'Hack with Hadley' at the 2022 Women's Leadership Summit

Win a Chance to be Mentored by Game Changing Women! 

Read below to learn how you and middle school girls in your life can be a part of the 2nd annual Play Like a Girl Women's Leadership Summit on March 8th.

This #InternationalWomensDay, inspiring women role models, mentors and more are coming together to launch Ready for Any Field, a new campaign inspiring girls to realize their full potential, whether it’s math, science, sports, or the arts.

Women make up half of the total college-educated workforce in the U.S., but constitute only 25 percent of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce. Ready for Any Field is Play Like a Girl's national campaign celebrating women who are leading the way in the world of STEM to encourage girls to pursue their passions in these competitive, male-dominated fields.

The 2022 Women’s Leadership Summit will bring together a community of inspiring and innovative visionaries whose ambitious actions are changing the world at unprecedented scale. Across industries and generations, the gathering spotlights how leading women are navigating monumental change by unlocking opportunities for women and girls in Nashville and beyond.

Featuring keynote conversations and dynamic panel discussions, the Women's Leadership Summit will convene a diverse range of female luminaries from the worlds of business, media, entertainment and education. The half-day event will unlock new thinking and expand perspectives while also creating an intimate community for women ascending within their careers and expanding their sphere of influence through intimate networking and mentoring moments.

We'll be taking the stage and chatting live with young innovators Samaira Mehta and Medha Aiyah about how they're using STEM in ways you'd never expect, and catching a bunch of behind-the-scenes moments gushing with girl power.

We love to design and build creative projects and see STEM at work! For this year's Summit, we've partnered with Play Like a Girl participant Hadley Hall (pictured here) and mother-daughter engineering duo Dr. Teresa & Trinity Vasquez to showcase how cool STEM can be. And we're getting crafty with a cool DIY project during a special Hack with Hadley segment!

To register for the hybrid experience, visit iplaylikeagirl.org/summit, and make sure you're following along on Instagram (@iplaylikeagirl) and YouTube (Play Like a Girl TV) to tag along for all the fun!


Win a chance to be mentored by game changing women in Nashville! Tell us how sport has prepared you to succeed in any field by submitting your original photos, videos or art via Instagram or Twitter using #ReadyforAnyField. No purchase necessary. Void in AK & HI and where prohibited. Open to legal residents of 48 contiguous US & DC. Starts 2/21/22; ends 2/28/22.

Girls Put Math Skills to the Test at Meet + Mentor Memphis

Play Like a Girl recently held its second Meet + Mentor day camp for middle school girls, this time in Memphis. Academy Sports + Outdoors staff, University of Alabama strength and conditioning coach Michelle Martin Diltz, and Memphis Redbirds employee volunteers participated in the event.

Girls were divided into small teams after hearing from a team of female architects who led construction of AutoZone Park, the stadium and ballpark the Redbirds call home. Students were given the task to build a play structure for younger Redbirds fans’ enjoyment.

The teams created play structures using LEGO bricks as a learning tool to practice building and learning advanced STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts in a fun, hands-on way. Each team was provided a wide range of LEGO bricks and accessories – such as doors, windows, etc. – for which each color was assigned a specific dollar value. 

With a budget of $1 million, teams needed to think carefully about what they wanted to build and what bricks they needed versus which would be nice to have. Then they made a plan for how to spend their money toward completion of their structures. Some teams even drew out a design for their play structures before building a prototype using the LEGO bricks.

While this activity took some time and was difficult for some struggling learners, it was a good hands-on activity that made budgeting and engineering design concepts more concrete for students. The activity promoted problem-solving and was perfect for teams with strong verbal communicators and those organized around each student’s strengths. And an added bonus: This project was deeply satisfying because the girls got to create something of their own, on their own. 

