Activity | The effects of natural disasters


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Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu over the weekend with devastating consequences. To help explain and understand the effects of natural disasters to young people, here are some activities for each section.


Beavers: Tired monster

A game to help Beavers think about what life would be like without electricity.

Suitable for: Beaver Scouts

Equipment needed:

  • torch

Duration: 10-20 mins

What to do:

1. Bring a torch to your meeting and allocate one Beaver or 
adult volunteer to be the ‘tired monster’. 

2. Turn off all lights; the ‘tired monster’ must stand at 
one side of the room and Beavers at the other. The aim 
is for Beavers to reach the monster without 
being caught.

3. When the lights are off, the ‘tired monster’ is trying 
to sleep. Beavers can use this opportunity to creep 
closer. However, when the torch light is on, the monster is awake 
and the Beavers must stop as soon as possible – any 
Beavers caught moving are out. The ‘tired monster’ can 
turn the light on or off as he/she wishes! 

4. After the game, ask your Colony whether they found it 
fun. Ask them if they think it would be fun to be in the 
dark all the time. Explain that families affected by 
disaster may have to live without electricity for months 
and this is a situation they’d be faced with every night. 
Discuss what it would be like to live without electricity.


Cubs: Be prepared

A selection of short activities about preparing for an emergency situation.

Suitable for: Cub Scouts

Equipment needed:

  • first aid kit
  • batteries
  • paper 
  • pens

Duration: 20-30 mins

What to do:

1. Brainstorm ways that you could contact people quickly in an emergency situation.

Follow this up with a game of Chinese whispers, pretending to send a 
vital message to a family in a remote village community. 
Explain that the message should be passed on quickly and accurately otherwise it might not save lives. Did the message get passed on in full?

3. Using items in your meeting place, put together a survival 
kit that might be useful in an emergency (eg a torch with 
spare batteries, a first aid kit, etc). Discuss what you have put together with your Cubs.

4. Make a map of your local community and devise 
an emergency plan. Consider evacuation routes, places to take shelter, places to store food, places to get clean water, etc. Discuss with your Cubs afterwards.


Scouts: News report

Turn your Scouts into a media team and help them discover more about a particular 

Suitable for: Scouts

Equipment needed:

  • newspapers
  • paper

Duration: 25-45 mins

What to do:

1. Tell your Scouts about Cyclone Pam hitting the Vanuatu. 

2. Decide whether your Troop will work as one section or 
in teams and then get the sections (or teams) to create 
a news report that informs people about the recent 
disaster. Use the newspapers as a guide to presenting a news story.

3. Allow a suitable amount of time for each 
team to create their reports and then get them to present them to the other teams.


Explorers: World crisis management

A simulation game where teams represent countries affected by national disaster.

Suitable for: Explorer Scouts

What you need:

  • pencils/pens
  • paper

Duration: 60 mins

What to do:

1. Split the section into small teams of approximately four/five young people. Each team represents a country (eg UK, USA, Uganda) and team members take on the roles of different groups in each country (eg government, diplomats, industrialists). 

2. One team should take on the role of the United Nations (could be those running the exercise) and this group runs the game, mediating between countries in cases of disputes and updating the countries from time to time about the crisis. 

3. One country is subjected to a disaster specified by the United Nations (eg flood, famine, earthquake, tsunami) 
and the other countries try to solve the crisis by negotiating through the diplomats with decisions being taken by the government and using resources provided by the industrialists.

4. At the end of the exercise, have a discussion about how it felt to be the country affected by the disaster, how it felt to be the country trying to help and how the United Nations group helped or hindered the efforts.


All of these activities and much more can be found at


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