Manu of a feather
Not everyone likes to be still for mindfulness activities, so this mindful activity is all about movement, but with and alongside the group - think 'flocking' of manu, slow mo styles!
Firstly, the science...
We don’t need to tell you the benefits of mindfulness, but we will share some of our favourites for just one short paragraph! Mindfulness is a technique that involves paying attention to the present moment and has become increasingly popular as a calming way to improve wellbeing. Research has shown that mindfulness can have many benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood, and enhancing cognitive functioning. And that mindfulness can improve focus and attention for tamariki. So in short, mindfulness is awesome!
Why this activity?
indfulness doesn’t mean we need to be still, nor be all about deep breathing, which can sometimes be hard for tamariki (and some adults!). So this activity combines slow movement and tamariki honing in on their peers to work together cohesively. This is a slow-mo mindful kanikani!
Access to music, speakers and your amazing tamariki
What to do
First up a bit of practice. Ask tamariki to stand in a circle or group together, and kōrero about how they might move together, with the same movement, matching movement… kind of like a flock of manu, as they fly. There’s one leader, but it changes and they follow each other in unison - no manu is left behind because they watch each other so closely and align their movements with one another.
The way they do this is by careful observation, and together this can be achieved by doing the same movement, but in slow motion.
Ask them to copy your movements - wave your hand in slow motion, now take a step forward in slow motion, but rather than the group looking to copy you (falling behind) they try to attempt to move at the same time and at the same speed, sometimes pre-empting what you might do (while keeping the slow-mo speed)!
Now ask them to try as a group - kōrero about what helps them stay together? Now see if they can manage with no kōrero and for this to occur silently… mission on! Work it so that the leadership moves around the circle, with everyone having a turn so they all get a chance to lead this, but they’ll need to lead so slowly it’s barely noticeable.
This may be enough for one day, but the next step is to add music and see what that adds for the group. Your tamariki could even choose the tune!
Start in a circle, but see where their movements take them.
We found this on Spotify from the NZ Symphony Orchestra and thought Suite for Viola and Small Orchestra would work well (number 3 on the playlist).
Take a quick video and show whānau what you’re up to - ask tamariki to add to this by describing their learning about mindfulness and how they felt. You could even ask whānau to share their favourite mindfulness technique, teaching their tamariki over the week - even breathing slowly together at bedtime would be amazing!
We'd like to say ngā mihi nui
To Mindfulness in Schools Ōtautahi for this awesome idea and trialling this for us.