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How much munch

Work together to beat the budget and create a tasty meal for your next camp.

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You’ll need

  • Scrap paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Ingredients
  • Cooking equipment
  • Devices with access to the internet (optional)

Activity summary

In this activity, everyone will work together to decide on a tasty meal that they could cook on camp. Then they’ll play a game to ‘buy’ their ingredients with steps – and adjust their budgets if they run out of space. 

Before you begin

  • You could plan and cook on the same night, or run the first part of the activity now and cook the meals during your next camp.
  • If you have access to the internet, you could look up some real prices and create an actual budget for your meals. You could also provide some example price lists for groups to use.
  • Use the Safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity.

Step 1: Dinner decisions

  1. Everyone should get into teams of three or four people.
  2. Everyone should make a list of any dietary requirements or allergies that they might need to think about if they’re cooking for everyone.

Value menu has some information about cooking for people with different dietary requirements.

  1. Each group should chat about the foods they like. They should make a list of their favourite foods.
  2. Each group should think about what else they might need to consider if they were cooking on camp. They should write down foods or ingredients that would work well.

For example, they might think about avoiding heavy food because they don’t want to carry it. They should also think about storage – will there be a way to safely keep food cold or frozen?

  1. Now it’s time to create a meal! Everyone should look at their different lists. Can they think of any meals they could cook that meet everyone’s dietary requirements, use their favourite foods, and are suitable for cooking at camp?
  2. Each group should decide on a meal to cook and make a list of ingredients they’ll need. They should separate their lists into things that think they ‘need’, and things they just ‘want’.

For example, they might need rice – but they might not need a full bag, or they might want rice that cooks quickly. They might want extras to serve on the side of their meal, or they might want to add a starter or dessert.

Step 2: Budget line 

  1. Everyone should line up in their teams on one side of the space. Each team should choose one person to play the game for them.
  2. The person leading the game should explain that, instead of a real budget in pounds, everyone will be working in steps. If someone reaches the other side of the space, they’re out of budget.
  3. The person leading the activity should shout out different ingredients and a number of steps. If anyone has the item on their list, they should tick it off and take that number of steps forward. They’ll need their lists later, so they shouldn’t scribble anything out.

In this first round, the idea is that teams will run out of steps before they have all their ingredients, so get creative! You could have some organic, locally grown produce that costs more steps, or you could throw in a tasty treat or a time-saving food that’ll tempt the teams to spend lots of steps. 

  1. The person leading the game should keep shouting out ingredients and steps until the teams reach the other side of the space.
  2. Each team should see how many steps they took. Do they have all of the ingredients that they need for their meal? Did they spend any steps on things they didn’t need?
  3. Everyone should separate their lists into things that think they ‘need’, and things they just ‘want’. This time, they should work together to decide what to prioritise and spend their steps on.

For example, they might want to sacrifice some fresh herbs for a dessert, or swap a side dish for a starter. Could they split an ingredient with another team and share the steps? How do they feel about using convenient food that costs more steps? 

  1. Everyone should play again with a different person representing their team.

This time groups should prioritise their lists so they use the steps on their ‘needs’ before their ‘wants’.

  1. Everyone should try to gather enough ingredients to make the whole meal before they run out of space.

Give the teams the option to return, swap, or donate their ingredients to other teams and take some steps backwards.

  1. Keep playing until each group has managed to get enough ingredients to make a meal.

It doesn’t matter if they don’t have everything from their lists, as long as they can work out their budget to make a balanced meal for the group.

Depending on the size of your space (and the menu that teams choose to cook), you’ll have to adapt this list. Hopefully these ideas help you get started.

  • Pasta – 10 steps
  • Rice – 10 steps
  • Bread – 10 steps
  • Beef mince – 25 steps
  • Chicken – 20 steps
  • Bacon – 15 steps
  • Vegan meat substitute – 10 steps
  • Broccoli – 5 steps
  • Carrots – 5 steps
  • Peppers – 5 steps
  • Tinned tomatoes – 5 steps
  • Pre-made sauce – 20 steps
  • Salt or pepper – 10 steps
  • Apples – 5 steps
  • Custard – 15 steps
  • Cake – 10 steps
  • Bar of chocolate – 20 steps


Step 3: Make your meal

  1. Everyone should make the most of their final chance to swap or share any ingredients with other teams.
  2. Everyone should cook their meals using the ingredients they got from playing the budget line game.
  3. While everyone’s enjoying their food, they should try to create an actual budget for the meal they’ve cooked.


Why is it important that people make a budget before they start spending? What might happen if people didn’t plan – and how might it feel?

When they played the budget line game, what did teams do if they didn’t have enough in their budget for the meal they’d planned? How did everyone decide between the different things that they needed or wanted? It can be difficult to decide but making lists, prioritising, and working together can make it easier to make a decision.

Did any teams choose to swap or share ingredients? Why or why not? Would it have helped improve their meal if they had?

There are loads of times in Scouts (and at other times in your life) when these skills are useful. Everyone should spend a minute thinking of some other situations or example. Does anyone want to share their ideas with the group?


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

Fires and stoves

Make sure anyone using fires and stoves is doing so safely. Check that the equipment and area are suitable and have plenty of ventilation. Follow the gas safety guidance. Have a safe way to extinguish the fire in an emergency.


Remember to check for allergies, eating problems, fasting or dietary requirements and adjust the recipe as needed. Make sure you’ve suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods. Take a look at our guidance on food safety and hygiene.


Teach young people how to use cooking equipment safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Make sure it’s safe to use and follow manufacturers’ guidelines for use.

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.

  • You could make the challenge easier by creating a set meal or menu that all the teams will try to cook in ‘budget line’.
  • It’s up to you to set the step values. You could add organic or Fair Trade ingredients, for example, to give people more complex choices.
  • Everyone should consider people’s dietary requirements or allergies so the food’s suitable for everyone.
  • Think about how you’ll move around the space during the budget line game so that it’s accessible for everyone.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Check out Value menu to learn more about how our values can affect the things we buy and our budgets.

Take a look at more money skills activities.