ways to build resilience

30 Nature-based Activities To Build Resilience Within Young People

Being able to adapt and deal with situations is important, so if you’re looking for ways to build resilience here’s 30 suggestions all involving nature

Nature is important to our well being and can also boost our resilience so if you’re considering getting outdoors with your family, here are a selection of potential activities that the Institute of Child Education and Psychology recommend you try. All of which are ways to build resilience. Weather dependent of course!

Stimulate the senses by

  1. Jumping in puddles
  2. Making a mud pie
  3. Walking on a beach barefoot
  4. Picking and eating wild berries
  5. Running into the ocean
  6. Stargazing/ cloud gazing

Generate awareness of how your actions impact the environment

  1. Bird watching
  2. Animal watching
  3. Helping to clean up a local river or picking up rubbish from the streets of your town

Show care and compassion for elements within the natural environment

  1. Take time to visit a nearby lake and feed the ducks (research the most suitable food)
  2. Rescue a spider from the bath or a bird with a broken wing
  3. Build a birdhouse for birds within the region
  4. Volunteer with a local animal rescue shelter

Cultivate a sense of connection to a place

  1. Construct your own special place in nature by building a hut, a fort or a den
  2. Investigate your local environment and use what you learn to draw a map of the area marking in habitats, animals, trees etc.
  3. Identify a favourite space in nature (beach, forest, lake) and take some photos in different weather and seasons

Generate positive emotion within natural settings

  1. Notice three good things in nature every day
  2. Engage in the art of photographing hope in nature, e.g. growth of an animal or plant in a field
  3. Evoke a sense of awe via planned activities
  4. Hike to a viewing point to take in a breathtaking vista/waterfall

Opportunity to face fears, overcome setbacks and reach targets

  1. Set a goal such as a hike to the top of a difficult trail
  2. Climb a tree
  3. Complete a mud run or an alternative physical challenge in nature
  4. Pitch a tent, set up camp and spend a fulfilling night reconnecting with nature beneath the stars

Foster optimism about the world

  1. Going out in all seasons and finding good in the change of the seasons
  2. Use natural phenomena as metaphors for our own lives, e.g., passing clouds, rainbows, snowdrops
  3. Demonstrate the hatching of birds’ eggs in a nest or the transition of a caterpillar into a butterfly

Make meaning from the natural world

  1. Write a story based on nature and your connection to it using the theme of hope, never giving up, bouncing back, a positive ending, nature’s beauty, new life
  2. Engage in mindful walking meditation in a nearby natural space (forest, lakeside, beach)
  3. Get involved with a cause which serves the restoration and protection of nature, e.g., tree planting, the Green schools committee with your school etc.

For more on growing resilience through nature, check out ICEP Europe’s chapter in Physical Activity in Natural Settings, Green and Blue Exercise by Aoife A. Donnelly and Tadhg E. MacIntyre

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