Activities & Games

Would you drink it?

An exciting activity that looks at impacts to our water sources

Ages: 6 and up

Group Size: Any size

Time: 15-20 minutes

Materials: Liquid soap (does not have to be biodegradable, but will be called such for the purposes of the activity), bug spray, sunscreen, pieces of food scarps or bits commonly found on someone’s plate, a clear cup or jar, and a water bottle full of drinkable water.

Leave No Trace Objective: To illustrate the impacts of common camping and recreation items on water sources.

Directions: Take a clean glass of water, show it to the group and tell them what the glass contains. Then ask the group, or a few of the individuals within the group, “Would you drink this water?” Discuss their answer, which 100% of the time will be “yes.” Now, take out the liquid soap— mention that it is biodegradable and that many people use this type of soap to clean themselves as well as dishes when camping. Then add a small amount of soap to the water and stir it. Ask the group once again, “Would you drink the water?” Discuss why or why not. Repeat for the bug spray, sunscreen, food scraps and any other item that you choose to include in the activity.

IMPORTANT NOTE FROM THE EDITORS: Keep in mind that participants should NEVER actually consume the tainted water, despite the gleeful acceptance from the one participant in your group who would drink motor oil if put up to the challenge.

Debriefing the Group

Discuss how easy it is for people to impact water quality with common items they use while camping or spending time outside. What are some possible solutions or alternatives to using these items for our comfort and safety without contaminating water sources?

Traveling Trainer tips for “Would you Drink It?”

This activity comes from Bigfoot’s Playbook: A Youth Educator’s Guide to Leave No Trace Activities, Games and Experiential Curriculum.