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Six Activities to Engage the Whole Family from Girls On The Run

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have our struggles. If you’re a parent with school-aged children, you have the extra challenge of keeping your kids engaged while schools are closed. Despite the difficulties, extra time together brings a unique opportunity for your family to bond. If you could use some assistance, you’re not alone. Girls on the Run (GOTR) has Got Your Back.

And that’s the name of the latest initiative from this life-changing non-profit. If you aren’t familiar with GOTR, this program empowers 8- to 13-year-old girls using a creative curriculum focused on life skills and running.

Teaching girls how to face a challenge is nothing new for GOTR. They have taught lessons on empowerment and positivity since the program began in 1996. While GOTR practices everywhere are cancelled, these activities and resource are freely available to families in need.

Here we summarize some favorites from the GOTR Got Your Back initiative. Check the linked resources for full details.

1. We Are Unique, We Are Similar

This is a fun game to engage the whole family.

  • Round one: Take turns coming up with something that everyone in the family has in common. Try to think beyond surface-level characteristics and focus on experiences you have had, things you like, or activities you all enjoy.
  • Round two: Have each family member come up with a trait or experience that is unique to them alone, and not held in common with another family member.

Afterward, reflect together: Was it harder to come up with commonalities or something unique? Did you learn something new about another family member? Read the full instructions here.

2. Stand Up for Ourselves and Others

Learn more about a woman who inspires you, who has stood up for herself or others. Create a presentation to teach others about her. She can be famous or someone you know in your own life. Choose anyone you like, from history or current times.

Pick a research method to learn more about her. You can use a book from home, the internet, or even call someone for an interview.

Once you pick someone, learn how she stood up for herself or others. What do you think influenced her actions? What impact did her actions have on others?

Create a presentation in a way of your choosing. Make a movie, a poster, draw a portrait, create an electronic presentation, or choose another method. Share your presentation with others. Reflect on the meaning of her actions. Would you have done something similar in her shoes? How can you stand up for yourself or others in your own life?

Read the full instructions and suggestions here.


3. Embrace Movement Gratitude.

Engaging in physical activity is one way we can take care of our bodies and feel our best. As a family, brainstorm some ways that you can be active together. Then choose an activity and schedule a time to do it together for at least 20 minutes. Maybe you love to dance, do yoga, walk, or go for a run. Consider an activity that you haven’t done before. Do your activity. Take a moment to notice how good it feels to move, and how exercise can benefit your physical and mental health.

4. Write well-wishes to local hospitals and nursing homes.

There are many people who feel lonely, sick or scared right now. Think of someone in your community who could use some words of encouragement. Consider writing a note to thank a nurse, a doctor, or someone who may feel isolated. Draw a picture, write a poem or simply tell someone you’re thinking of them. Whether you choose a stranger or a neighbor, words of encouragement and positivity will brighten someone’s day in a meaningful way.


5. Write Letters to Loved Ones

Write a letter to a friend, grandparent, or other loved one. For this activity, choose someone you do know well, but can’t see during the quarantine. Make your letter extra special by drawing a picture or decorating it in a way that will remind them of you. Tell them about things that you miss doing together or something that you think makes them special. Quarantine may keep you away from extended family and friends, but you can help others (and yourself!) feel better by staying in touch and sending hand-made treasures.

6. Plan a Positivity Scavenger Hunt

This at-home scavenger hunt can help you and your loved ones find positivity all around. Think things that smell good, feel cozy, make you laugh, or make a beautiful sound. Print or write down this list from GOTR, or create your own version! Complete your list with positive things you can see in your home, yard, or out your window that make you happy in the different ways described. Once you’ve made your list, come together and discuss the things that you each wrote down.

What did you have in common? What was unique? How can you remember to be grateful for the things that bring you joy and positivity on a daily basis?

Did you like these resources? Follow Girls on the Run International (or find your local chapter!) on their Instagram and blog for more ideas to help your family connect and stay positive when things get difficult.

Join us on Global Running Day. My Big Run registration is open and we've included the option to donate to Girls on the Run on top of a $10 registration fee. Celebrate with us on June 3 and if you can, help us raise critical funds for Girls on the Run.

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