Horoia ō ringaringa – Wash your hands.

Tena Koutou.  The latest international news about the coronavirus pandemic  has got everyone concerned about this new disease.  And we as parents/caregivers and teachers of young children need to and will be addressing these concerns within our environments.  Today I will give you some ideas on how to maintain a healthy environment for tamariki – children.


  • Ensure that your centre is clean.  This is of utmost importance.  You should already have a cleaner that attends to cleaning every night after your centre is closed.  But  during the day there are always going to be areas that need cleaning.  Ensure that wash areas and toilets are kept clean to prevent the spread of germs.  Especially floors as those little feet travel far and wide.
  • Hand sanitisers are not the only option for adults to keep hands clean.  Make sure there is plenty of soap, liquid soap near taps for hand washing,  And to ensure that germs are gone dry with paper towels and dispose.  Towels are ok but these can also spread germs from person to person.  An automatic hand dryer would be an excellent addition to you washing areas.
  • Have a lesson with small groups of children in the hand washing areas and actually show them how to wash their hands properly.  This is important for children to actually see the process not just listen to you telling them to wash their hands.  Children will catch on much quicker through watching then doing themselves.  Help them to do the hand washing so they know how to wash the soap around their little hands.

Make hand washing a fun experience and teach the children a new waiata on hand washing  or maybe have stickers to give to children after hand washing.

Here is a little song I made up you may like to sing along with children at hand washing time or make your own song up with the children yourself.

Wash your hands song.  (tune to are you sleeping?)

Wash your hands wash your hands

With soap and water soap and water

Dry your hands, dry your hands

I am well I am well.

Horoia ō ringaringa

horoia ō ringaringa

ki te  hopi me te wai

ki te hopi me te wai

whakamaroke ō ringaringa

whakamaroke ō ringaringa

kei te pai kei te pai

handwashing photo from Curology

Rewana Bread

Here is a great bread popular with Māori.  It is similar to Māori bread but it has a starter made from potato called rewana.  This will be a good cooking and science activity to do with children of all ages.  You will have to make the rewana a few days before actually making the bread.

Rewana Bread

To make rewana:

1 potato peeled and sliced
1 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
Half cup flour

Make the Rewana mixture by boiling the sliced potato in the cup of water (don’t add salt) until it is a soft enough to mash. Leave it until lukewarm. Pour it into a large preserving jar and then add the sugar and flour and stir hard until a smooth paste is formed.
Leave the jar, covered with a clean tea towel, in a warmish place ( the hot water cupboard is ideal) until it is full of bubbles
This will take 1-2 days. Don’t let it get too sour and ‘off’ smelling though.

8 cups of flour white or wholemeal)
Half-1 cup sugar (to taste)
2-3 cups cold water
Salt to taste

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the rewana mixture. Mix it in well and add enough water to make a smooth dough. (Take a tablespoon off this dough for your next rewana). Knead dough for about 10 minutes on a floured board until it is smooth and firm.
Grease a large loaf tin, a camp oven or a large round cake tin. Place the dough in the baking tin and leave it until it rises half way up the sides.

Bake at 200 C for ten mins.then reduce heat to 150 C and bake for another 60-90 minutes or until shrunken from sides of tin and brown all over.

                  Photo by Stephen Walker (Unsplash.com )

To make a new rewana, take a tablespoon raw dough and put into a clean jar with a teaspoon sugar, some flour and some warm water mixed to a smooth paste. Let it work in a warm place until bubbly and ready to use.


Let’s make a terrarium – rāihi kōataata.

Happy New Year Whanau and friends!  I hope that everyone is enjoying their Christmas holidays.  If you have children at home I have a great idea for an activity.   Today I am going to show you how to make a rāihi kōataata- a terririum.  This could even be made for a christmas gift for someone.

Making a rāihi kōataata/terrarium.

Step 1.

Find an empty glass container.  You can pick a glass container up from the warehouse or  second hand shops.

Step 2.

Fill the bottom of the terrarium with pebbles.

this provides drainage.


