Easter Activities for Young People

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Easter Activities for Young People

Richard Wise

Getting Young People Outdoors over Easter

Entertaining young people over the Easter break with activities can be a challenge. Especially given the current situation due to coronavirus. But with Spring time finally here, the daffodils are out and the sun is shining bright! So it’s a great time to put the iPads down and get outdoors for some egg-citing activities! Here are some ideas to keep your young ones (and the not so young) having fun in the sun:

 1. Eco Egg Painting

This activity is wonderful for young people with an artistic streak. Painting eggs to look beautiful is a fun Easter tradition. Instead of regular shop bought paint, try making your own colours using natural ingredients. Berries can be crushed to make vibrant reds and purples whilst a combination of onion skins and daffodil petals give a glorious yellow hue. For grey, a bit of wood ash with water works well. And if you need an excuse to get a bit mucky, gather some dirt for a luscious brown.

Eggs can be painted as they come or hollowed out. It takes a bit of practise to learn how to create hollow eggs. Without the insides, the eggs are much more fragile, but they won’t go “off.”  They can also be kept for much longer as a result. The painted eggs can then be used for a whole range of different activities.

2. Easter Egg Hunt

A fairly classic no-brainer! Instead of hiding chocolate eggs though, why not try hiding challenge eggs outdoors? Start by writing some challenges on small slips of paper. These could be anything from “10 star jumps” to “Find something beginning with R.” Next, take a few of your hollow painted eggs, and very carefully slide one of the challenge slips into one of the holes.  Hide the eggs around your garden, a local park or green space and watch the fun! Or you could hide the eggs around the house but go outside to do the challenges! A fantastic way to encourage a bit of egg-cersise I’m sure you’ll agree.

 3. Egg and Spoon Obstacle Race

Instead of the age-old staple of a point to point race, throw in some hurdles to spice things up. Trees make wonderful natural outdoor obstacles, with branches to duck under and trunks to navigate around. For bonus points, try jumping over tree roots! For some egg-stra Easter activities, get the young people to wear bunny ears  or tails made out of materials they found outdoors, including leaves, twigs and vines.

 4. Egg Roll

The Easter version of a cheese roll, minus the cheese (and without the injury rate!). Firstly, you need to gather some of your painted Easter Eggs. Next, find a park or field with a big hill, and mark out and start point at the top with a finish point at the bottom. Line all racers up along the top (at a socially acceptable distance) with an egg ready. Then call “Go!” nice and loud! Participants may give their egg a starting nudge as it then rolls down the hill, racing against all the other eggs. The first egg to cross the finish point wins! Once they have stopped rolling, carefully walk down with the young people to collect any surviving eggs.

 

Get in Touch

These are just a few egg-samples of fun outdoor activities to play with young people over the holidays. If you are looking for some egg-cellent activities to get them outdoors when schools open again, please check out our range of team building challenges. Alongside making new friends, being outside in the fresh air has been proven to improve young peoples concentration back in the classroom.

Coronavirus: What can schools do?

Richard Wise

With the current Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak affecting every element of our daily lives, schools are in a bit of a strange position. Remaining open with very few staff and students, as we all try to figure this out day by day. Working with schools is equally challenging in these times. With Coronavirus in schools, rather than activity providers, this adds to the strain on teachers. Here at WiseUp we want to do what we can to support all the hardworking staff who are going above and beyond their already extensive work load.

Staying Active

The benefits of an active lifestyle are never more important than now. Whilst we maybe can’t get out and about as much as we would usually like, there are still plenty of things we can all do to keep our bodies active.

The Body Coach Joe Wicks is running fantastic PE sessions live every morning. If you haven’t already checked them out, we can highly recommend them!

Join in the nationwide eye spy scavenger hunt! Every week, children are being encouraged to put drawings up in their windows as a way to spread joy and thank our amazing Key Workers. When you are out for your daily exercise, see how many you can count. Or mark them on a map! Teachers can encourage students to see how many they can spot from certain areas on the playground.

The category changes each week and they are as follows:

Rainbows – W/c 23 March
Sunshine – W/c 30 March
Easter – W/c 6 April
Animals – W/c 13 April
Flowers – W/c 20 April
Smiley Faces – W/c 27 April

Other Activity Ideas

We are putting together a free collection of super fun challenges that children of all ages can try. With videos and written description planned, these easy to follow activity ideas will keep everyone entertained. These are available on our website and will be updated frequently.

