SPARKLERS / Ready for learning

Listen to the Rain

This is a great calm down activity and so simple to play
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki take part in creating a sound-scape and gain awareness of how tuning in can help us relax.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

This activity combines important skills such as working as a group, applying concentration and one of the top five wellbeing techniques of ‘taking notice’.

Encouraging tamariki to take notice of even little things like the sounds around you, means they get to reflect on ‘experiences’ – even just the experience of being still. This in turn, is the beginning of mindfulness techniques – stopping – calming – resting – noticing.


Explain that this is an activity where the group will create a sound-scape. Often sound-scapes are used on stage – think about how movies ‘set the scene’. The light changes and music or ‘sound’ often begins before an actor appears, or when something scary or exciting is about to happen. Lots can be determined just through the sound-scape.

Ask tamarki to think about the sounds of something that from the noise alone will determine what’s going on or whereabouts you are e.g.: The creak of a door or waves crashing.

Note sound-scapes don’t give us all the answers about a scene, but they give us really big clues especially in terms of location.

Let tamariki know too that there are sounds we can tune into that can help us relax – ask them what these sounds are for them.

Next, let them know they’re going to try and create a sound-scape using only their bodies and the floor. The soundscape they’re creating first will be the sound of the rain, and perhaps a rainstorm – what they hear when they’re safe inside and listening to all the sounds the weather is making.

Let tamariki know this relies on them not talking and creating the sound in other ways. The rainstorm soundscape will be created by the whole group.

Hei mahi - What to do

Ask tamariki to create a circle, sitting on the ground. Some tamariki may need to find a spot where they can sit and feel comfortable outside of the circle. But for the best impact the circle will work best.

If they need help to relax, you might ask them to breathe in slowly, to the count of four, deep down into their tummies, and out again. Do this several times.

Practice some of the sounds together, first as a group:

  • Tap one finger on your palm to create soft rain drops
  • Swipe palms together to create wind
  • Tap all 4 fingers on the palm of your hand for heavier rain or lightly click fingers.
  • Clapping will create louder rain or thunder
  • Slapping the backs of your thighs on the ground, or using your heels will create a louder thunder sound.

Let them know this is the crescendo, and they’ll need to peel the sounds back again to just the rain drops. Do this with them as a group asking them to follow your lead.

Then say you’re going to create a sound wave, with one person leading the way, and everyone following on from the person to their right. Once it reaches the leader again, they’ll change to a different sound.

Let tamariki know to concentrate on the person to their left rather than the leader. They create the sound after the person on their left does.

The leader should build the storm slowly – doing two rounds of quieter sounds (e.g. tapping, clicking, etc) before moving onto the louder noises (thunder). They will end by reversing the process, and taking the rainstorm back to silence.

Once the group have run through this, check what they noticed:

  • How are they feeling now the storm is over?
  • Did they feel they created a rainstorm sound scape?
  • What other noises could they use to make it more realistic? E.g. Standing and stomping feet, drumming on the floor. If you want to energise the group, you could ask tamariki to stand, and run on the spot lightly (used in Taiaha to represent the rain, with ti patapata - ‘raising of the dust and forming the rain’).

What next?

Give the group five minutes to come up with a new soundscape. You could try:

  • The beach
  • The wind through the trees – possibly including this whakatauki : Hokia ki ngā maunga kia purea e ngā hau a Tawhirimatea (return to your mountain and be cleansed by the winds of Tawhirimatea).
  • A mall
  • A sand storm
  • A horse stampede (include chest beats)

Enjoy your pick of learning these traditional dance movements or use any that you and your tamariki already know e.g. a school kapa haka:

Try creating a soundscape you can incorporate into your next school play, or orchestrate a soundscape at your next assembly using the whole school!

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