Practise the art of negotiation and understand the importance of compromise and reasoning by playing Kids’ UN.
How to play it…
- Divide kids into groups of 2 of 3
- Assign each group with a country in the United Nations, i.e. Germany, Australia, China, United Kingdom, Egypt, Iraq etc.
- Pick a topic for debate, i.e. Climate change, famine, nuclear power etc (see below for some ideas.)
- Tell half the teams that they must vote ‘for’ the debate topic and the other half that they must vote ‘against’ the debate topic.
- Give the teams 15 minutes or so to come up with some reasons why their country is voting for or against.
- Start the debate. All the teams who are voting ‘for’ the debate need to try to convince the other teams to change their minds and vice-versa. Make sure an adult is on hand as the Speaker who tells people who may speak and when.
- The Speaker decides who the winner is at the end of debate based on the structure of their arguments.
- Proposal for every UN country to give $5million each to help a country suffering from famine.
- Proposal for all UN countries to get rid of all their nuclear power stations within 10 years.
- All UN countries to stop trading with a country who is not treating their people very well but that country has lots of something people want (i.e. oil, gold, coal etc)
- Civil war has broken out in a country. The UN wants to send help.
- A poor country which is suffering from war has lots of refugees and they need new places to live. The UN wants each country to take 5,000 people.
Kids’ UN Tips…
- Remember – you might not agree with voting against something but you have to come up with an argument anyway. This helps to understand other people’s point of view even if you don’t agree with them.
- If you do not have many kids, just divide the group into two, a for and against team.
- You can pick a topic closer to home like hunting or immigration.
- Have an adult going round the groups beforehand to listen to their ideas. Give them pointers – i.e. if a group who is representing a rich country says they cannot afford to pay for extra climate change research, they need to think of a new argument.
- It helps if you can tell each group at the beginning of the debate a few details about the country they’re representing such as: whether they are rich, poor or somewhere in the middle, what they mainly produce i.e. oil, gold, financial services services, cars etc and whether they have any significant issues such as famine, disease or natural disaster. You can use your imagination on this.