Tagged with:

  • Physical activity
  • Movement concepts and motor skills
  • Hauora
  • Years 1–4
  • Years 5–8

Play hipitoitoi!

Exploring te ao kori — Activity collections

This resource is part of a series within the Exploring te ao kori activity collections called Tākaro ā-ringa | Hand games.

Read background information View all Tākaro ā-ringa | Hand games activities View te ao kori collections
Small children singing and doing actions.

Intended outcomes


  • play hipitoitoi and identify what made the experience enjoyable 
  • express their own feelings effectively and listen to those of other people while working with others on tākaro a-ringa.

Suggested approach

This game is played with the thumbs held in four different positions while the fists are clenched and the hands are close together in front of the body.


  • Both thumbs down.
  • Both thumbs upright.
  • Right thumb upright and left thumb down.
  • Left thumb upright and right thumb down.


  • The defender always begins the game by calling "E hipitoitoi!" while placing their hands in one of the four positions discussed above.
  • The challenger replies with "Hipitoitoi" and does a different action to the defender.
  • This will go on until one player is caught doing the same action as the other player, then the latter scores a point, calling "Hipitoitoi rā!"
  • The winner of the point then restarts the set, and they play again.
  • Each time a player scores a point, they restart the set by saying the number of points they now have followed by "E hipitoitoi!". For example, "Tahi. E hipitoitoi!", "Rua. E hipitoitoi!"
  • The game continues until one player scores ten points, which completes the set.

Two young people demonstrating how to play hipitoitoi

Two young people demonstrating how to play hipitoitoi


A girl and a boy sit facing each other with their hands in front of them and their thumbs up. They are leaning forward and looking into each others’ eyes. The boy says “Hipitoitoi” and they choose a position almost simultaneously. The game is quick. The boys says “Hipitoitoi”, and they choose positions, 23 times in the following 20 seconds. The boy laughs and says “ow!” when he loses.