SPARKLERS / Mindfulness

Birdsong mindfulness

DoC recordings of native birdsong all prepped for mindfulness, imaginative writing, tummy breathing time - you choose.
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki take part in a mindfulness activity and reflect on how tuning into nature can help us feel good.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

Countless research reveals the positive effect nature has on our wellbeing – our tinana, hinengaro and wairua especially. This activity invites tamariki to think about and explore the benefits, in an easy and tangible way.

Class kōrero

To set the scene, start with a class kōrero exploring how tamariki feel when they are in nature, asking:

  • What are some of your favourite outdoor places nearby?
  • What sorts of things can we hear when we are outdoors, in nature?
  • What are some of the things we might see?
  • How does the warm sun or gentle wind feel on your skin?
  • How do we feel when we are outside, somewhere beautiful?
  • How do we feel afterwards?

Countless research reveals the positive effect nature has on our wellbeing - our tinana, hinengaro and wairua especially. A few benefits include:

  • What we see, hear and experience can change our mood.
  • Being out in nature not only makes us feel better emotionally, it contributes to our physical wellbeing.
  • Being in nature reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones.

What’s extra amazing is that we don’t even have to be in nature to experience the benefits. This study showed that having pot plants in a workplace or even just being able to see a beautiful image or view reduces stress. Pretty cool eh?

Hei mahi - What to do

We’ve been working with the Department of Conservation who have given us access to some amazing bird-song. We've added to these some subtle design and movement, creating the below clips to help tamariki listen, focus and relax.

There are many ways you can use these recordings, here are a few options:

Ask tamariki to just be still and listen to the recording. You may choose to do this individually, over zoom or as a class.

  • You might use tummy breathing while they listen
  • You might kōrero about what it reminds them of - where, when, what time of day, what can they smell, who are they with?
  • Can you feel a poem or piece of writing coming - us too!
  • You might also like to research the bird… why is this so memorable for us? What if it’s new - what are your thoughts - how big is this bird? Does it fly? What does it eat? Where would I go to see it?

What next?

Take this activity outside! Head outdoors as a group, so you can watch and listen to manu in their natural environment. Tamariki might like to note some of the birds they see, choosing one to draw or write a poem about.

You might also like to explore some manu waiata. We love Fatcat and Fishface and their Birdbrain album and Mr Roberelli's Where's the Piwakawaka.

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