In the mean time, please check out some of our previous Blogs for quick and easy ideas of activities to do with children:

We also have more activity ideas to look forward to in our April Easter edition post.

Cancelled Exams

With all exams cancelled for the end of the academic year, many older students are especially worried about the impact this will have on their future. They may feel like they have worked very hard for a number of years, only for it to not matter now. But it DOES matter. All that hard work won’t have been wasted, as teachers follow the guidelines set out by the Department for Education.

This also means a substantially different approach for teachers. As a result of the changes, school staff have to make assessments based on physical evidence. This can be really difficult, as some teachers will know their students maybe hadn’t presented their best work previously but were headed for big improvements in the exams. The great news is that universities and colleges will also be adapting their intake approach as a result of all of this. The rules on conditional offers may well be adjusted, replaced or scrapped altogether.

Effects on Mental Health

It’s important to think about the effect that Coronavirus is having on everyone’s mental health, alongside our physical health. The anxiety of being in an unknown situation can be extremely overwhelming. Add to that the possible effects of loneliness during isolation phases and the government lockdown.

As a result of all of this, young people may be feeling like this is all too much. Used to seeing their friends every day at school, younger children especially may not understand the current restrictions. This could cause them to play up or act out. Some parents we have spoken to have reported an onset of panic attacks in children as young as 8, whilst others have told us about the return of bed wetting and nightmares.

Parents are under enormous pressure. Not just with having their children suddenly off school and needing lots of attention, but with the extraordinary ways of trying to complete basic day to day living tasks. Going to do the food shopping is a logistical nightmare! It’s important for us all to remember that if we are struggling, to ask for help. Community spirit is massively on the upswing, which is one fantastic positive to come out of all of this. We certainly have spoken to more of our neighbours recently (at an acceptable distance) than ever before.

Another positive to focus on is to remember that this will come to an end, even if we aren’t 100% sure quite when. We are all in this together!

School Trips Cancelled due to Coronavirus

With the UK (and indeed much of the world) in lockdown, schools are unable to take part in their normal school trips. This is a huge disappointment to students, staff and the activity providers themselves. Not only does it have an emotional impact, there are also the finances to consider.

This time of year is when the majority of businesses in the outdoor education sector make enough money to see them through the rest of the year. They rely on schools to be able to pay staff wages for their instructors, cleaners, maintenance staff, kitchen workers and office teams. There are also the other extensive out-goings that all businesses have, such as gas, water and electricity bills. Without this annual injection of cash, many outdoor companies run the risk of going out of business completely.

Schools can help keep this vital industry from collapse. If your school is going to be closed by the government on a date that you have a booking with an outdoor provider (or any other trip type), most schools will be able to claim the cost of this back from their school’s insurance under their trip cancellation policy. If for any reason this is not covered by your insurance, the Department of Education has said that they will reimburse schools for out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The information is buried in various bits of government paperwork, but for official clarification, please contact your local council DofE worker.

Schools following this route, rather than claiming the cost of the trip back from the activity provider, will help to ensure the survival of the outdoor industry.

Thinking to the Future

When schools are back fully open, a team building activity day would be a fantastic way to re-ignite student interactions in a fun and positive event. Our problem solving challenges are ideal for kick starting the brain, ready for going back into the classroom. Re-building relationships between students will help improve mental health. Even better, holding events outside has the added bonus of improving physical health, as we have already established. Being outside in the fresh air, enjoying the British Spring/Summer time can only be a positive thing. Above all, these events bring people back together after all the talk of distance.

Please contact us to discuss holding a team building activity day when schools re-open.

5 Fun Paper and Pen Games for Young People

Richard Wise

Simple Games for Young People

Remember back when playing a game with friends didn’t involve using technology, take forever or cost the earth…Those were the days! Even here at WiseUp HQ, our office team occasionally needs a brain break and lately, we’ve been enjoying our favourite paper based activities. These games are great for a quick pick me up, and are super easy for young people to do – all you need is a few pieces of paper and a pen/pencil and you’re good to go! With numerous studies recently noting the negative impact on kids of spending too much time looking at screens we think it’s time for a revival of the classic pen and paper game. These are 5 of our favourites:

 1. Dots and Squares

For this game, if you have paper that already has dots on it, that makes life easier, but it doesn’t take long to set up if not. Draw a square grid of dots on a page – 6 x 6 is a good number to start with, but if you’re in the mood for a longer game, try 10 x 10 or even 30 x 30. Once the square is created, players (2 or more) take turns with a different colour pen creating line segments between dots. When a player forms a square with their line, they may put their initial in that square and play again. The game continues until all the lines between the dots have been drawn.

