The Trash Run

A physical running game to sensitize kids about trash and environment through gathering as many types of trash in their neighborhood as possible

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Everything you need to play this game

  • 1 cardboard panel (40x40cm)
  • 1 smaller cardboard panel (23x23cm)
  • Coloured pencils
  • Scissors
  • 6 bottle caps
  • 1 magnetic board (30x60cm) + 1 large paper (30x60cm) OR only 1 large cardboard (30x60cm)
  • 2 garbage bags large enough (or anything else to be used as a garbage)
  • 1 rotation disc or 1 split paper clip

Make it yourself


Step 1

Make the scoreboard

If you have a magnetic board, use adhesive paper to stick the paper on the magnetic board to make the scoreboard. If not, take a cardboard panel to make the scoreboard.

Draw 6 rounds in 2 columns (A & B) and 3 rows (1, 2 & 3) as per the picture below. If you used cardboard, make 3 cylinders of adhesive paper (adhesive on the outside) and paste one on each bottle cup. Protect your cardboard with adhesive paper. You can add some decoration to make the panels more attractive.


Step 2

Make the wheel

Take the 23x23cm cardboard and make a circle of it. Cut a hole in the center of the disc to fix the disc allowing the wheel to rotate around it.

Cut a 'finger' hole to make the turning of the wheel easier.

If you have a rota disc, use it as a template to make these steps.

Draw an earth on the cardboard and draw the 4 cardinal points. Draw an arrow on the north side.

Draw '1', '2', '3' & '4' as per the image below


Step 3

Make the base panel under the wheel

Take the 40x40 cm cardboard and draw 2 circles: one of the size of your wheel and one larger one. Divide your panel in 4, one for each type of trash. We used metal cans / paper & cardboard / clothes / plastic bottles but feel free to adapt them to the types of trash the kids encounter in their environment.

Decorate it as per the image below (feel free to adapt)


Step 4

Fix the wheel on its base

Fix the wheel on its base using the split pin or by pasting the wheel on the rotation disc.

Good job!

A step-by-step guide to play the game


Divide the group in two (team A and B) and choose a timekeeper (able to count to 60).

Place 2 garbage bags next to the timekeeper, one for each team.


Round 1: Turn the earth-wheel to assign a value to each type of trash (see variations for an easier version).


Explain to the kids they will have to run to gather as many trash they can in a certain time (e.g. 60 seconds). Each object of trash is worth a certain amount of points (from step 2) so they have to put priority on certain types of trash. Both teams will have to gather trash at the same time so divide the search zone in two: one for each group.


Say "Ready... Go!"! After this, the timekeeper has to count out loud until time is up (e.g. 60 seconds). In the meanwhile, the two teams have to run to gather trash. The teams put the collected objects in front of their own garbage bag before everyone starts counting.


When time is up, the timekeeper blows the whistle (or shouts) to make the two teams come back next to him. The kids are not allowed to put the last trash they gathered in front of their own garbage anymore but should put them in their garbage bag instead (no points earned).


Counting points: fill the garbage bag of team A piece by piece with their collected trash, the kids summing up the points earned for each piece of trash. If needed you can use the blackboard as a visual support to make the additions.

Do the same with the trash of team B.

The team with the highest score wins the round and puts a bottle cup on the scoreboard


Round 2: repeat steps 2 to 6. You can choose another timekeeper.


Round 3: repeat steps 2 to 6. You can choose another timekeeper.


End of the game: after 3 rounds, the team with the most bottle caps wins the game !


Debrief the game with the kids.

You can give some explanations about how the trash can be recycled to make new and useful products. You can also ask them about making their environment a cleaner place.

You can make a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project with the collected trash or throw the dirt bags away.

Extra game information

If the two teams have the same amount of points, they each gain a bottle cup on their scoreboard.

When adding bottle cups, put the first bottle cup on the brown area, the second on the orange and the third on the green.


Easier version: instead of giving a different value to each type of trash, you could turn the earth-wheel and only play with the one type of trash type as indicated by the arrow. Each piece of trash has a value of 1 point.

Timekeeper: depending on the ability of the timekeeper, he/she could count down instead of counting up.

What people said about this game

Arnoud Raskin

Social Entrepreneur StreetwiZe • Mobile School BE

17 October, 2019


Good game with a cool and appealing name!

Mobile School NPO

Mobile School NPO BE

12 March, 2020


A fun activity on a very relevant topic! The game gives educators the chance to open up a discussion on trash and waste materials in a fun and playful way. The variations allow you to play the game with different groups of kids. Highly recommended game!

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