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Emotional kanikani

A fun wellbeing boost which supports tamariki emotional literacy and kanikani moves!

Firstly, the science...

There’s a few things contributing to our oranga boost in this activity - let’s visit them:


Kanikani - 

Kanikani is a great way to get our heart rate up and our blood pumping, which can support us to feel energised. Kanikani is also a fantastic way to express ourselves and our creativity, either individually or connecting with others. 


Emotional  literacy

When we’re emotionally literate, we can better manage our emotions, cope with stress, and communicate our needs to others. This helps us build stronger relationships, both at home and at school. Plus, being emotionally literate can help us feel more confident and empowered, because we trust our own feelings and make choices based on this and what’s right for us. 


Laughing - 

When we laugh, our body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which boosts our mood and make us feel happy. Laughing can also reduce stress and tension, and help us feel more relaxed and calm. Plus, laughing with others can help us build stronger relationships and make us feel more connected to those around us.


So in a nutshell, 3 things that support our oranga and also focus on us feeling connected. Cool, hey?

Why this activity?

You might choose this activity when tamariki are feeling a little hōhā and need a lift. The after kai, afternoon slump, might be the best time, or Paraire, any time! It could also work for your ākonga first thing in the morning!

You'll need

What to do

So easy!

Turn the speakers up and play your favourite waiata

Ask tamariki to kanikani Then ask them to kanikani like they’re feeling whatever emotion you ‘offer’ - you might use the emotion bubbles as prompts. Or you could ask ākonga to shout out emotions they’re feeling that morning/afternoon and you can kanikani them ‘out’!


You can fit a few emotions into one waiata or choose waiata that reflect the different emotions and kanikani the whole tune!


We recommend following the activity with a kōrero about how it felt. We love when tamariki have the chance to notice that their movements can impact on their mood or energy, and that their mood or energy can also impact on their movements! 

But if there's not time for kōrero, finish on the emotion you need for the next activity (calm, energised, peaceful, curious!) and move onto it reminding tamariki that you offered that final emotion for good reason!

To further this activity try changing the music to be fast/slow/angry/smooth and to see how tamariki change the movements - afterwards kōrero and reflect on how the type of music being played can also effect our emotions.

Kaiako card

To make things easier, print the Kaiako Card for this activity.

Whānau engagement

It might be really cool to video some of this kanikani and make it available via your online platforms for whānau or via social media. We've written the below text to add if you like and save you time. 

Today we're dancing out emotions, which is fun and supports tamariki emotional literacy. The more emotions they know and recognise, the better they are to manage them. So there's lots of good reasons for us having this much fun!

And to add to this...

Another fantastic activity that can help build emotional literacy in your tamariki is Noticing our feelings

Curriculum links

Health and PE Curriculum 

  • Personal Health and physical development: A1 - Personal growth and development

  • Personal Health and physical development: A2 - Regular physical activity

  • Movement concepts and motor skills: B1 - Movement skills

  • Relationships with other people: C1 - Relationships

  • Relationships with other people: C2 - Identity, sensitivity and respect

  • Relationships with other people: C3 - Interpersonal skills

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