SPARKLERS / Gratitude

Sneaky Thank You Cards

A fun way to foster kindness, gratitude and the joy of giving.
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki understand the importance of kindness and gratitude as a way to strengthen our connections with others.

Tāngia ēnei tohutohu – Print me (optional)

We have two beautiful cards tamariki can colour-in and use for this activity. Or they might prefer to create their own!

If you'd like to provide a printed option, here they are – illustrated by the very talented Suzi & Binx:

Print card 1: You are cooler than pirates and ninjas combined.

Print card 2: If I could bottle your greatness I'd make millions.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

Kindness and gratitude are linked to overall happiness and just like sharing or turn-taking, they’re social skills we need to learn and practice.

These cards will help tamariki to think about and express what they’re grateful for, and the surprise element makes the exercise more novel, unique and fun!

The idea of hiding the ‘thank you’ in this activity does two things – it makes it a little more fun and it makes the child’s gratitude intrinsic. They don’t need to see the person’s reaction to enjoy doing it.


To get students thinking, discuss or ask them to note down:

  • Someone who makes you happy or takes care of you.
  • One of the best things this person does for you?
  • One more way they show they care.
  • One of your favourite things you do with them.
  • How they make you feel.
  • Ask if anyone’s heard of gratitude or has any idea what it means. (Noticing the good things in our lives; feeling happy about them, saying thanks!!)

Hei mahi - What to do

Explain that letting people know how much they mean to us makes them (and us) feel really good. And that today you’re going to be making thank you cards for these special people… but rather than just hand the card to the person the idea is to think of somewhere fun you could hide it, as a sneaky surprise!

Then give the group some quiet time to colour in one of our printed cards (above), or to make their own. Encourage them to write one of the ideas you discussed/noted inside the card.

Discuss some sneaky delivery ideas (on their pillow, in your clean lunchbox, on the seat of their car).

Regroup in the next few days (the sooner the better) to let them report what they did, how the person responded and how they felt making/giving the card.

Most tamariki will have really positive experiences. If anyone is disappointed, talk about how timing can make a big difference. Commend their actions and encourage them to try again, another time with someone new.

Share the love

Nothing is more rewarding for us than hearing about Sparklers in action! We'd absolutely love to see some images of your Sneaky Thank You Cards, or hear from a student who gave this a whirl. We'd love to hear from you, anytime: [email protected]

What next?

Repeat the exercise – encouraging students to choose someone they wouldn’t usually give a card to (i.e a babysitter, office lady, sports coach, granddad etc).

Share more praise, thanks and compliments using Compliment Tikete in your classroom. They're simple to use and great for short bursts to support positive behaviours and kindness.

Have fun and give back with our class Bunches of aroha activity.

Looking after you

Foster the hauora of your kaiako and team

Learn more