Despite kids having access to loads of apps and digital games, they still seem to love stickers. Stickers are fun, versatile and tactile. They are also portable so you can take them anywhere, making them easy to whip out to do a quick activity or have a conversation on the fly.
Another great advantage of using stickers is that they are replaceable so you can give them to people as take-home reminders of your conversation. They can stick them on the fridge, on a mirror, on their laptop, in a journal or they can stick them on themselves!
So how can we draw on the enthusiasm and enjoyment children have for sticker-based activities to have conversations about their strengths? Here are a few suggestions for creative and fun ways to use the Strengths Cards and Strengths Cards for Kids stickers in a classroom, group or in one-on-one conversations with children.
- Naming strengths
Often, we find it easy to see other people’s strengths and personal qualities but we find it difficult to name our own.
In this fun and fast activity (no time for overthinking here!) ask children to get into pairs, set a timer and give each child 3-5 minutes to choose as many of their personal strengths as possible using the Strengths Cards and Strengths Cards for Kids stickers. Once they have chosen a strength, they say it out loud to their partner (telling someone what your strengths are can be powerful) and then they stick the sticker on themselves.
Want to make it a bit more challenging? Ask children to describe to their partner how they have used a few of their strengths.
If you are working one-on-one with a child, they can simply stick the stickers on themselves and tell you how they have used those strengths.
- Combining strengths—create a strengths tree
This is a great activity for building a positive classroom or group culture. Using a large piece of paper with a tree trunk and bare branches drawn on it, ask all the children to choose 2-3 strengths stickers each, representing their personal strengths. Stick them on the tree as leaves. Then invite them to choose 3 strengths they have noticed in their classmates and stick those on the trunk.
Invite the children to notice how many strengths you have together as a group. Talk about how much you can do when you work together and use everyone’s combined strengths. You can also talk with the children about the fact that you can share your strengths with others or borrow strengths from those around you when you need help.
If you are working with individual children, use a smaller template (A3 or A4 work well) and ask them to add their strengths, plus the strengths of all the people they care about, to the tree trunk and branches. This has the added bonus of encouraging them to really think about the strengths and qualities of the people around them, which can help to build hope and a sense of security.
- Identifying strengths in others
In pairs (or a small group), children choose 2-3 strengths they see in the other person or people. Each child takes a turn to stick those stickers on the other person and say how they have seen the person use those strengths.
For example, a child may choose the, ‘I am a good friend’ sticker’ to stick on their partner. They then share a story or example of how that person has been a good friend to someone or they may talk about the things that make them a good friend.
This is also a great activity to do with families. You will be amazed at how this simple task can build connection and trust.
- Noticing strengths—create a class (or personal) strengths chart
Want to include regular, ongoing reflection on children’s strengths? This is another version of the previous activities which can be done across a term or year.
Write each child’s name on a group or class chart. Ask each child to identify 2-3 of their own strengths from the strengths stickers and get them to stick them next to their name.
Over the course of the term (or week, or year), ask the children to notice the strengths of other children in the class or group and invite them to add stickers to the chart whenever they notice a classmate using a strength. As the teacher or group leader, you can be a role-model by noticing when children use a strength and adding stickers to the chart.
Encourage children to notice a strength from a different person each day so that by the end of the term, they have noticed a strength for each of their classmates.
If you are working one-on-one with a child, at the end of each meeting you and the child might choose a couple of stickers each to add to the child’s personal chart. These might be strengths you’ve noticed the child using during the meeting (or even better, they have noticed themselves) or strengths they have used between your meetings. They could also be strengths they would like to develop.
- Choosing strengths
Strengths can be learned. In this activity, invite the children to choose a strength that they wish they had or that they would like to develop. Encourage them to think about how they would feel once they had that strength. How would their life be different? What could they do that they can’t do now?
Get them to choose some stickers that represent strengths they have now that could help them develop their new strength. These could include things like being persistent, hopeful, adventurous, brave or full of energy.
Then ask them to write down the names of some people they know who have the strength they are trying to develop. How did they develop that strength? What can be learned from what they did? What other strengths does that person have?
Encourage children to create a list of things they could do to help them develop or learn this strength. Ask questions like, What’s one thing on the list you could do right now? Is there anyone who could help? Which strength is most useful in this situation?
Have you used the stickers in a classroom, group or in a one-on-one setting? We would love to hear your suggestions and ideas. Feel free to share in the comments below.
Strength Cards for Kids STICKERS (400 stickers) $18.90 inc. GST Product Code: 0520
Strength Cards STICKERS (540 stickers) $18.90 inc. GST Product Code: 0150