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Recommended reading Playing at home Stages: 3 to 5 years

This Parenting Resource is full of information about giving tamariki play opportunities at home. Look at the following session notes from the 25–36 months section:

And this ‘child development’ topic for 25–36 months:

Refer also to the session notes for 3–5-year-olds:

  • Maths learning
  • Play

Whānau are always the key

Although many tamariki will be participating in some kind of early learning centre, mum, dad and their whānau at home are still number one. Whānau will always be the most important people in the lives of tamariki. They will be their best playmates, and their lifelong guides and supporters.

As tamariki grow, learn, develop and get more independent, their behaviour may swing between confidence and fear. They need their whānau to understand that developing into a 5-year-old is a ‘work in progress’, with plenty of forward, and then sometimes backward, steps.

Whānau and other trusted caregivers are best placed to support, guide and encourage tamariki to have a go, to try again, to say ‘Ka pai koe!’ — ‘Good on you!’.

Home: a rich learning place

At home there are experiences all day and every day shared by whānau and tamariki where ākona me whakaako (learning and teaching) happen automatically as people go about their daily lives together.

Tamariki learn about the world, and they learn skills, language and maths ideas. They learn to share and to wait. Grownups learn to notice, to listen, to be patient, and to ask open-ended questions that lead to real conversations.

Sometimes, doing things together like this may mean chores take longer to get done. Whānau helpers are well-placed to point out how spending time with tamariki is sending them the message that they are loved and worth spending time with. It is also building their brain to enable tamariki to become happy and capable adults.

Create moments, make memories, shape destinies.

Further information

Other links to ideas for playing and learning:

  • Ministry of Education: 0–6 years old — Play ideas in new window

  • Ministry of Education: Play ideas for playgroups in new window

SKIP resources

  • Having fun and spending time together: in new window

Tips for Whānau supporters

For more information, please visit the Whānau Supporters page.