Engaging with play, your tamariki and rangatahi, and the community this play week

by Aktive
Published on Sunday 14 November, 2021
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Reminisce about the days when you chased someone in a game of tag, threw a pebble in hopscotch, or ran as fast as you could against your friend, barefoot on hot concrete in a game of Octopus. Play is an important part of our tamariki (5 to 11 years) and rangatahi’s (12 to 18 years) lives. Join us in celebrating all things play 15 to 21 November as we kick off Play Week Aotearoa 2021. 

These moments in time are arguably the most important part of the day for our tamariki and rangatahi. Moments where they can be themselves - free from structure, judgment, and expectations, where freedoms are celebrated and most importantly where they are happy. There are no failures, only learnings from the real world and real experiences.  

The magic of play is that it doesn’t cost much to participate and can happen anywhere, at any time. 


As the saying goes, while the cat’s away, the mice will play, but there are ways you can encourage and be a catalyst for your tamariki and rangatahi’s playtime. Encourage them to play on their own and with others. including yourself and your whanau, inside and outdoors, as playing is the best way for them to get active. 

The important conditions for play are: 

  • A moment in the day that is without structure (i.e. there is time) 
  • The physical environment or taiao (i.e. there is space and/or facilities) 
  • That no one cares why it occurs (i.e. it is permitted) 
  • Other tamariki and/or people and/or equipment. 

You are an important playmate of your rangatahi/tamariki. Playing with them will not only increase your bond with them, but it also helps their learning and development. Everyday activities can become play, including chores, scavenger hunts, acting out stories such as fairy tales and legends. Help them build their imagination and a range of physical, cognitive, emotional skills, while also developing their connection with you, whānau, and the wider community.  


Take time out during this Play Week, 15 to 21 November to connect with your tamariki and rangatahi and improve your mental and physical health through play.  

For more information read our Playful Communities Toolkit, available free on our Resource Hub: https://aktive.org.nz/funding-services/play/ 

“We want to see an Auckland where play is enjoyed by people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures as part of everyday life in ways and in places which feel empowering, inspiring and joyful.”