Step 3.

Sprinkle over activated charcoal on top of pebbles about a tablespoon or two full.  I got my activated charcaol from King’s Plant Barn.  This ensures that the terrarium does not smell especially if it is closed with a lid.

Step 4.

Add potting mix.  Enough to cover the pebbles and deep enough for plants to root in.

Step 5.

Add plants that can fit into the terrarium.  I found succulents, cacti and water loving ferns good  plants to start with.

Step 6.

Add pebbles or shells or tiny ornaments to the top of the terrarium.  You can place a lid on top which will help the terrarium produce its own moisture.

Step 7.

Spray plants with  water try not to over water.  Keep out of direct sunlight.  Enjoy or give away for a gift.







How to make play dough – the recipe.

Play dough is so much fun and so easy to make.  Today I will talk about play dough and give you an easy recipe.

Lots of people ask is play dough appropriate to play with is it a waste of food?   The answer is Yes play dough is play dough and that’s what it is made for allowing children to create and learn from it.   And no it is not a waste of food.   It is up to individuals to use play dough or not.  I myself do not find it culturally insensitive.

So let’s look at how to make an easy play dough recipe.

multi colours

(Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels)

Play dough recipe.


2 cups flour

1 cup of salt

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 cups of cold water

2 tablespoons oil

extra flour

extras you can add separately:  rosemary leaves, lavender, lemon finely grated, vanilla essence, food colouring


In a bowl add water from the tap, oil and vinegar mix.

Add salt and mix thoroughly.

Gradually add flour and extras if needed.

Mix then turn onto a floured surface.

Knead for five minutes.  The dough is now ready to use.

I used to use the recipe with cream of tartar but it was not always available so I found that this recipe worked fine.  I always make a new dough when required.  I throw out the play dough at the end of the day.  This is because by the end of the day it is been well used and is dirty.  Play dough can be stored in the fridge after making it if you want to use the next day.

The learning outcomes of play dough.

  • develops fine motor skills
  • develops language skills
  • develops sharing and turn taking skills.
  • develops hand eye co ordination
  • develops social skills
  • develops colour recognition
  • develops imagination
  • develops maths skills
  • develops senses



Dancing with scarves.

Today I want to talk about  dancing with scarves with children.  Dancing with scarves is enjoyed by all age groups.  It is an easy activity that incorporates music and movement with scarves,

The music that you choose can vary I like to put on classical music or you can sing E rere taku poi, which helps children to develop the words in te reo Māori.

What will children typically do when they hear music?  It depends some will stand there and just listen, others may jump around and others will tap a foot or jiggle their hips each child is unique when they start learning to dance.  Put a scarf in their hand and add music and watch their little faces glow.

Dance is very valuable to add into your program with children every day.   This is such a cool activity.  Give each child a scarf.  Stand alongside the children and start waving the scarves around in time to the music.

Here are the words to E rere taku poi for you to practice.

poiE rere taku poi, E rere taku poi, ki runga, ki runga

E rere taku poi, E rere taku poi Ki raro ki raro

E rere runga,  E rere  raro

E rere roto,  e rere waho

E rere taku poi, e rere taku poi

Ki runga ki runga



ki runga-up high

ki raro – down low

ki roto-inwards

ki waho- outwards

Dancing with scarves has many good learning outcomes which include:

  • developing skills for use of poi
  • developing fine motor skills- tiny fingers have to learn to grasp the scarf
  • developing movement skills learning to move to music
  • developing hearing one of the senses
  • developing the touch sense
  • creating their own moves and actions with the scarves
  • spatial awareness is developing
  • having fun with others
  • sharing scarves thus developing social skills
  • developing imagination

I always found it hard to find decent scarves but came across some great ones perfect for little fingers right here.

JZK 20 Multi colour soft organza silk square dance juggling scarves for children kids girls party activities accessory decoration rhythm band scarf baby sensory scarfs

Click onto scarves to see where to get them from.

Have a great day and get dancing!