Structures featured playgrounds with interactive games for kids, a picnic deck, mazes, a kid dugout and slide, video game stations, face painters, balloon artists, and a carousel and a ferris wheel. All except one structure came within the budget. Students’ final products were judged by a jury of their peers. Members of the winning team were awarded their own LEGO set to continue building and learning.

Employee volunteers from the Redbirds led a career panel before breaking into small groups to informally mentor the girls and answer questions about their college choices and career paths. 

Camp ended with short skills rotations where Michelle instructed campers on facets of the game including hitting, fielding, pitching, and team play. Running, jumping, and stretching were also stressed. 

With extensive subject matter expertise, expert instruction, quality facilities and a challenging and motivating learning environment that brought together individuals of all ages and backgrounds, this Meet + Mentor experience ignited moments of discovery where students were able to connect STEM to their futures.

Hosted by Play Like a Girl, Meet + Mentor is an ongoing celebration of local girls and the women role models who inspire them. These events bring together Academy employees, brand ambassadors and corporate volunteers. 

Participating students will be featured in a three-part YouTube series showcased across Academy’s social channels late this summer.

Photos from the Memphis event


5 STEM Project Ideas for Spring

STEM is for girls and spring is for STEM—get hands-on experience with these anyone-can-do projects

The warmer weather, brightly budding trees and chirping birds have finally arrived to announce the start of spring. After being cooped up by the cold weather and stuck at home thanks to the pandemic, spring is the perfect time to go outside and engage your girls in STEM. There is no shortage of fun STEM project ideas. We rounded up five from around the web—try one today!

  1. A Cooler Project 

The heat is on, so what better time to learn exactly how that cooler you or your mom lug to the beach really works. In this short STEM activity, the goal is to discover which material makes the best insulation and, in turn, just how long you can keep an ice cube from becoming a small puddle. For this project, you’ll need plastic tupperware, ziploc bags, ice cubes and a variety of insulators like newspaper, cotton balls, bubble wrap and so on. By the end of this STEM activity, your young scientist will have a better grasp of convection and conduction.

  1. Tiny Techno Dancers

For most of us, the warmer weather means getting together with our friends and family for cookouts, movie nights or backyard game nights. Although that may not be possible yet due to safety concerns and essential pandemic protocols, this extremely cool STEM activity is perfect for those missing their girl gang. 

Interested in technology or electromagnetism? Try building a homopolar motor! This is a sophisticated project and will likely require some trial and error, as well as parental supervision. Try making a basic homopolar motor at first, then play around with making your “tiny dancer” out of copper wire. Once you have the science down, dress your dancers in colorful crepe paper and watch them dance as you play DJ! 

  1. DIY Bird Nests

Have you ever thought of birds as engineers? A quick search of “birds nests” will reveal that these crafty homebuilders construct nests in trees, bushes, rocky edges and on the ground. Take a look around your yard or favorite park. Can you spot any bird nests? If so, can you tell what materials those birds chose to use?

For this spring-inspired STEM project, you will build your own bird nest using only natural materials that you can find outside. Think twigs, small rocks and grass. This could get messy (a.k.a. fun), so work outside if possible. Gather your nest materials, including an egg or egg-like rock or rubber ball, to test the sturdiness of your design. Before adding your “egg,” try testing your nest by gently blowing on it. There is no perfect design goal here, so everyone’s result may look different. When you’re done, simply put your materials back where you found them outside. Cleanup here is a cinch! 

  1. Make a Backyard Sundial

Another great STEM activity for those who can’t get enough of the sunny spring weather is to make your own sundial! Once you have a nice spot picked out (aim for an area about 10-12 inches in diameter), you will need to gather 12 seashells or rocks, paint and a good stick. That’s it! It may take some time to map as you will need to watch the sun’s shadow once you plant your stick in the ground to serve as the sundial’s gnomon. Fans of ancient history, earth science or those with an artistic flair may particularly enjoy this project, too!

