Wants and Needs

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Activity to help scouts discover what they need vs what they want. Also validates Module 14.




- Print off and cut up enough "Wants and Needs" cards so that there are 20 for each team of 5, e.g. 120 cards for a group of 30.
- Arrange players into teams and give each team a blank set of 20 “Wants and Needs” cards.
- Tell them that a war has started and, as a team they
must flee to safety together. Since they must abandon their homes they need to take all the things they need and want to live and grow at their new temporary home, when they find one. The team must decide on no more than 20 items to take from the “Wants and Needs” cards.
- Go round the teams and ask them which items they chose.
- Announce that because of limited space in their transport cars, carts and wheelbarrows, they can only take 14 items instead of all 20. They need to decide on six items to eliminate.
- Go round and ask them to explain why they got rid of one of their cards.
- Inform them that the roads are too congested with people who are fleeing so their family cars cannot be used. Everyone will be walking, and to lighten the loads which are to be carried, they can only take six items instead of 14. They must eliminate eight more items, leaving only the six that they consider most essential for their survival.
- Finally go round askingthem to explain why they kept the items.
- Explain that millions of refugee children both past and present were faced with just such decisions
- Take some time to discuss what they have done considering some of the points below.
- At the end of the activity allow some quiet time to reflect on the difference between such a lifestyle and that enjoyed by the majority of people in UK

Thinking points:
Which items were most commonly eliminated in the first round? Why?
Was the second round of eliminations more difficult than the first? Why?

What is the difference between wants and needs? Which items on the list were wants, and which ones were needs?

Did the groups have any disagreements over the items to eliminate? Which ones, and why? Who made the ultimate decision?

Who provides those needs for the young people? How does that change as they get older?
Do wants and needs differ for different people? Why or why not?

Explain to the young people that: People’s most basic needs – to survive, develop, be safe, and participate in their communities – are often referred to as rights. Rights can be
thought of as those things that it is fair and just for all people to have, or to be able to do.


  • global
  • promise
  • promise challenge
  • survival
  • team building

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