SPARKLERS / Resilience & growth


A quick game that promotes cooperation, patience and trust.
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki work co-operatively with others to achieve a goal.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

This game requires tamariki to work together to ‘solve’ the puzzle, providing opportunities for the group to cooperate and build trust.

This game could also help boost their ability to concentrate. This is because when we move about, even a little bit, we increase the flow of blood carrying oxygen and glucose to our brains—especially when combined with a task that requires us to focus.

Tikanga tips

In this game, children will need to step over each others' arms and this may not be okay for some tamariki. We recommend checking in with your students to see how they feel about this before going ahead.

We'd also suggest talking to children about the importance of the head, which is tapu. Some tamariki may need to give permission for their heads to be touched as a part of this game.

Hei mahi - What to do

Split tamariki into groups, with 5-6 players per ‘team’, then:

  • Have teams stand in a tight circle, outstretch their arms in front of them, crossed over (like an X).
  • Ask players to move closer into the circle and take hold of other people’s outstretched hands (2 hands belonging to 2 different people!).
  • You may need to tell groups to take their time and talk to each other (to avoid people yanking each others arms!).
  • The group must then work together to get themselves untangled, so they are standing in a circle, hand-in-hand next to each other – they may be facing the other way and that’s okay.
  • It should be possible for the group to untangle themselves and it’s great for them to achieve this.
  • However, on occasions where the game goes too long, or you see potential for conflict, we’d recommend ending it early, when everyone is engaged and still having fun.

Extension ideas

Split the group into larger teams or do it together, to form one large circle.

Afterwards, ask tamariki about the ‘role’ they took on during the activity. How did they help the group? Did they lead the way or allow someone else to lead and do a good job of following instructions? Did they begin working with those in close proximity? Did others listen to their ideas? Was their role successful?

Any feedback given should be positive, e.g: "That’s a great learning about yourself!” Or: “That’s a great observation of how the team worked together this time around.”

Let them know they might like to try a new ‘role’ the next time you play. You may like to link this to the Growth Mindset curriculum.

What next?

Try some of our activities which focus on tamariki working together to achieve a single goal. We love Loop-de-Loop, Can't Do It Without You, Up and Down and Listen to the Rain.

Ka pai to Karl Rohnke

This game is from the book Silver Bullets by Karl Rohnke. Silver Bullets is filled with adventure based games and trust activities. If you’re working with older tamariki, this is a great resource for new ideas on play-based learning, encouraging loads of benefits such as team work, building self confidence and taking the initiative.

Looking after you

Foster the hauora of your kaiako and team

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