  1. Measure a Tree’s Height 

Perfect for pairs, this outdoorsy STEM activity is a great excuse to explore nearby parks, hiking trails or scenic overlooks. The only materials you’ll need to measure tree height are a pencil, measuring tape or a measuring stick and a partner. One girl will use the pencil to estimate the tree height, while the other girl will stand near the chosen tree to pace out the measurement later. Once they get the hang of it, the girls can swap places and assume the others’ role. Math and a hike, talk about a perfect afternoon!

What STEM project ideas do you have planned for spring? Head to our new Resources page for a lot more inspiration. 

STEM for Girls: Reimagining the Future

When girls engage in STEM, everyone wins.

There’s a gap between girls and boys when it comes to their interest in and their pursuit of STEM subjects. No surprise here, but there’s also a gap in the number of women and men in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields like coding and cybersecurity among others. Why do you think that is?

An ill-informed argument might suggest achievement: “Boys are just better at STEM subjects than girls.” No, that’s not it. A large body of research shows that girls perform as well as boys in math. And in fact, middle school girls pass algebra at higher rates than boys. 

Another misguided position might point to the toys we give our kids when they’re young. But it’s way too simplistic to say the STEM gap exists because girls play dress-up with dolls and boys play with things that go vroom. That’s giving a bit too much weight to playthings. (And come on, we all know that Barbie has worked in basically every STEM field over the years!)

So why is there a STEM gap for girls? It doesn’t have to do with the test scores or favorite toys—it’s stereotypes, cultural norms and societal pressures that make girls think they can’t dream big. Girls aren’t less capable than boys. But the world around them can make them think that’s true. The media reinforces it. Books on library shelves don't exactly refute it. Even grown-ups who love the girls in their lives can unwittingly recreate this horrible untruth.

Ask any kid to draw a mathematician and you’ll probably get a picture of a man (and he’ll probably be wearing glasses). This is a very basic way of pointing out that, historically and culturally speaking, we collectively see these types of jobs as being held by men.  

“The self-limiting beliefs these stereotypes create can snowball to affect a girl’s trajectory and future career choices,” according to Barbie’s Dream Gap Project. “They may even discourage women to pursue prestigious careers, especially in fields that value brilliance.” 

And therein lies the benefit of STEM for girls and the answer to “Why STEM for girls?” Because when girls engage in STEM, everyone wins.

What happens when girls love STEM, too

The benefits of STEM for girls are far-reaching. For starters, engaging girls in STEM can help stimulate their imaginations and foster creativity. Yes, many different forms of play can do that but STEM encourages girls to flex these important muscles through the lens of discovery.

Exposure to STEM also can help boost girls’ confidence and resilience. The more girls explore STEM subjects and are exposed to female role models in STEM fields, the more confident they become that STEM is a perfect fit for them. Resilience, meanwhile, is tied to the experimentation side of STEM. The process of designing and building, testing and failing (the engineering design process, by the way), helps instill the important lesson that failing is OK and actually helps lead to success.

This is a Play Like a Girl principle our mentors teach girls like Carwyn, Maria, and Arianna and her sister in our Meet + Mentor program. They know that failing means you're trying. So keep trying. And also keep learning. Because the more you learn from your failures, the closer you come to your successes. 

When girls engage in STEM, they’re also more creative thinkers, better problem solvers and are more confident in their own abilities. And those qualities will transfer to their adult lives—whether they pursue careers in STEM fields or not. These skills will naturally filter into every college classroom, locker room and C-suite.

STEM for girls and the Play Like a Girl mission 

At Play Like a Girl, we envision a world where the playing field is level and every girl reaches her full potential. We deliver programs to leverage the skills girls gain from sports to propel them into male-dominated careers in STEM. Our programs include girls-only camps and sports clinics, hands-on STEM education, makerspace workshops, mentoring opportunities with inspiring female role models, corporate field trips, and powerful girl-centered messaging.

When we give our girls the opportunity to meet a female engineer or a female bat conservationist like If/Then Ambassador and Play Like a Girl mentor Dr. Kristen Lear, we’re not discounting the hard work done by men in those same roles. Instead, we’re saying, “If you can see it, you can be it.”

