6 Remarkable Ways Being Outdoors Builds Confidence in Kids

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Marleny Hucks
Marleny Huckshttp://MyrtleBeachSC.com
Marlene (or Marleny as she is known in Spanish) is a mentor, teacher, cross-cultural trainer, storyteller, writer, and for those who have been under her leadership or simply sat across the table from her, she is a mirror of destiny. Her love of word and image were formed early on by one of her heroes, Dr. Seuss. If you asked those who know her well, they would describe her a compassionate, funny, wise, curious, honest, real, strong, sensitive and totally human which comes out as she teaches and writes. She sees all of life, even the most mundane, through faith and believes that who we become as we live this side of the veil is what matters not the journey itself or our circumstances. Marleny Hucks has spent her life crossing bridges. She comes from a diverse background of ministry roles and contexts as well as has transitioned in and out of the business world. Having lived outside the country as well as traveled extensively she has a fascination with culture causes her to live her life within a global mosaic no matter where her feet are planted. Marlene currently lives in South Carolina with her husband David, who owns a news company but who she says is a “crime fighter”, bringing light into darkness in their systems of their city. Marleny currently works as a content management specialist covering Myrtle Beach News for MyrtleBeachSC News.

Spending time outdoors plays a crucial role in a child’s development, offering various benefits that extend beyond physical health. One of the most significant advantages of outdoor activities is their ability to build confidence in kids. Whether it’s through organized programs, like those offered by Girlguiding, or simple activities like hiking and camping, being in nature helps children develop essential life skills. 

Let’s discuss this further below:

  1. Fosters Independence and Responsibility

Spending time outdoors teaches children to be independent and responsible. When they are away from the structured environment of home and school, they are often required to take more responsibility for themselves and their actions. This can include packing their bags for a trip, setting up their tents, or planning their meals. These tasks require careful planning and decision-making, which are crucial skills for developing independence. For example, when children participate in a camping trip, they need to ensure they have all the necessary supplies and learn how to manage them effectively.

Moreover, these experiences provide a safe space for children to learn from their mistakes and successes. Successfully setting up a tent or cooking a meal gives them a sense of accomplishment and reinforces their ability to manage tasks on their own. On the other hand, facing challenges like forgetting an essential item or struggling to complete a task teaches them valuable lessons in problem-solving and adaptability. 

  1. Encourages Bravery and Overcoming Fears

Academic institutes play an indispensable role in encouraging outdoor exploration in kids, specifically through outdoor activities. Outdoor activities are excellent for helping children face and overcome their fears. Whether it’s climbing a tree, crossing a stream, or spending a night under the stars, these experiences challenge kids to step out of their comfort zones. Programs like those offered by Girlguiding, including the Brownies and Guides, are specifically designed to encourage bravery and resilience. These organizations create residential adventures that promote teamwork and curiosity, empowering young girls to build confidence. A brownies holiday can provide a safe and supportive environment where girls can take on new challenges and develop a sense of accomplishment.

By participating in these outdoor adventures, children learn to tackle their fears head-on. For instance, a child who is initially afraid of heights might gradually overcome this fear by participating in activities like rock climbing or zip-lining. The sense of achievement that comes from conquering these fears is immense. It not only boosts their self-esteem but also instils a belief in their ability to face and overcome future challenges. These experiences teach children that they’re capable of more than they initially thought, fostering a resilient mindset that will benefit them throughout their lives.

  1. Promotes Physical Activity and Health

Engaging in physical activities outdoors is not only beneficial for a child’s health but also plays a significant role in building their confidence. When children participate in outdoor sports or physical activities, they experience improvements in their physical health, such as increased strength, endurance, and agility. These physical improvements often translate into better self-esteem, as children feel more capable and proud of their abilities. Activities like running, cycling, and swimming help children understand the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which contributes to their overall sense of well-being.

Moreover, the sense of achievement that comes from improving their physical abilities is a significant confidence booster. For example, a child who consistently practices and sees progress in their running speed or endurance gains a sense of accomplishment. This feeling of success reinforces their confidence in their physical abilities and encourages them to set and pursue new goals. The physical activity involved in outdoor play also releases endorphins, which help improve mood and reduce stress, further contributing to a positive self-image and increased confidence.

  1. Enhances Problem-Solving Skills

Outdoor activities often present children with challenges that require critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Whether it’s navigating a hiking trail, setting up a tent, or figuring out how to build a campfire, these activities encourage kids to think on their feet and find solutions. For instance, during a camping trip, children might need to figure out the best way to arrange their sleeping gear to stay warm or how to cook a meal using limited resources. These problem-solving experiences are invaluable in teaching children to approach obstacles with a proactive and analytical mindset.

By successfully overcoming these challenges, children build confidence in their problem-solving abilities. When they navigate a difficult trail or manage to start a fire without help, they realize they can handle complex tasks independently. This realization boosts their self-esteem and encourages them to take on new challenges both outdoors and in their everyday lives. 

  1. Encourages Social Interaction and Teamwork

Outdoor activities often involve group participation, which helps children develop social skills and learn the value of teamwork. Engaging in activities like team sports, group hikes, or camping trips requires children to communicate, cooperate, and work together to achieve common goals. These interactions are crucial for building strong social bonds and teaching children how to effectively collaborate with others. For instance, during a group hike, children must work together to ensure everyone stays on the trail and reaches the destination safely.

Participating in these group activities also helps children build confidence in their social abilities. When they contribute to the success of a group project or team activity, they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. This positive reinforcement encourages them to engage more actively in social situations, both during outdoor activities and in their daily lives. The friendships and teamwork skills developed through these experiences are invaluable, helping children build a supportive social network and fostering a sense of belonging and self-assurance.

  1. Provides a Sense of Accomplishment

Achieving goals in outdoor settings provides children with a strong sense of accomplishment, which significantly boosts their confidence. Whether it’s reaching the summit of a challenging hike, completing an obstacle course, or learning a new skill like kayaking, these milestones offer tangible proof of their abilities. These accomplishments are not only a source of personal pride but also reinforce the belief that they can achieve anything they set their minds to with effort and perseverance.

The process of setting and achieving goals in an outdoor environment teaches children important life lessons about determination and resilience. For example, a child who sets a goal to complete a long hike will need to prepare, practice, and push through physical and mental challenges. When they finally reach their goal, the sense of achievement is immense and instills a lasting confidence in their abilities. 

By encouraging bravery and overcoming fears, promoting physical activity and health, enhancing problem-solving skills, fostering independence and responsibility, encouraging social interaction and teamwork, and providing a sense of accomplishment, outdoor activities help children develop essential life skills and a strong sense of self-esteem. These experiences prepare them to face future challenges with confidence and a positive attitude, making outdoor activities an invaluable part of their personal growth and development. 

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