Activities to help your young people learn how to bounce back
We all know that it’s important to be able to pick yourself up and carry on when things go wrong. The good news is that resilience isn’t something you’re born with (or without): everyone can develop the skills they need to be resilient. Plenty of the activities on our Scouts programme planning tool are designed to help young people learn how to adapt to challenges and bounce back, all while looking after their wellbeing. Here are five of our favourite resilience-building activities.
Building a miniature raft with twigs and leaves is no easy task. There’s plenty of potential for frustration here as knots unravel, lashings don’t hold, and twigs snap. Learning to cope when things go wrong is an important skill for resilience; Scouts is the perfect place for young people to try new things and practice taking a deep breath and trying again. The best rafts are built when young people pick themselves up and carry on, changing their approach as they learn what works best. At the end of the activity, it doesn’t really matter how wonky the rafts are (or how well they sail) – everyone will leave with the skills they need to cope when things don’t go to plan.
There’s plenty of evidence that friendships help people to be more resilient. It makes sense when you think about it – bouncing back is easier if you’re not doing it alone. This activity encourages young people to talk to others, broadening their social ties and giving them more chances to meet new friends. It also helps people to recognise their skills, and reminds them that everyone has different strengths (and that’s OK). In the future, they’ll know who to ask if they need a helping hand with a particular activity or problem.
A huge part of resilience is being able to learn from your mistakes as you try again. It can be tricky to give the youngest Scouts the opportunity to do this, so this activity was designed to encourage people to problem solve. To build the best maze, teams have to test their ideas to make sure that the marbles fit and there are enough tricky twists and turns. When it comes to playing the game, the marble may seem determined to get stuck, race towards a dead end, or fly off the edge altogether. Teams have to work together, despite the tension, and learn from what went wrong to fine-tune their technique,
There’s something for everyone when you transform your meeting place into the International Space Station. Lots of the activities will be new (we’re certainly not used to using robotic arms or walking like a crab), so it’s normal for people to not get it right first time. This activity gives young people the chance to learn to pick themselves up and try again while the stakes are low. Working in teams means no one’s alone – together, they’ll practice pushing through challenges and bouncing back from defeat.
Resilience is all about your wellbeing being stable, whatever challenges life throws your way. This activity gives people the practical tools and skills to take care of themselves, so they’re equipped with things that might help when they need them most. To top it all off, it gives leaders the opportunity to signpost to sources of support (such as Mind, SAMH, and Inspire) so young people know where to go for information and support. Resilience doesn’t mean going it alone – it’s perfectly OK to ask for help.