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Clean machine

Work as a team to give your camp kitchen a gleaming makeover.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Washing up liquid
  • Three washing up bowls or buckets per team
  • Warm water
  • Sponge and scourer
  • Tea towels
  • Dirty  pans, crockery and blunt utensils
  • Rubber gloves (optional)

Before you begin

  • To make sure you have enough dirty plates, cups, bowls and so on, do this after snack time or a food-based activity.
  • Set up two lines of cleaning stations using the buckets and bowls:
    • The first bucket or bowl is empty and for food waste.
    • The second contains warm soapy water – you or an adult should check the water is a safe temperature.
    • The third contains clean water for rinsing.
    • The fourth is for drying.

Be a clean machine

  1. Everyone in the group should position themselves along the line, with one or two people at each cleaning station.
  1. Everyone at the first station should empty cups and scrape uneaten food off each item before passing it to the washing station.
  1. The group at the next station should wash the items in the hot, soapy water using the scourer and sponge, and pass to the rinsers.
  1. Everyone at the rinsing station should flush the items with clean water before handing them to the dryers.
  2. The people at the drying station should carefully dry and put each item away.
  1. Everyone should check there’s nothing left to wash up, then rinse sponges and scourers, hang up tea towels and either use the cooled water for watering plants or safely pour it down a drain.


This activity helps everyone understand the importance of camp hygiene and of teamwork. They also honed their practical cleaning skills to spruce up food areas after cooking and eating.

The group should chat about why it’s important to wash up, even when the weather’s cold and wet, and they’d prefer not to. Their reasons might include the fact it means there are always clean dishes available or that it can help everyone avoid tummy upsets. Now they’re experts, everyone should have washing, rinsing or drying top tips, such as washing before it gets dark or cleaning greasy pans last.

The group should also talk about the benefits of team work, why ‘many hands might light work’ and congratulate each other on being helpful. It’s a reminder that if everyone helps out, less enjoyable jobs like washing up get done quickly and there’s more time for playing.


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Water games and activities

Be careful when doing activities with, in, or near water. Check surfaces and reduce the risk of slipping where possible. Make sure you have appropriate supervision for this activity.


Check for allergies before you begin and read the guidance on food safety. Make sure you have suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods.

Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.