Activity Introduction

succulent4-heroQuick summary: This lesson gives students an opportunity to connect with their five senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. Students participate in a sequence of 5 minute activities which helps them to focus their attention and be fully present in the moment.   

Activity developed in partnership with the    GWF logo

Following this lesson is an ideal way for students to participate in Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day – the largest nature-care event in Australian schools. So, get growing! It only takes a minute to register for Schools Tree Day.

Learning goals:

  • To build sensory awareness and amplify sensory connections in the present moment.
  • To encourage curiosity, attentiveness and delight in being present in the fullness of each moment.
  • To create enhanced focus and improved concentration.
  • To develop self-knowledge, empathy, emotional regulation and resilience.
  • To cultivate present moment awareness so that calm, considered and conscious choices can begin to replace impulsive, unconscious reactions.

General capabilities: Personal and Social Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Australian Curriculum content description: These activities can be used with all subject areas to enable deep focus and engagement within students; however, the following curriculum links directly relate to these activities.

Foundation Health and Physical Education

  • Identify and describe emotional responses people may experience in different situations (ACPPS005)
  • Identify actions that promote health, safety and wellbeing (ACPPS006)

Year 1 & 2 Health and Physical Education

  • Identify and practise emotional responses that account for own and others’ feelings (ACPPS020)
  • Explore actions that help make the classroom a healthy, safe and active place (ACPPS022)

Year 3 & 4 Health and Physical Education

  • Explore strategies to manage physical, social and emotional change (ACPPS034) 
  • Identify and practise strategies to promote health, safety and well being (ACPPS036)

Year 5 & 6 Health and Physical Education

  • Plan and practise strategies to promote health, safety and well being (ACPPS054)
  • Examine the influence of emotional responses on behaviour and relationships (ACPPS056)
  • Investigate the role of preventive health in promoting and maintaining health, safety and wellbeing for individuals and their communities (ACPPS058)
  • Explore how participation in outdoor activities supports personal and community health and wellbeing and creates connections to the natural and built environment (ACPPS059)

Syllabus OutcomesCOS1.1, INS1.3, IRS1.11, SLS1.13, GDS2.9, PHS2.12, SLS2.13, PHS3.12, SLS3.13, COS3.1, INS3.3, IRS3.11, SLS3.13, ALS3.6.

Topic: Nature of Mindfulness.

Time required: 5 minutes for each activity – these activities have been designed to ‘punctuate’ the day. You can use them before class, during class or at the end of class.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in mindfulness activities.

Resources required: 
Activity 1: A range of local natural specimens, such as easily found pieces from the garden or school grounds: herbs, vegetables, leaves, sticks, bark from trees/shrubs, seed pods, long stemmed grasses, etc. Place these items on platters or trays.  Additional optional resource: audio recording: The Nature of Mindfulness: The sense of touch.
Activity 2: Hula hoops (one for approximately five students) and one wooden popsicle stick per child.
Activity 3: A range of simple instruments from the school to provide basic sounds, such as recorders, drums, rainsticks, beat sticks, etc.
Activity 4: A range of fresh and dried specimens from nature with a scent, such as flowers, herbs, leaves and dried spices. A range of man-made liquids, such as vanilla extract, hand wash, soap, shoe polish, etc.  Wipe these onto cotton balls. Place these items on platters or trays.
Activity 5: Select a range of food, including salty, sweet, sour and bitter tasting foods. Man-made options include potato/corn chips, bread, biscuits and lollies (depending on allergy conditions of children).  Also source a range of natural food, including fruits and vegetables such as apples, plums, strawberries, pineapple, lemon, tomatoes, cucumbers and celery, as well as fresh herbs such as mint, parsley and coriander. If possible, try and locate some Indigenous bush tucker fruit for the students to try! Place these items on platters or trays.

Keywords: mindfulness, nature, focus, concentration, attention, well being, health, happiness, resilience, senses, touch, see, hear, smell, taste, Artology.

The curriculum writer: Janet Etty-Leal is a highly experienced educator who designs mindfulness programs within schools. Find out more about Janet here and check out her website.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

succulent3-heroTeacher Preparation

Overarching learning goals:

The aim of these 5 minute activities is to amplify sensory connection in the present moment for students. Teachers are provided with tools to support children to be curious, attentive and delighted in being present in the fullness of each moment.

Teacher’s background information:

Video: Mindfulness in Schools: Richard Burnett (

The benefits of mindfulness

We are a culture increasingly becoming addicted to instant communication and ever-changing technologies. While technologies such as mobile phones bring wonderful opportunities, children are spending more and more time being passively engaged in these technologies rather than actively engaging in the world around them. This includes the natural world and our environment. There is growing concern about the lack of time young people spend in nature and the consequences of this disconnect.

The practices of mindfulness and meditation offer people of all a

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