Fun squares team game for kids

2. Battleships

Players begin by drawing two grids with ten vertical and ten horizontal lines on two separate sheets of paper. The horizontal side is lettered and the vertical side numbered. On one sheet, each player draws rectangles representing a fleet of ships without letting the other player see their location. On the other grid, hits are marked with an “X” and misses with an “O”. The ships must take adjacent squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Each player’s fleet consists of the following:

Aircraft carrier covering five squares x 1
Battleship covering four squares x 1
Cruiser covering three squares x 1
Destroyers covering two squares each x 2
Submarines covering one square each x 2

Players then take turns calling out a grid reference where they think their opponent’s ships may be, for example B5 or F9. If the guess is correct, the player who’s ship has been targeted must say “Hit” and put a cross through that square. The other player then gets another turn to call a location. If their guess is incorrect, the player who’s ships have been targeted says “Miss” and the first players turn is over. Once all of the squares of a particular vessel have been hit, the player must say “You sunk my battleship!” The winner is the player who sinks all of their opponents ships first.

Battleships team game example

3. Categories

These games can be played a few different ways by young people, but this is how we like to do it at WiseUp HQ.

First, come up with a list of categories. The more you have, the harder the game is. Some examples are:

  • Male Name
  • Female Name
  • Vehicle Brand
  • Fruit
  • Vegetable
  • Country
  • City
  • Famous Actor/Singer/Author
  • Animal
  • Sport

Once you have chosen your categories, ask someone at random to choose a letter (or pick one out of a hat!). Everyone playing then has 60 seconds to come up with an answer for each category. In the event of a disputed answer, try research it by looking in books, online or asking others. The person with the most points wins the round. Then choose another letter and repeat. The person who wins the most rounds wins the whole game!

Simple categories group game

4. Words of Wisdom

This is one that will really test your brain! All young people begin the games with a piece of paper with a grid drawn on it, 4 squares across and 4 squares down so it looks like this:

You then take it in turns to call out one letter until all the blocks are filled. When a letter is called, each player must write it in their grid and they can write it in which ever block they want to. There can only be one letter in each block, and once a letter is in a block, it cannot be moved to a different block. The aim is to make as many 4 letter words as you can, going across and down your grid, so careful letter placement is crucial!

 5. SOS/Shoji

This is a variation on the classic Noughts & Crosses (or Tic Tac Toe as it’s known by some) and starts with a 3×3 grid draw exactly the same. Players then take it in turns to draw either an “S” or an “O” into a box. Each player should use a different colour pen and can only write one letter on each turn. The aim is to complete the letter sequence SOS. If a player is successful, they draw a line through the letters in their colour to indicate it is theirs. Letters can be used multiple times, for example the same “S” can be used for an SOS going across and down.

Increase the size of the grid to increase the length of the game.

SOS paper game

 

These games are a fantastic way to enjoy a bit of fun away from a screen.

Get in Touch for Team Building Activities

If you are looking for other fun activities that don’t involve computers, phones or tablets for your students, please get in touch to see what WiseUp Team Building can offer.

The Snowflake Generation

Richard Wise

The weather outside has us thinking of a term normally reserved for this time of year, but that is now increasingly being used to describe young people – “ Millennial Snowflake.” These youngsters are “viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations.” Some take this view further. One reporter for The Spectator believes that “They are genuinely distressed by ideas that run contrary to their world view.”

Is this really the case? Or, as mental health experts argue, are Millennials just better at admitting their feelings than previous generations? The University of Birmingham conducted research into stress, anxiety and depression. Large numbers of 16 – 24 year old’s felt they had experienced these in the last year. This was compared with adults over the age of 25 in the same time period.

It is a very divided debate. What is clear however, is that young people need more tools in their mental toolbox to help them succeed in today’s fast paced world.

How do team building activities increase these skills?

