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Raft Building


  1. To introduce the activity, discuss the potential of climate change to make flooding more common.
    • Ask if they are aware from the news of recent floods (whether in the UK or elsewhere).
    • What are the effects of these for people who live there?
    • How is this different between the Global North and the Global South?
  2. Divide the young people into small groups and challenge them to use the materials you have collected to create a raft that will safely carry one or more of the dolls/figures.
  3. Depending on the age of your group, you may need to assist them with tying rafts together with string, or provide a handout to remind them of the most useful knots to use
  4. After about 45-60 minutes building time, get the groups to float their rafts in the washing up bowls.
    • Do they float?
    • Do they hold together?
    • How stable are they?

Take it further

Ask the young people to consider building a raft for real. What else might they need to consider (e.g. carrying belongings, protection from weather, how to steer / propel the raft)? How would it feel to have to leave your home in this way?

You could consider raising money, or collecting resources, to donate to charities which support refugees, either in the UK or elsewhere.

You could also do this activity on a larger scale, with logs and plastic drums.
Many outdoor activity centres offer this as an option, and provide the necessary materials, together with safety equipment and qualified instructors.

Resources Required

Scrap materials to create a raft, e.g.: – Empty bottles/containers, with lids – Plastic trays – Lolly sticks, String, Washing up bowls, or a paddling pool, Dolls or toy figures of an appropriate size


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