Play ideas and activities Doing things for myself Stages: 25 to 36 months

Why do it?

  • Toddlers are interested in doing things for themselves. Saying ‘Me do it!’ is a sign they are growing up.
  • They have been watching their parents and copying what they do.
  • They’ve been practising hand-eye co-ordination skills.
  • It may take a bit longer for a toddler to do something rather than the parent doing it. However, having the patience to let them try will pay off in the long run as they grow in confidence and achieve goals independently. If they’re keen to do something, they’ll master the skills more readily.

How to do it

  • Encourage a young child to take some responsibility for getting dressed.
  • They can:
    • take off their socks and shoes
    • take off some of their clothes
    • make little choices about what to wear, such as ‘Blue t-shirt or red one?’
    • put on a hat
    • put their dirty clothes in the wash.
  • Offering choices within the limits can help a toddler feel more in charge, for example ‘Do you want a bath or a shower?’
  • Young children can help with simple tasks, for example unpacking some of the shopping, sorting clean washing, washing the car, scrubbing potatoes or rinsing lettuce.

Using more te reo Māori

Māku e mahi I do it
Kākahuria To dress
Kākahu Clothes
Tōkena Socks
Pōtae Hat
Tarau tāngari Jeans
Tarau Trousers
Tarau poto Shorts
Tangohia ō kākahu Take your clothes off
Kuhuna ō kākahu moe Put your pyjamas on
Whakahokia koa ō kākahu ki te kāpata Put your clothes away in the cupboard please
He tīhāte whero, he tīhāte pango rānei? Red t-shirt or blue t-shirt
Kei te aha koe? What are you doing?
Ka pirangi koe he tāpu, he tāuwhiuwhi rānei? Do you want a bath or a shower?
Paraihetia ō niho Brush your teeth
Horoia ō ringa Wash your hands
Wetekina ō hū Take off your shoes
Kuhuna ō tōkena Put on your socks
Kei hea ō tiakete? Where is your jacket?
Tikina koa tō pōtae Fetch your hat please
Kino kē koe, e te tau You're awesome, my darling!
Tikina ngā reta Collect the mail
Whiua ki te ipupara Throw it in the rubbish bin
Me horoi tāua ngā pereti Let's do the dishes
Kimihia tō hū Find your shoe
Kei te whakahihi au i a koe I am very proud of you
Me hoki ki te kainga Let's go back home