Multiple studies have shown the numerous benefits of taking part in team building challenges, with some of the most relevant including:

INCREASED MOTIVATION:

Participants learn to approach challenges with a more positive mindset, making them want to try harder. Learning to remain resilient when something might take longer than expected is crucial. Re-starting a task is a good opportunity to do better.

FLEXIBILITY:

Inspiring creativity and rewarding new ideas to solve challenges. As a result, young people learn that there is often more than one way of completing something. Exposing them to more opportunities that encourage this way of thinking will lead to new strengths. They are then better able to cope with change and new developments as a result.

 

IMPROVED COLLABORATION:

One common belief regarding Millennials is that they are less receptive to the ideas of others. Consequently, by working in teams across a number of tasks, participants learn to appreciate the value of other people’s input. This is especially evident if they are struggling to complete something on their own. Logical puzzles, physical endurance – everyone has their strengths.

How can WiseUp help?

By building on these benefits, we give young people more strategies to deal with stressful situations. This helps them avoid developing anxiety and depression. While improving communication skills, productivity and prioritisation, they are also making important life connections.

Investing in the younger generations now will also have the additional benefit of taking some of the strain off mental health services. A “millennial snowflake” has a lot to offer the world, and we can help them shine!

To find out what activities will best suit the needs of the young people you engage with, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.

5 NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS IDEAS

Richard Wise

New Years Resolutions to nudge us out of our comfort zones

As the clock struck midnight and signalled the start of 2020, many of us will have been filled with good intentions of grand plans. And some with changes we want to make and goals to achieve in the year ahead. Some of these may now be feeling a bit daunting. Some of us were unable to come up with any at all! So here are a few ideas to encourage everyone to try something different, meet new people and get out of that comfort zone! Bring on the New Years resolutions!

1. Try a new fruit or vegetable

Have a browse at a supermarket or, even better, fresh produce market for something you have never eaten before. Ever heard of a kiwi berry? They are a real thing (and very yummy!) How about a mangosteen, rambutan or dragon fruit? Ethnic shops are awesome places to find products not normally seen on the shelves of your local Tesco, and the shopkeepers are very helpful with information about how to prepare and eat these delicious items. As New Years resolutions go, this is a tasty one!

2. Volunteer

Even if it is just for an hour a week, supporting a cause that is close to your heart not only gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside, but is also a great way to meet some fascinating people. Whether it’s with animals, children, vulnerable adults or war veterans, find something that you can dedicate your skills to for the good of others. Answering phones, preparing and serving food, cleaning cages, reading books, helping at fairs, supervising an activity or simply talking to people – the list is endless so use what you’ve got!

3. Wake up 5 minutes earlier to stretch

This one may sound a bit silly, but for a lot of us, our bed is the epitome of our comfort zone. We all lead busy lives and either leap out of bed when the alarm goes off, or try to squeeze in a few extra zzzzzzz’s by hitting the snooze button before we start out daily To Do list. Giving ourselves just a couple of minutes to stretch in the morning has been proven to lead to more productive days.

And it’s not just stretching our arms, back and legs that has benefits – try stretching your mouth as well. When our smiling muscles contract, they fire a signal to the brain which stimulates our reward system and releases endorphins to make us happy. Basically, when we smile, whether it’s real or not, our brain feels happier – Fake it till you make it and see how much more positive each day becomes!

4. Swap Club

Try swapping something of yours with a friend while you try theirs. It might be a book swap, a different shade of nail varnish, a recipe or even a gadget swap. Trying someone else’s technique of doing something can lead to us learning all sorts of new things and experiencing events we would never normally have done. This New Years resolution can lead to new conversations as an added bonus!

5. Travel somewhere new

It doesn’t have to be somewhere far flung, exotic and expensive. It could be as simple as catching a bus or train that you’ve never got before, or giving yourself a set budget and seeing what flights or coaches are available on your chosen dates. If you’re feeling really adventurous, why not try booking on the day, or for the really brave, try a 24 hour challenge with friends where you see how far from home you can get and back again in 24 hours?

Get in touch

To see what new skills and experiences we can offer, please use our easy enquiry form drop us an e-mail or give us a call.

5 Free Festive Fun-Time Activities

Richard Wise

The holiday season is in full swing and at our WiseUp Base in Kent, we are totally feeling the festive vibes. Embracing the spirit of giving, here are 5 festive activities that are guaranteed to be enjoyed by family and friends. These can be played individually or in teams, and there are lots of different variations of each game.

