Explore access to water with this simple game.
This activity contributes to the following badges:
Beaver Global Issues Activity Badge
Cub Global Issues Activity Badge
The activity could also help towards:
Community Impact Staged Activity Badge
Time: 20 minutes
Equipment (per pair):
- Greaseproof/wax paper (or normal paper and wax crayons to make your own)
- Paper straws
- Paper cups
- Sticky tape
1) Have a discussion with your young people about the importance of water in their everyday lives and ask them to imagine what it would be like not to have access to clean, running water. Talk about World Water Day, an international day of awareness that encourages people to learn about how the lack of water impacts people’s lives, and how to reduce water use and wastage.
2) Divide the young people into pairs and give each pair a piece of paper, some tape, two straws and one cup with a little water in it. Alternatively, if making your own wax paper, distribute normal paper and crayons instead, asking the young people to completely colour one side of the paper using the crayons, to make it waterproof.
3) Within their pairs, ask each young person to take turns using their straw to put a droplet of water at one end of a piece of wax paper that is taped to a flat surface, like a table or the floor.
4) They should then take turns using their straws to try and blow the droplet from one end of the paper to the other, without it breaking up into smaller droplets. Discuss with the young people that this symbolises the long journeys some people have to make carrying water to their homes and families, without spilling it on the way.
5) The bigger the droplet, the more difficult it is to keep intact. Ask the young people to experiment using different strengths of breath and holding the straws at different angles to find the most efficient way of transporting the water from one end to the other.
You can use the A Million Hands WaterAid resources to find information about access to water, to share with your section, including things like: one in 10 people around the world still lack basic access to clean water; in some developing countries, many women and children have to walk long distances carrying water containers as heavy as 20kg – the same as the average airline luggage allowance. Find more information to share at scouts.org.uk/wateraidfacts
Take it further
This activity links to UN Global Goal #6: Clean Water and Sanitation. Learn more at globalgoals.org. Use the A Million Hands WaterAid resources to have further discussions with your section about access to clean water and find more activities to do with them on this theme here: scouts.org.uk/wateraid