SPARKLERS / Kindness & friendship

Can’t Do it Without You

A trust game without any risk! This activity is designed to help tamariki work together on a shared goal
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki work collaboratively to achieve a task and understand the importance of working with others.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

We hear students love this! The easiest way to connect people and form a supportive group is to give them a shared goal (rather than individual or competitive goals). This game is brilliant in its simplicity. It’s a trust game — but there’s no physical risk involved — and the goal cannot be accomplished without teamwork and focus.


Let tamariki know this game is all about working together.

Explain, all they need to do is pick something up! Ask them to pick up something near them and see how easy that was! Check in – pretty simple right?

BUT to do this activity they’ll need to pick something up in a pair, but using ONLY ONE INDEX FINGER each! You may need to show them which finger this is, and they can use either hand, but not both.

Hei mahi - What to do

Ask tamariki to work in pairs.

Offer each pair an inflated balloon or screwed up piece of paper and ask them to pick it up. – with 2 tamariki this might be tricky, but doable. If some are finding this tricky, offer your own index finger to help out.

Ask them how easy this was?

What did it take to pick it up?

What’s it like relying on another person to complete such a simple task?

Keep trying objects with the aim to bring the class together to pick something up - keep adding tamariki and their handy index fingers to complete tasks.

Try picking up:

  • A pen
  • A glue-stick
  • A pencil sharpener
  • An eraser
  • A ball
  • A ruler
  • A thick book
  • An apple
  • A cushion
  • A tin can
  • Something breakable! A musical instrument (guitar!), a cup or vase… we double dare you – after lots of practice! This is a great goal you can let tamariki know you’re working towards, and then when the big day comes, make a big deal about it! Oh, and send us some photos (we'd love to see too!)

If it’s a nice day and you feel tamariki need to be with nature, this activity is a great way to get them outside, without injecting too much energy!

We recommend trying 3-4 new objects each time you play.

For older tamariki you can discuss trust much more in-depth:

  • How do we know we can trust someone?
  • What can we do if we want to gain someone’s trust?
  • What other things can we do in this classroom or school to help build a culture of trust? You could also link this to your school values and offer some new school policies or ideas…

What next?

Have teams try passing an object to another team… and back!

Run a non-competitive (one team only) relay.

This is a great platform to begin other Trust games including:

Trust games are also a great starting point for any of the kindness and friendship activities.

Sparklers at Home

This activity is also great for home use - it can really help focus families to work towards a small and fun goal together. It's especially good where there may be some sibling conflict.

If you don't want whānau to miss out on this kind of fun, simply copy and paste the following 'blurb' into an email or your home-learning programme as an introduction.

In the classroom we've been practising a fun game called 'Can't Do It Without You.' We're noticing that the children really enjoy this game and it encourages their team-work and shared goals in a fun way.

Sparklers at Home has the same activity, Can't Do It Without You, we've been trying in the classroom, as an activity ready for home use. It would be great if you could give this a try with your child and family - we promise lots of laughter! Your children will also be familiar with this game, so it will be exciting for them to take you through it.

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