1. Christmas Tree of Cups

Each person is given 15 or 21 cups which they must race to stack in the shape of a Christmas tree, before collapsing them down into a single stack. The first person to do so wins!

2. Snowman Wrap

The aim of the game is to create the best human snowman! Use old jumpers, hoodies, scarves and shirts to bulk out someone to a snowman shape. Then wrap them in toilet paper until they resemble a jolly white snowman! This can be done as a race or competition to see which team creates the best looking. A variation is to create a human Christmas tree using tinsel, baubles and tissue paper.

3. Christmas Cookie Face Off

Each person has a cookie or biscuit placed on their forehead and they have to get it into their mouths without using their hands. If the biscuit falls off, they have to start again with it on their forehead.

4. Gift Wrap Grab

Begin with a tightly wrapped gift box on a table with players standing around it. One player starts wearing a pair of large oven mitts and attempts to unwrap the present while the person to the left of them rolls a dice. If a 6 is rolled, then the roller gets the mitts and present and tries to unwrap it while the dice moves one person to the left. The person who managed to completely unwrap and open the present gets to keep it!

5. Baulbal Blow Out

Place 3 cups filled right to the top with water near the edge of a table and put a round plastic bauble floating on top of each. About 5cm directly in front of each cup, closer to the middle of the table, place another identical cup, also filled to the top with water. Players have to race to blow the bauble from each cup across the 5cm gap onto the water filled cup in front of it one at a time. Variations include increasing the number of cups, increasing the distance between cups or swapping players between baubles.

Keep the fun going even after returning to school

WiseUp have a whole host of enjoyable activities to keep everyone engaged and active, especially in the winter months after the festive season has ended. Please take a look around our website for more information on events such as our Hub Challenge and Time Attack days.

Loneliness in Young People

Richard Wise

With the holiday season beginning to descend upon us, “Joy to the World” and festive cheer tends to have most people smiling as they spend time with their nearest and dearest. From large family Thanksgivings and close family Hanukkahs to rowdy Christmas events and New Years parties, this is a time for people to be together. Sadly, not everyone is able to feel the merriment of the next couple of months. Who can forget the tearjerker of an advert from John Lewis back in 2015 entitled The Man on the Moon, which highlighted loneliness amongst the older generations. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, according to a number of recent studies on the topic, the people who feel most lonely are young adults.

The biggest ever “Loneliness” study in the UK of 55,000 people found that two in five 16-24 year old’s reported feeling lonely often or very often, a figure which showed that they experienced this feeling more than any other age group. With these tech savvy youngsters using all the social media platforms, they are more connected than ever before. But having thousands of Facebook friends does not necessarily translate to real life. The report, which was conducted by BBC 4’s All In The Mind in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust, in fact found that those who report feeling more lonely had more Facebook friends than those who do not. This also manifests in physical problems, with the effect of the ”Loneliness Epidemic” said to be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

How can young people tackle the problem?

Simply being outside is a great place to start. A study at the University of Essex found that just 5 minutes a day outdoors was enough to improve people mood and self-esteem. When outside, and especially if the sun is shining, our bodies release endorphins and other “happy hormones” such as serotonin which makes us feel good. When people feel good about themselves, they are more likely to interact with others. Even a short walk to the local shop and a quick chat with the cashier can raise a person’s mental state significantly.

Exploring the world outdoors naturally brings people into contact with one another. Walking along a path or trail, generally folk will say “Hello” or “Good Morning.” Dog walkers are especially known for this! Repeated often, this can lead to more meaningful interactions as people start to recognise each other. If you don’t have a dog of your own, why not volunteer to be a walker at a local refuge or shelter?

Camping overnight is another great way to spend time outdoors with people. Even going on your own, campsites are very social places, with communal washing up areas and pitches near others. Lots of local groups organise campouts, so why not try to find one in your local area?

If the idea of approaching others is off-putting, there are ways of attracting people to come to you. Taking something as small as a couple of balls  to a local park to try and teach yourself to juggle, or make some simple sock poi, or a simple slackline between two trees will act as a magnet. People will be curious as to what you are doing and will come over and ask, maybe giving you a chance to demonstrate your skills or even to share some of their own with you.

