Play ideas and activities Looking and finding Stages: 13 to 18 months

Why do it?

  • Looking for objects appeals to a curious toddler who enjoys finding and exploring independently.
  • Looking and finding provides opportunities for toddlers’ language development, such as:
  • using ‘parallel’ talk — parents describe what their toddler is doing
  • adding vocabulary through parents naming and describing objects their toddler has found
  • encouraging learning of a second language by parents using it to describe and name objects.
    • Objects are selected by parents, so they’re ‘safe’ and ‘allowed’ items.
    • The ‘seeking’ component adds interest to the child’s everyday toys or objects.

How to do it

  • Gather a range of containers like cardboard boxes, a washing basket, an old handbag, a shoebox and a bucket, and fill each with an assortment of safe objects.
  • Give one of the containers to your child and let them discover and explore the items inside.
  • Describe what they’ve found and talk with them about the different objects.
  • Objects could be grouped (for example, just soft toys or clothing items) or be a random mixture of safe household objects.
  • You could also include another smaller container with contents — for example, a sock filled with clothes pegs.
  • Save a variety of empty boxes and fit them inside each other. Or, put an object inside each box — your child can explore them one-by-one.
  • If you don’t have any suitable boxes or containers, try filling a pillowcase, or cover a selection of objects with a towel and let them discover ‘what’s underneath?’

Using more te reo Māori

Pouaka Box
Paepae Container
Pākete Bucket
Taupoki Lid
Huaki(na) Open
Kati Close
Me mātakitia Have a look
Kei te kite ahau he ... I see a ....
Tētahi mea Something
Tōkena Sock
Tāre Doll
Mātiti Peg
Koko Spoon
Kei roto In
Kei waho Out
Kei raro Under
Kei runga On
Kimi(hia) To look for
Huakina te taupoki Open the lid
He aha kei roto? What's inside?
He aha tēnei? What's this?
Kōrero mai Talk to me
E kimi ana au mō he.... I'm looking for...