Engaging in play, creativity, learning and fun in outdoor classroom

| By Ngāti Toa School

What’s our project plan and why?…

Developing building skills with a purpose.

Our project was to make a mud kitchen for people to play with sand and water without going inside (to get water) or having to pay for it (the water). We are also planning to put in a rainwater catching tank (free water) as part of this project.
Mud is fun!
It’s better to play outside!

This is the area where the mud kitchen will be located because …

It is next to the sandpit so we can mix the water and sand. It is close to where the rainwater tank will be. Dan (Nate & Joel’s Dad) and Whaea Bronwyn said it is the flattest part so it will be good there. Matua Dan has helped us to make a start on our mud kitchen. We have repurposed two old kitchen sinks. We are now thinking about some tikanga for our mud kitchen.



The mud kitchen takes shape.

Why we want to install a Rainwater catching tank?…

  • To collect the rain for our mud kitchen.
  • Everyone can use water without going inside.
  • The little kids use the water fountain (water we pay for).
  • We don’t have to pay for the free rain from Ranginui.
  • So we can water our plants.
  • I’m thinking of catching some rainwater at home (Victor)
  • It’s more sustainable.
  • We will need a plumber to help us.
  • Our uncle is a plumber (Grayson & Naera). Maybe he can help us?


We will buy the rain tank from Porirua City Council (Like Amanda’s one at her house – we have looked at photos of it). We will buy more watering cans for transporting water over to the mud kitchen and for watering our gardens.

Yes, we can harvest water from our school roof.

We have been planting our Sandpit area ….Why?…

  • So the water flows into the plants.
  • To make the school environment nicer.
  • Fun to play in and around them.
  • It’s fun to plant!
  • It’s cool to see some of our new plants have started flowering because it is spring.

Where have the plants come from?

Our native plants are from Te Rito Gardens, a local nursery growing eco-sourced plants, who support our Porirua Enviroschools with our Living Landscapes projects.

What sort of plants are they?

Native plants, including rengarenga, mikoikoi, koromiko, taupata, harakeke.


Getting help with some of the planting.

Wonderful whānau helpers survey the fantastic results of planting below the sandpit.







Who has been helping us with our planting?

Our whānau – parents Fiona and Rebekah and Grandma Rachel have helped us and Stacey our school Wellbeing specialist (Awhi Mai, Awhi Atu counselling).

“The value of taiao connection spaces is huge for our tamariki. These days there are so many influences interrupting our connection with the natural world and so we have to consciously create spaces that invite that connection back into the everyday lives of our tamariki. Bringing the element of water into a play space will appeal to many. Having the rainwater tank as a water source is not only a great sustainable choice it can provide so much learning in terms of the water cycle and beyond. I absolutely loved seeing all the children engaged in the beginning stage of building the mud kitchen. They are excited to play, create, feel and learn in this new space. We are grateful for the funding to help make the vision of the tamariki come to life.” – Fiona, parent, BoT.

The draft vision put together in 2021 and now enacted!

One of our art works by some of our Enviro Leaders in 2021.








Thank you Enviroschools and School Fun Run for helping us with our Outdoor Classroom project! Ngā mihi maioha nā,

Enviro project leaders: Nate, Victor, Joel, Charlotte, Grayson, Mason & Naera – Ngāti Toa School