#amillionhands | Clean water and sanitation activities

Water Sanitation Blog

This week, we’re looking at activities from the #amillionhands resource pack which will help your young people improve and understand the issues around clean water and sanitation. Have a go at these activities with your section, and let us know how you’re getting on. 

Water Relay 

Encourage your young people to consider and appreciate how important water is in our daily lives. They will also begin to reflect on how difficult our lives would be without safe, clean water.

Suitable for:

  •  Beavers
  • Cubs
  • Scouts 

You will need: 

  • A bottle of dirty water (use coffee, stock cubes or gravy granules).
  • 5-9 litres of water in bottles placed inside buckets or bags – you will need 2-3 sets of these depending on the size of the group. 

What to do: 

Introduce the activity. Ask the young person where we get water from when we need it (answer – a tap). Ask what they would do if they needed water but there was not a tap in their home, or anywhere nearby, and if there was nowhere to buy water from. 

Explain that they might need to collect water from the nearest water source, such as a pond, lake or stream, and show them the bottle of dirty water to illustrate what the water might look like. Ask them if they would drink the water, and explain that dirty water contains bacteria/germs that can make you very ill. Talk about how millions of people across the world have no choice but to use dirty water from rivers, ponds and streams as they don’t have clean water available to them. 

  • Read the story or poem from the resource pack about walking for water. 
  •  Using the buckets and bottles of water, set up a relay race to enable the group to feel what it’s like to carry large quantities of water. 
  • The weight of water that women carry in places where WaterAid works is up to 20 litres – make sure you highlight that the water your section is using in the relay is only a fraction of this. 
  • After the relay, ask how they would feel carrying water for up to two hours. 
  • Explain that many children end up missing school and that many get sick from drinking the dirty water. In fact, 1400 children die every day from illnesses caused by dirty water. 
  • Explain that WaterAid wants to change this, and is working to provide safe water and toilets to some of the world’s poorest people. 

Canal Water Walk

This activity aims to put into perspective distances people in developing countries sometimes have to walk to fetch water. It also highlights how heavy water can be when you have to carry it for long periods of time.  Further to this, it aims to show the importance of keeping canals and waterways as clean and clear as possible. This will all come together to help understand how lucky we are in this country to have access to safe, clean drinking water from a tap. 

Suitable for:

  • Scouts
  • Explorers

You will need:

  • Map/use of the internet.
  • Empty plastic bottles. 

What to do: 

  • Identify your local canal/river on a map, or use the Canal & River Trust website to help you. 
  • If it is not too far to walk, plan a ‘walkie talkie’ to the canal or river. 
  • This involved asking water themed questions along our route to the canal or river. 
  • Ask the young people a question as you set off about water, hygiene or sanitation. 
  • Ask questions at regular intervals – you can use the WaterAid quiz from the resource pack to help you. 
  • Once you reach the canal or river, ask the young people to look at the water and describe it. They can also take photographs, film or draw pictures to start building up a scrapbook about the local canal/river. 
  • Ask the group: Is it clean? What can they see in it? Would they drink it? What do they think happens to it before it reaches our taps? How do they feel about the fact that some people around the world have to drink this kind of water? Can they see any signage linked to the canal or river, and what does it say? What are people using the canal or river for? 
  • Get them to jot down their thoughts to plan for action.

We hope you enjoy these activities. Let us know how you're getting on via the website.

Back to articles list

Most read