Philanthropic Race with Time

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

This energizer activity provides a fast and fun way to learn about the word philanthropy and its meaning.

"My friends are much more likely to get involved if word gets out that what we are doing is fun. We need to get that message out. We need to be the messengers." 

- Youth participant at a Habits of the Heart conference

Print20 minutes

Youth will

  • pronounce the word and gain understanding of the concept of philanthropy.
  • build philanthropy vocabulary.
  • have fun!
  • ball or other item to pass
  • timer 

See this glossary of philanthropic terms for additional vocabulary to expand the game


  1. Ask the participants to get in a large circle to play a game. The facilitator explains that an object will be passed around the circle while a timer is running. If the object comes to you, you are to catch it, say the word “philanthropy,” and then pass it on. If the timer rings before a person has passed it on, they are eliminated from the circle. Play repeatedly and count how many times you can say the word and pass it on in a given time, such as 30 seconds. 

  2. After a few rounds have been completed, the facilitator says that they will still throw the object, but instead of saying “philanthropy,” the person who has the object must say what philanthropy means to them. Rules remain the same and participants are eliminated in the same manner.

  3. In the third round, the facilitator notes that when the object arrives this time, each person must spell the word “philanthropy” in the time allotted and pass the object on to the next person. The game ends when only one participant remains. To keep everyone involved, the person holding the object may be penalized a point, and the person with the fewest points in the end is the winner. 

  4. For a variation, ask the participants to do all three in the time allotted:

    1. Say the word
    2. Say what the word means to them
    3. Spell the word 
  5. Variation
    Participants say a word related to philanthropy, like service, and how it relates to them. Examples:

    1. Say the word "service"
    2. Share a service experience.


    1. Say the word "talent"
    2. Share how you use your talent for the common good.

    For more vocabulary, see this philanthropy glossary.