Resilience: What is it? Why do we need it?

During their time at Citywise, kids explore different topics in order to build their understanding of self-worth. At Citywise, we believe that resilience is one of the most important topics.

To be resilient is to bounce back when you’re faced with a challenge in life. We often use the image of a marshmallow to explain this: if you squish a marshmallow, it bounces back to its original shape. The image of the marshmallow shows what happens when we get back up from falling down or not giving up when we’ve failed at something. Try using a marshmallow to explain this to a child, not only do they learn about resilience but you both end up with a sweet treat to snack on!

Resilience at Citywise

Children at Citywise projects learn all about resilience. Children’s resilience is often tested during challenging activities, such as building a tower using only paper!


There are many resources that can develop our understanding of resilience and its importance. Here are links to Citywise blog posts on resilience and how we can promote resilience, written by our Programme Director, Hana Butorova:


Games can be a great way for children to build knowledge and understanding of a topic or subject, resilience is no exception. Here are some fun games that Citywise suggest:

  • Paper Tower:
    • Gather any bits of scrap paper you can find and try to build a tower. You can only use those pieces of paper, no glue, no tape, nothing else! To make it more challenging, you can have a timed race and see who has the tallest standing tower. Don’t worry about your towers falling down, show resilience by picking them up and trying again!
  • Cup Flip:
    • Line up any plastic or paper cups that you have. The part of the cup where you drink from should be facing downwards on the table, the cups should be an inch off the edge of a table. Set a timer for 60 seconds and see how many cups you can flip over onto the bottom end of the cup. Each player has one flip per cup, so try and take it easy when you’re flipping every cup!
  • Ping Pong:
    • Put five cups at the end of a table or on the ground. Try and stand about five feet away from the cups and set a timer for 60 seconds. Throw all of your ping pong balls, and try to aim for the cups. The person with the most ping pong balls in the cups, by the end of the minute, wins!
    • Top tip: If your cups are falling, try filling them with a bit of water. See if that helps!
  • 21:
    • In this game all you have to do is try and count to 21 as a group, but there’s a twist! The whole group has to count in order (from 1 to 21), however, there’s no pattern in which people say the numbers. That means each member says a number randomly. If two or more members of the group say a same number at the same time, or if someone says the wrong number, then you have to all start again!
    • Top tip: This game works better in a group of 4 and more.

Resilience is key in a child’s development which is why having open and interactive discussions about it, as well as practising it in games, is important. We hope this post is helpful and would love to see how you have been learning about resilience. Tag us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @CitywiseUK.