A quick activity to introduce new foreign languages.

You will need

  • A few phrases in a variety of languages printed or written onto slips of paper or card. You will need at least one set for each group.
  • Hoops or a container

Before you start

You may wish to investigate how other languages say simple greetings like hello and goodbye. Babbel has a good summary for greetings.


  1. Introduce the idea of different people using different languages to communicate. Ask the young people what other languages they know or have come across in their community or travels.
  2. Split into groups and set up a vocabulary set at the other end of the space for each group. For each set, provide a container or hoop for ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’.
  3. One person from each group can move forward to the words and pick one word and decide if they think it is a way of saying hello or goodbye and sort it into that container or hoop. The group take turns to do this until all the words have been sorted.
  4. Make it competitive by awarding points! One point for each word in the correct category with an extra five points for the first team to finish.
  5. Go through the words at the end with the whole group asking them to shout out what they think it means. Ask each person what their favourite way of saying hello and goodbye was.


As Scouts we are citizens of the world. We often say that a Scouts is a brother or sister to all Scouts around the world – all 50 million of us!

Imagine you were going to another country where you don’t speak the main 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 little bit of a language. Can you remember any of the greetings you learned today?

Other considerations


As with any activity that involves running, there is potential for slips, trips and falls. Clear the area of anything that needn’t be there, and run the activity on clean, dry and slip-free floors.

All activities in the Scouts should be risk assessed, following the Scout rules.

Change the level of challenge

For older Scouts, and especially Scouts looking to earn their International badge, learn more words and phrases to increase the challenge and sort between the different languages

You can simplify the activity by allowing the group to meet around the table to discuss them together as a group instead of running the relay. If they get some in the wrong pile, you could allow them the chance to change their answer until they get it right.

Make it accessible

For groups where young people may have mobility issues or where running a relay race would be unnecessarily distracting or taxing, refocus the game on the sorting into the hoops as this is the core of the activity.

Youth Shaped guidance

If any young people speak a different language or know of any greetings or farewells, you’re welcome to include them in the activity.

This activity has been created by Alison Osborn, Scout Network member with Pegasus Scout Network and Skills Instructor with Stanley’s Own Scout and Guide Band as part of her King’s Scout Award.

Activity Details

Outcome: Learn and respect other countries, cultures and languages.

Time: 15 mins

Cost: Minimal

Location: Indoors, Outdoors

Suitable for: Beavers, Cubs, Scouts

Counts towards:

Take it further

Try these activities from the Scouts Activity index to explore more like this:

Hello, Goodbye