Play idea: Information communication technology (ICT) – Ngā rau tangotango

ICT is already part of children’s lives: New Zealand children interact with technology every day.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • All early learning services 
  • Educators, teachers and kaiako
  • Service managers
  • Parents, caregivers and whānau

Children learn through play. Below is some information about a play idea for your children.

A growing role of the education system is to support children’s understanding of the nature of the technologies they encounter. We also need to support them to maximise the benefits they can provide. We can help our children to use ICT in healthy and safe ways that enhance their learning.

Incorporating ICT into sessions

Some ECE services may regularly use a lot of different information communication technologies as part of their sessions, but others may use very few. Decisions about what ICT is incorporated into sessions will depend on things such as the ages of children attending or the length of sessions. Rather than setting up a different place or space for play, ICT tends to be used to support other play occurring.

ICT in playgroups might be iPods, cell phones, MP3 players, computers and digital and video cameras:

  • iPods might be used to allow access to pictures and music.
  • Cell phones can take and send images as well as allow children to speak to people who are not at the session.
  • MP3 players are great for sharing language and culture.
  • Parents might bring in video cameras to record play and then play it back to children and talk about what they see.
  • Computers are a great resource for accessing information in the moment, and can also be used for viewing photographs, writing stories and playing games.
  • Digital cameras might be used to take pictures that the children can immediately review and discuss, that can be printed off and shared many times at playgroup. Photos can also be sent via a distribution list to all members of a group (remember to get permission to do this) and can provide a way of sharing with all the children and parents what is happening in session. Photos can be a very useful way to capture children’s learning in action.
  • Video cameras allow children to revisit experiences and this is important for learning. Children benefit from being able to reuse play materials and re-enact experiences, but they also benefit from being able to watch themselves play.

Net safety

Netsafe is an internet safety group that provides online safety resources for parents and caregivers of young children. Netsafe provides information to parents and children on how they can keep themselves safe in the information communication environment.

For information on this topic you might visit the Netsafe website.

Netsafe website(external link)

There are a number of pamphlets available from Netsafe that can be requested via phone: 0508 NETSAFE(external link) (05 08 638 723(external link)).

ECE services also need to ensure that any ICT equipment does not expose children, or give them access, to any inappropriate material, such as that of an explicitly sexual or violent nature.

Te Whariki

ICT can be used to support learning across all strands of Te Whāriki. In particular, using ICT encourages purposeful and exploratory play, discussion, creativity, problem-solving, risk-taking and flexible thinking. These are reflective of the Communication and Exploration strands and can all be achieved in the ECE service-based and responsive environment. Families have the greatest influence on young children’s learning, and ICT can enable parents, families and communities to be included in their children’s learning in new ways.

This play idea has been developed for playgroups. Feel free to use it at other types of ECE service, but make sure you're still following the regulations and licensing criteria that apply to your service type. Parents may also find this information useful.

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