This non-profit is helping young girls lead active, healthy lives.
Three Girls Playing Soccer

When I was growing up, my parents owned a health club. Because I spent hours watching the fitness classes and imitating the moves from the sidelines, the importance of exercise was instilled in me from a young age. And once I started elementary school, I took up new sports including soccer, softball, and skiing. These days, I'm big on running and strength-training—and I have no doubt that it's due to all that childhood exercise.

Unfortunately, many girls don't receive the encouragement that I did. That's why I love Play Like a Girl, a non-profit that aims to inspire girls to be happier and healthier through physical activity. This becomes especially important as kids spend an increasing amount of time inside playing video games. Studies show that girls who play sports perform better in school; reduce their risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses; and develop more confidence and leadership skills. And those are just some of the many benefits!

Currently, Play Like a Girl is raising money for their Pop-Up Play Day Tour this summer. At each stop of the ten-city tour, girls (and boys) of all ages are invited to join in free family activities such as sports clinics, a 5K walk/run, food demos, and more. The organization estimates that 10,000 girls will participate. The idea is to get kids outdoors to play with their friends and family.

Want to help out? You can donate here. You can also pitch in by purchasing merchandise, starting your own Play Like A Girl council, or sharing your healthy stories and tips through social media. (Just make sure to use #playlikeagirl and #bringbackplay in your posts.)

And finally, if you live near Allen, Texas, check out the organization's soccer clinic on Saturday, January 30. The Dallas Sidekicks soccer team and coaches will be giving lessons, in addition to other fun family activities. Tickets are available here.

How do you encourage your daughter to get outside and play?

Chrisanne Grise is the assistant health editor for Parents. Her favorite form of exercise is taking long walks with her dog, Murray. Follow her on Twitter: @xanne.

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