Joining a sports team or special interest group is a great way to meet a lot of new people. With local Facebook groups and sites such as MeetUp, it is easier than ever to find people with whom you share common ground or try something completely new and have people to laugh with. Interacting via digital platforms before and after taking part can help lessen the initial anxiety about meeting, and continue to build the relationships as time goes on.

How can a WiseUp Team Building day help?

By taking part in one of our bushcraft or archery events, thousands of students have the opportunity to try something they haven’t done before. This has led to many of them pursuing these new interests by joining archery clubs and scout groups.

Our range of team building and problem solving challenges are designed to be completed in teams. By ensuring that young people have to combine their skills in order to finish a task, this causes a release of the bonding hormone, Oxytocin. Participants realise the value of working with others rather than trying to do everything on their own. This is even further emphasised with tasks which involve people physically supporting one another (maybe over or around something) as oxytocin is stimulated by touch. Meaning that the physically closer people are to one another, the mentally closer they are as well.

Contact Us

Give our lovely office team a call on 01732 822753 or drop us an e-mail to find out what we can offer your students to help them make new friends and strengthen existing bonds.

The Break-ing of Social Skills in School Children

Richard Wise

With the ever-growing impact of social media on young people, interpersonal skills such as communication, both verbal and non-verbal, are not developing in the way they have done traditionally. Where children used to spend hours playing with their friends, riding bikes outside their houses after school or climbing trees together in the park, they now prefer to engage with one another electronically. The result is a generation that struggles with the subtle nuances of body language and tone, which can lead to diminished meaningful relationships.

The impact of this is felt especially in schools, where students are not able to revert to WhatsApp, SnapChat or any of their “usual” methods of communication. When using a phone or computer to chat, if a situation becomes awkward, there is the option to simply dis-continue the conversation. In real life however, it can be uncomfortable to end a face to face discussion, which can result in more negative interactions due to a lack of experience in those kinds of circumstances. While students are focusing on the school curriculum, the emphasis is still on the individual learning, despite a marked increase in incorporating group work into many subjects. Sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher, whilst important for their education, does not give young people the chance to socialise all that much.

But they still have break and lunch time to hang out together?

Unfortunately, a study by UCL’s Institute of Education found that these times are being increasingly reduced in schools. Primary aged learners now get 45 minutes less break time every week compared to back in 1995. Afternoon break is being “virtually eliminated” with only half of primary schools now factoring it into the timetable. Secondary schools fare even worse, with afternoon break being part of only 15% of school’s regular days, adding up to a loss of 65 minutes of break time every week for these older students.
Lunch times have also been hugely trimmed down in secondary schools, with over 82% having a lunch that lasts less than 55 minutes. Back in 1995, it was only a third of schools who had the shorter lunch time.

The reasons being given for these changes are largely down to schools feeling the need to increase teachers contact time with their students. With intense pressure to cram more learning into the school day, to provide a larger percentage of higher grades, young people are losing the time to socialise and develop key soft skills. Some students are missing out on even the small windows of time that are allocated as 60% of schools were found to withhold breaks as a punishment. This also denies young people the chance to increase their daily exercise.

How can WiseUp help?

With growing concern about young people’s mental and physical health, these figures are very worrying. Here at WiseUp, we strongly believe in young people getting every opportunity to improve their inter-personal skills, while engaging in gentle exercise. Our team building products have been designed to fulfil many of the National Curriculum criteria, meaning that a WiseUp day ticks many of the boxes needed by schools.

While participating in a range of different tasks, students focus on their communication within a supportive team environment. Building trust amongst one another alongside personal resilience, our full and half day challenges give students the chance to engage in face to face interactions, while also giving them a break from a traditional classroom setting. They will probably be having so much fun, they won’t even realise they are learning!

Contact Us

Give our friendly office team a call on 01732 822753 or  use our easy enquiry form to see what options are available for your students.

Can Outdoor Team Activities help socially?

Richard Wise

Team Activities in the Great Outdoors

With the summer holidays in full swing, many of us are indulging in our favourite out of school activities – sleeping, chilling, and hanging out with friends. Going swimming, watching the latest films and chatting together late into the night, being around our besties can be a lot of fun. But are we surrounding ourselves with the right people? Taking part in outdoor team activities can help us figure this out.

What does that even mean?

