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Know your rights

Play a musical game then explore the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in this harmonious human rights activity.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Scrap paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Chairs
  • Device to play music
Rights, needs and wants cards
PDF – 83.0KB

Before you begin

  • Prepare some cards (slips of paper are fine) with some different rights, needs, and wants on. We’ve included some ideas of rights, needs, and wants below.
  • For ‘Play musical chairs’, you’ll need one card for each person. For ‘Choose rights, wants, or needs’, you’ll need enough sets of 10 identical cards for each group of three or four people to have one.
  • There’s loads of information (and a full list of the articles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) on the Unicef website. It’s a good idea to have a look before you lead this activity, so you feel confident that you know everything you need to.
  • It’s up to you how you play the music. It doesn’t have to be super-technical; depending on the space you’re using, a phone with the volume turned up might work!

Introduce the topic

  1. The person leading the activity should ask everyone if they know the difference between rights, wants or needs.
  1. Everyone should try to think of some examples of rights, needs, and wants. They shouldn’t share their ideas yet.


Play musical chairs

  1. Everyone should get a chair and put them in a circle (facing outwards).
  2. The person leading the activity should give everyone a piece of paper that has a right, need, or want written on it.
  3. The person leading the activity should play some music. Everyone should move around the chairs (keeping hold of their piece of paper).
  4. While the music’s playing, the person leading the activity should remove a chair from the circle so there’s one fewer chair than the number of players.
  5. The person leading the activity should pause the music. Everyone should find a chair to sit on, and one player should be left standing.
  6. The person left standing should read out the words on their piece of paper. They should try to persuade everyone that their piece of paper has a ‘right’ on it. Everyone else can ask questions, if they want to.
  7. Everyone should vote on whether the thing on the person’s paper is a right.
  1. If the majority vote that’s it a right, the player should stay in the game. Everyone should repeat steps three to seven, except the person leading the activity shouldn’t remove a chair.
  2. If the majority vote that it’s not a right, the player is out. They should help the person leading the game with the music, removing the chairs, and keeping track of who’s last to find a chair. Everyone should repeat steps three to seven.
  1. The game ends when there’s a small number of things in the middle. Unless someone’s just really good at the game and always finds a chair, these should be a set of rights.

Choose rights, wants, or needs 

  1. Everyone should split into groups of three or four people.
  2. The person leading the activity should give each group a set of 10 cards with rights, needs, and wants on them.
  3. Each group should work together to order the cards from the most to the least important. The rights and needs should be above the wants.
  1. Everyone should share their ideas with each other. Did all of the groups have a similar order? Were there any cards people disagreed on?
  2. The person leading the activity should introduce the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
  1. Each group should try to figure out which cards show rights from the UNCRC. They should put all of the other cards to one side.
  2. Each group should take it in turns to shout of an idea, until between them, they’ve found all of the rights.
  1. In their groups, everyone should think about children and young people in other countries. Are there places where Scouts find it harder to get their rights? Are there places where young people have fewer opportunities?
  1. Everyone should take it in turns to share their ideas.


This activity reminded everyone that they’re a citizen. What does being a global citizen mean? People might have all sorts of answers here, some might think about how it’s being aware of the wider world and playing their part in communities locally and nationally. What sorts of rights and responsibilities do citizens have?

This activity was also about communication. It’s great to know about important things like rights, but it’s important to talk to other people too. Why is talking to other people so important? People might think about how it helps them learn and develop their ideas as well as how it can help other people become aware of big issues. How did people feel about sharing their ideas? Was it easy to understand what other people meant?

Article 42 of the UNCRC is all about people working together to make that everyone (children and adults) know about the convention. How could people share what they’ve learned with others?


Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.

All activities must be safely managed. 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.