Play idea: Visits and outings – Haerenga

Trips to places outside the ECE centre or visits from people can provide children with new experiences and increase their understanding of the world around them.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • 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.

Trips to places outside of the early learning service can also help children become more confident in social situations.

Outings don’t have to be major – a simple walk to the park or to watch nearby road works can be interesting for children.

Take your time and allow children to think about what they see. A book with photographs telling the story of the visit can be helpful for children to understand what’s going on, and it provides a starting point for discussing and revisiting the experience.

Visits and outings help children to

  • learn to question and explore
  • understand what’s going on around them
  • learn new words based on what they see
  • feel part of the community they live in.

Adults can support children by

  • involving them in the planning for the trip
  • supervising them on the trip
  • asking questions about different things on the trip
  • keeping a photographic or written record of the trip for the literacy/book area.

Ideas for places to visit

  • a playground
  • another ECE service group
  • the local library
  • an airport
  • a farm.

Ideas for people visiting

  • public health nurse
  • toy library coordinator
  • a police officer
  • a firefighter
  • someone with animals, such as the SPCA.

Marae: Māori meeting places

Marae provide excellent and broad-based learning opportunities about Māori traditions and culture.

A marae stay could be planned and carried out for the group, through contact with local Māori people, or a one-day visit could be arranged.

Through contact with local marae, parents and children will gain more knowledge of the Māori history of their town and region.

Preparing for a trip

All parents need to know about the trip and have the opportunity to be involved.

Playgroups are still required to maintain the ratio standard of at least half the children attending having a parent or caregiver present, with there being no less than one parent or caregiver for every four children whilst on a trip. Each parent or caregiver needs to be responsible for their own children.

When planning the trip, make sure there are enough cars for transport and enough car restraints available for every child. On longer trips, stop part-way for a break and allow children time to explore fully.

Groups might take these things with them:

  • first aid kit and any other necessary medication cell phone
  • sunblock or other sun protection
  • snacks, drinks and damp cloths to clean up sticky fingers
  • tissues
  • changes of clothes
  • plastic bag for ‘found’ items and soiled clothing
  • camera.

Consent form

To ensure that trips away from the normal venue are educational, safe and enjoyable there are a few things that need to be considered.

Groups may want to have a consent form that is used on all trips.

The consent form could contain all or some of the following:

Trip details

  • Date of trip
  • Trip to
  • Means of transport
  • Departure time
  • Return time
  • Depart from
  • Return to

Organiser and caregiver details

  • Name of organiser
  • Mobile
  • Contact person while away
  • Telephone number

Other information

  • special notes (eg clothing or food required)
  • any cost
  • child's name
  • parent signature
  • adult coming yes/no

Te Whāriki

Going on visits and having visitors' supports learning across all the strands of Te Whāriki.

Visits and outings take children out of the ECE service space and into the world beyond. In particular, the Contribution strand supports children’s learning with other children.

The Belonging and Well-being strands encourage children to develop comfort with a moderate degree of change. Visits and outings might support learning about culture (Communication strand) or learning about the natural world (Exploration Strand).

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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