  • provide resources for them as they play around the house
  • guide and support tamariki to share and take turns.

Whānau can encourage and support free play by:

  • talking — asking open-ended questions and sharing their thoughts and ideas
  • having fun with tamariki
  • listening to tamariki
  • guiding them and keeping them safe
  • singing, dancing and sharing stories with tamariki.

Helping with simple jobs at home

Just through helping around the home, tamariki are learning skills – they are also having a relationship-strengthening experience where they can contribute alongside a more capable person.

Pātai atu ki te whānau:

  • What have you tried doing together with your tamaiti?
  • Do they like to help?
  • How does that go?
  • What else could you try together?

Playing with others

In Te Māhuri 1 and Te Māhuri 2, check out the purple pages 10–17 titled ‘Ngā mahi a whānau’. They show tamariki playing and learning on their own and with other tamariki.

Ask whānau:

  • How is your tamaiti getting on playing with others?

Between 3 and 5 years, a lot of learning takes place around playing co-operatively. Ask:

  • Have you noticed how they’re getting on with playmates or siblings?

Through play, they can learn how to take turns, share resources, wait, talk and listen and co-operate.

They’ll continue to need the adults who love and care for them to support, encourage and guide them towards playing peacefully.

Ngā tohu whānau

The ‘ngā tohu whānau’ or 6 principles can really help whānau to build and strengthen relationships with their tamariki.

In Te Māhuri 2, pages 18–19, there are ideas on how to promote and maintain the best relationships between whānau and tamariki.

This ensures that tamariki can grow up to be capable, confident and happy.

Pātai atu ki te whānau:

  • We’ve talked about these ‘tohu whānau’ or ‘6 principles’ before. What can you remember about them?
  • Which of the tohu do you find easy?
  • Are there ones that are more difficult for you?

Suggest to whānau that you could go through each of them together to see if there is any area that might be worthwhile exploring. This might help whānau and their tamariki as they spend time together at home.

The ara mātua (parenting pathways) section also has many ideas for strengthening relationships and supporting tamariki in their learning and development.

Helpful resources for whānau