SPARKLERS / Strengths

Strengths Story

A funny game for helping tamariki understand and feel good about their strengths
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki understand and feel good about their strengths.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

Once tamariki have completed Discover Your Strengths (using the VIA Strengths Finder), it’s a great idea to follow-up with something fun that boosts tamariki understanding, and reinforces their positive feelings about the results.

Some tamariki will feel proud of their strengths, while others might feel confused or be struggling to accept them. This activity is hugely funny (as we know, laughing creates feel-good endorphins) and it’s a simple way for tamariki to begin to understand and ‘own’ their strengths.


To play this game, tamariki must have first completed the VIA Strengths Finder and know their top 2-3 strengths. This activity is designed for Year 7 and 8 students only, as tamariki need to be 10 years or older to take the strengths survey.

Ask tamariki to choose one of their top-3 strengths and join with others who also share this strength. It’s important that every strength is represented, so check against the Discover Your Strengths, Strengths Cards to ensure you’ve got it covered. This could also provide you with ideas for the sounds and actions.

If you’re missing any strengths, find a student who had it in their top-5 or 10 and ask them to cover it (perhaps making a fuss of the fact that they’re bringing an important strength to the class). It’s perfectly okay to have one person represent a strength (although we’d suggest having at least 2-3 for Hope, Prudence and Honesty which feature rather a lot in this story!).

Next step - each strength must create a sound and action. This should be a relatively quick process. E.g. Zest could be the sound and action of a firework.

Let tamariki know that they will need to know the sound and action for their top three strengths, then go around each group, asking them to reveal their sound / action. Let them repeat it a couple of times, with others who have that top-3 strength joining in.

Let tamariki know you’re going to read a story and each time they hear their personal strengths mentioned, they’ll need to make the sound and action that has been created for this strength.

This should be both fun and funny!

Hei mahi - What to do

Check that they’re ready and listening hard to make their sound and action each time they hear their strength mentioned in this story.


This is going to take a lot of bravery. We’ve got to decide if we’re up for the challenge! We need people who can show leadership, good judgment, a lot of kindness, a little bit of hope and also a good deal of humour!

You ready? (Hopefully tamariki respond enthusiastically!)

The Strength Story (continue reading aloud!)

Once upon a time there were three little pigs, Prudence, Hope and Honesty.

Together, they decided to move town in search of their dream jobs… roles with lots of creativity. They were extremely creative pigs. Not that they bragged about it. They valued honesty but they were also mindful of showing humility and keeping things in perspective.

But, one of those little pigs was full of hope and wished to find love!

So Prudence, Hope and Honesty packed all their piggy things and moved from the country to the great city of Christchurch. The move took a lot of perseverance, they had a lot of piggy things and it took a good deal of teamwork just to get their suitcases shut!

On the bus, Prudence pointed to a what looked like a Big Bad Wolf and warned Hope and Honesty to keep their wits about them, have good judgment and be prudent! Prudence’s motto was Think Before you Act!

Hope had good judgment and never leapt to conclusions. She thought Prudence was being a bit hasty with her view of the Wolf. Hope always saw the positive side of a situation and believed it was important to demonstrate fairness and kindness.

She was curious about the Wolf and so, filled with zest, Hope took off to ask some possibly quite contentious questions of the wolf hoping for an honest answer

Prudence was shocked! “When is that pig ever going to learn some self regulation and social intelligence?” she exclaimed to Honesty.

Honesty didn’t have a clue what Prudence was talking about. But Honesty did have a keen love of learning, so asked the obvious question – what is social intelligence?

Prudence whipped out her laptop – she was curious too and had to concede she’d been hasty in her judgment, because she found that those with social intelligence skills are good at gauging different situations and people (or in this case animals).

Hope in fact had high levels of social intelligence, damn it!

Prudence and Honesty looked over at Hope. She was chatting happily away with the wolf. In fact it would seem Wolf had high levels of social intelligence too!

Honesty looked at Prudence. “You might have to ask Hope for forgiveness Prudence. You were quite hasty with your judgment.

“You’re right,” said Prudence. “But let’s keep perspective, Hope only met that wolf 5 minutes ago. He could still be fond of bacon…”

Honesty did feel Prudence was right, and felt some gratitude for Prudence being so prudent. Prudent would help keep them all safe.

Staring out the window and nearing closer to Christchurch, Honesty could appreciate the beauty of the approaching hills. She was falling in love with the idea of the closeness of neighbours, and dreamed of their friendliness and hopefully kindness – a welcoming cake would be so appreciated!

She looked over at Hope, and her new friend Wolf. There was little doubt that Wolf was going to become a friend to them all. Honesty smiled. One of Hope’s top strengths was Love so Hope was a pro at at making and holding onto friends.

Prudence nudged her. “What you thinking about? Looks like some sort of spiritual experience from where I’m sitting,” she teased.

Honesty laughed. It actually was a spiritual experience, Honesty was appreciating the beauty in this simple moment and savouring it like a delicious pie.

She turned to Prudence. “I was just thinking that it takes a lot of bravery and strength to take these big steps. Lucky we’ve got them all covered!” And with that she couldn’t help but let out a huge OINK!

What next?

We challenge you to:

  • Take this story (or your own version) to present at assembly, explaining strengths and why it’s so great to know and understand your own.
  • Create your own Strengths Story – we think The Three Bears might be fun!
  • Create a strengths song – written to the tune of a current favourite.

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