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What Do You Need?

What is the difference between a want and a need? In this activity, learn about the things that we need to survive, to be safe, to be happy, and the extra things we want but don’t need. 

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  • What are some of your needs and wants? 
  • What needs and wants will you include in the game? 
  • Is everyone in your community able to get the things they want and need? 


  • Start by writing wants and needs on small pieces of paper. You can use things that you want or need in your lives, or you can take ideas from this list: a TV, a book, food, air, a home, warm clothes, candy, water, video games, shoes, rest, being out of danger.  
  • Assign one piece of paper to each person.  
  • Arrange yourselves so you are in order of most important things to least important things. Start with the things you need to survive, then the things you need to stay safe, the things you need to be happy, and finally the extra things you would like to have but do not need.  


  • Did everyone agree on the importance of the different wants and needs? What things did you disagree about? Why? 
  • If there are people in your community who are not able to get the things they want and need, what can we do to help?  
  • Are there other things you need that were not mentioned in the game? 
  • Remember to submit your activities on our Scouts for Sustainability Take Action Map


  • Paper 
  • Pencil  

Keep it Simple

If you are having trouble putting all the wants and needs in order, you can choose to put them into categories instead. Assign one side of the room to be “needs” and the other side to be “wants”. Work together to assign each want or need to the correct category. 

Take it Further

To take this activity further, consider what needs are not being met for people in your community. Does everyone have access to food and housing? What can we do to help?