accessibility & help

Needs and wants auction

Needs and wants logo with picture of children holding up their hands© InfoIf you had to leave your home at a moment’s notice, what would you take with you?

A mobile phone to contact friends and relatives? Warm clothes? Your dog?

Use our needs and wants auction activity to get young people discussing how to cope in a crisis.

Who is it for?

Any age group. All abilities and learning styles.

What will young people learn?

Through using this fun activity, students will learn:

  • prioritising
  • numeracy
  • team working
  • critical thinking
  • understanding consequences.

What are the objectives?

  •  to help young people tell the difference between needs and wants
  •  to show that some people don’t have their basic needs met in a crisis.

How does it work?

There’s a set of auction cards that can be put up on the walls. There are 19 cards, including pictures of food, clean water, a radio and sweets.

In teams, young people act as families displaced due to conflict or natural disaster. Each team receives money – specially designed citizen credits. Teams discuss what to buy and why. They can nominate someone to bid in the auction.

The group leader auctions the items and teams bid for what they think they need to get their family through the crisis. After the auction, you discuss who bought what and why, and whether they picked items they truly need or simply want.

Start the debate now. Download full instructions for an auction and all the additional resources you need to get started!