Poutoti Stilts

Tagged with:

  • Physical activity
  • Movement concepts and motor skills
  • Hauora
  • Years 1–4
  • Years 5–8
  • Years 9–10

Try walking on poutoti (stilts).

Exploring te ao kori — Activity collections

This resource is part of a series within the Exploring te ao kori activity collections called Ngā mahi a te rēhia | Games and pastimes.

Read background information View Ngā mahi a te rēhia | Games and pastimes activities View te ao kori collections
Two girls standing together and smiling.

Intended outcomes


  • access and use information to make safe choices when undertaking poutoti (stilts) activities
  • demonstrate consistency and control in poutoti activities.

Suggested approach

Ākonga make poutoti from wood and identify possible dangers when using poutoti by themselves and with others. They identify ways they can avoid hurting themselves in the case of a fall forwards, backwards or sideways.

Ākonga are given opportunities to develop safe landing skills by practicing with gym equipment, playground equipment, and using the poutoti. Ākonga should be able to land reasonably safely in any direction when using the poutoti.

Ākonga work in pairs with one pair of poutoti. One person mounts the poutoti with the aid of the partner who is holding the poutoti from behind and attempts to walk with hands-on support from the partner, until they can walk unaided. Ākonga can challenge their partner to see if they can walk 10 metres unaided.

Kaiako can discuss with ākonga other suitable stilt activities, such as creating a stilt sequence to music, and the safety issues involved.

Ākonga reflect and discuss in their pairs what they found easy, difficult, scary, how their partner helped them and how this felt, and the concept of trust in this activity.

Complete the activity with a class challenge; either a relay or a game involving the use of the poutoti.

Ākonga look at photos of other cultures that use stilts as part of their dance tradition. For example, the African tribes of the Ivory Coast use stilts up to two metres high and cut from the banana tree because of its strength, lightness, and flexibility. The stilt walkers wear long trousers to cover their stilts, and they perform dances to the beat of small drums and shake rattles. Rapid steps, crossing of legs, leaps, and pirouettes are carried out to the point of overbalancing.

The symbolism of stilt dancing is humankind overcoming earthly obstacles.

A young man demonstrating how to walk on poutoti

A young man demonstrating how to walk on poutoti


This video does not have any spoken or audio content.

It depicts a man with a pair of poutoti (stilts). The poutoti are posts that are approximately 2.3 metres long. A wedge of wood is attached to each post approximately 300mm from the bottom. He holds a poutoti in each hand with the wedges at the bottom ends of the poutoti. He slides his arms in front of the poutoti so that the tops of the posts sit behind his shoulders. Holding the poutoti at a slight angle to the ground he steps forward and puts one foot and then the other onto each wedge. He takes small constant steps. He moves forward with widening steps, then turns around in a circle. He leans forward and steps down off the stilts.