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Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

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Say hello, wave good-ball

Practise other languages in this fast paced greeting game.

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You’ll need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Scrap paper
  • Sticky tape
  • Five large balls (beach balls)

Before you begin

  • Choose up to five of the languages from the ‘International greetings’ below and write the words for ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ on different slips of paper.
  • Stick each language’s greetings on a different ball with the sticky tape. You’ll end up with five balls, each with two slips of paper stuck to them.

Introduce the greetings

  1. Everyone should stand in a circle; the person leading the game should stand in the middle.
  2. The person leading the game should tell everyone which language each ball is, and read the greetings. Everyone should practice saying the greetings after the person leading the game says them.
  3. The person leading the game should ask if anyone knows any greetings in another language that they’d like to include. If people know other languages, the person leading the game could introduce a plain ball so everyone can share their knowledge.

Play the game

  1. The person leading the game should throw a ball to a player in the circle. The player should catch the ball and say hello in the language on the ball.
  2. The player should say goodbye in the language on the ball and throw the ball back to the person leading the game.
  3. Repeat steps one and two until everyone’s had a go at saying a greeting, and everyone understands how it works.
  4. The person leading the game should join the circle. Now, the ball is thrown across the circle to anyone – it doesn’t have to go to the person leading the game each time.
  5. The person leading the game should add another language ball into the game. Everyone should try to keep both balls going at once.
  1. The person leading the game should keep adding more balls, until all five balls are moving around at once.





Halló (ha-loh)




Au revoir (Ow rev-wah)



Adiós (Addy-oss)


Marhaban (mar-haban)

Ma-salama (mah sah-lah-mah)


Namaste (nah-meh-stay)

Namaste (nah-meh-stay)


Cześć (ches-ch)

Do widzenia (doh vid-zenia)


Ciao (chow)

Ciao (chow)



Auf Wiedersehen (Owf- vieder-sane)


This activity reminded you that you’re an international citizen, and helped you to respect others.

Imagine you were going to join a school or club in another country where you don’t speak the language. How would you like other people to treat you? It would probably be nice for people to be polite and welcoming. One way we can help others feel at home (or be polite guests if we visit another country) is to learn a bit of a language. Can you remember any of the greetings you learned today? 

Even if we don’t speak the language, how can we use our body language to be welcoming and friendly? We can smile, and maybe even use gestures. But just like words, some gestures can mean other things in other countries! What does it mean in the UK when we do a thumbs up? In some parts of the world, such as some west African countries, doing a thumbs up is rude! In Tibet, sticking your tongue out is a traditional greeting (that doesn’t mean everyone always does it) – but we think that’s cheeky and rude! Do you think it’s a good idea to check what things mean to other people before we say or do them?


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.

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. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.

  • It’s up to you how many balls you add in – how many can the group remember?
  • You could remove the paper slips and see if players can remember the greetings.
  • Why not invite any parents and carers who speak other languages along? They could teach everyone some simple words and phrases.  
  • You could add other phrases into the game, for example, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, or ‘how are you?’ and ‘I’m well, thanks!’.

You could sit and roll the ball to each other, rather than throwing it.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Everyone can share any greetings they know in other languages, and anyone who knows another language could help lead the game. People could choose which languages they’d like to learn greetings from in a meeting before the game.