Whether we realise it or not, the people we choose to have around us have a big impact on the rest of our lives. Science has proven that by simply being in close proximity to positive people, our own emotional well being is improved as a result. Not only do others influence our emotions, research has shown that our social networks (both real and digital) can have beneficial effects to our diet and exercise routines, thereby improving our overall health.

A good crowd can be hard to find

Just a few select people in your inner circle who have a positive approach to life can make all the difference. A great example of this is in Okinawa, Japan. Here, they have a long standing tradition of grouping 5 young people together to form a “moai.” These youngsters make a commitment to each other for life. They offer emotional support, share life experience and even financial assistance when needed. Some moai’s have lasted over 90 years, and the tradition is still going strong. The science as a result makes for pretty amazing reading. Okinawa is regarded as a longevity hotspot, where people are proven to live longer and better lives than almost anyone in the world. The average life expectancy for a woman living there is 90 years old! That’s 18 years over the worldwide average and 9 years beyond the current UK average.

What does this have to do with Outdoor Team Activities?

Outdoor activities offer young people the perfect opportunity to meet others who they may not normally choose to interact with. Giving them the chance to complete a task or challenge together creates a shared bond. This can facilitate friendships that extend far beyond a single day or week. How strong this bond is requires one thing from all participants: courage. It can be very difficult for youngsters to show vulnerability. In an age where we are encouraged to “Live your best life,” many feel the pressure of presenting the perfect image of themselves and their lifestyle.

Outdoor challenges offer a chance to be imperfect – to be covered in mud, scared still at the end of a rope, frustrated at a problem solving game or soaked through in a boat with others who are in the same position. Vulnerability in a shared situation creates trust and it is this trust that ultimately leads to fulfilling relationships.

Get In Touch

WiseUp Team Building’s extensive range of activities and challenges are specially designed to encourage students of all ages to get to know each other as they work together to solve tasks.  Please use our easy enquiry form to see what we can offer your learners, or give us a call on 01732 822753.

COMPETITION: HEALTHY VERSUS UN-HEALTHY

Richard Wise

The debate around competition has been going for many years – should children and young people participate individually and in teams against one another? With some schools banning ‘traditional’ events such as sports days in a move to reduce what is seen as the negative impact of losing, is this the best way to help or are students ultimately the ones losing out?

UNHEALTHY COMPETITION

Competition has long been a part of most young people’s school day experience – from sports teams and debating societies to inter-house championships and student performance league tables. But over the years, the argument against these kinds of competitive activities has grown, largely centered around some of the psychological repercussions of being in a potentially cut throat environment. Unhealthy competition can lead to young people suffering from insecurity and low self esteem as a result of the strong need for validation and attention they may receive when they win at something. This can also lead to cases of severe magnification, where seemingly unimportant events are treated by students as the most crucial happening, and should they not achieve a top result, deep depressions can follow. These are extreme examples, but what is interesting to note is that it is not the activities themselves which cause the most harm, but rather young people’s perception of winning and losing.

HEALTHY COMPETITION

Whether we want them to or not, people begin competing from a relatively young age – youngsters always want to be the one at the front of the line or the one chosen to feed the class pet. And this follows them throughout their lives into adulthood – indeed, job searching is one of the biggest competitions many of us face, and it’s this that forms the argument for keeping competition in schools. The important element for educators and coaches is to focus students’ attention on the values of healthy competition. Realising that it’s okay to not win all the time and to see that as an opportunity to improve one’s personal level. Showing good sportsmanship towards fellow team mates and opposing teams improves positive communication skills and fosters friendships. Learning respect and humility from following referees decisions, and accepting that often players don’t have all the correct information to make a judgement call whilst the referee does.

Ultimately, what benefits students will get from competing in teams and individually lies largely with the supervisors around them – teachers, coaches, instructors and parents in particular. As long as the focus is on the positive elements, and any negativity is taken as a chance to be built upon, young people can learn and thrive whilst having fun.

ARE WISEUP ACTIVITY DAYS COMPETITIVE?

Here at WiseUp, we do enjoy a bit of healthy competition. However, all of our activity days are structured in such a way that they can be run to suit the needs of each different school we work with, so if a school wants the focus of the day to be on a different aspect, that is absolutely not a problem. Our Activities Manager works closely with the lead teacher prior to every event to ensure the aims of the school are met.

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If you would like to hear how our team can provide full or half day team building events at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.