When we get a group of girls together to geek out over a STEM topic, we aren’t saying, “No boys allowed.” Instead, we’re saying this is a space just for girls because we want to create and cultivate a sense of belonging that for too long has been missing for them in these male-dominated subject areas.

There may be a time in the future when we don’t need to carve out special programs dubbed “STEM for girls.” (When that time comes, we might be out of a job!) But for now, we believe it’s critical to give girls a dedicated community wherein they can explore their unlimited potential--and have the support of other brilliant girls and women like themselves.

And that critical work is at the heart of our efforts here at Play Like a Girl. Take a peek to see our mission in action.

Yes, Sport Is a Pathway to STEM

Meet Jesse Lovejoy, one of the speakers and executive mentors at our Women’s Leadership Summit on March 19.

Welcome to the first installment of our Women’s Leadership Speaker Series, where we’re introducing you to some of the inspiring leaders who will be sharing their passion with us on March 19. First up is Jesse Lovejoy, who is director of 49ers EDU and the 49ers Museum (yes, those San Francisco 49ers). 

We know what you’re thinking, why would we feature a man as the first subject in our speaker series for a women’s summit? We’ll tell you why. Jesse’s work with the 49ers speaks to everything we care about here at Play Like a Girl—and he is our founder and CEO, Dr. Kim’s mentor. Plus, it’s easy to be inspired by the career journey that led Jesse to this important work which has included numerous partnerships with Play Like a Girl in recent years. 

Since 2014, 49ers EDU has leveraged football as a platform for teaching lessons in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) to over 300,000 Bay Area students. The program also encourages physical activity while teaching important skills through the values of teamwork. Kids flex their engineering muscles by designing their own helmets in the state-of-the-art tech wonderland that is the 49ers Education Center. They get schooled in the laws of physics on the field of Levi Stadium, watching what happens when they kick or throw a football at different angles. Oh, and did we mention these programs are completely free of charge for every single student?

Jesse will be a speaker at our Women’s Leadership Summit—and is featured in our Executive Auction. He is one of many executives, investors, elite athletes and entertainers who will be donating their time to mentor summit attendees who bid in the auction. We hope you’ll be just as inspired as we are by his passion for leveraging sports to ignite the spark for STEM and the career journey that brought him to where he is today.

PLAY LIKE A GIRL: Looking back on your career so far, what is one of the biggest challenges you faced, and how did you overcome it? 

JESSE: It was, without a doubt, changing my career trajectory from one without purpose to something that has meaning. I quit a career that I was good at and I left an industry I was succeeding in, and I started over. The risk was huge, but I overcame it by believing in the power of doing something that mattered. I also had the support of my wife and family who encouraged me to believe in myself and what I could do. All of that, plus a lot of hard work and dedication to the people around me, brought me to where I am today.

PLAY LIKE A GIRL: You’ll be speaking at the Women’s Leadership Summit about the important role male allies play. What do you believe is lacking in your industry in terms of opportunities for women? And what do you see as the way forward?

JESSE: Well, if you’re talking about pro sports you can pick a million different verticals in which representation for women is woeful. If you are talking about education or community relations in sports, it’s better but there’s still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to executive leadership positions. Across the board, the sports industry is categorically lacking in virtually every way when it comes to opportunities of merit for women to contribute and succeed.

I guess the place I’d start is to try to reframe the discussion a bit from one that is focused on equity (solely) to one that also articulates the significant business benefit and value that comes with a more balanced organization from a gender standpoint.

Let me be clear: Achieving gender and pay equity in the workplace is MASSIVELY important on its own. That said, there are also scores of studies that speak to how much an industry, business or department stands to gain (financially, operationally, culturally) from having an office that accurately reflects our society and has women in positions of leadership and value within an organization.

If we can diversify the discussion and the way this issue sits in the minds of decisionmakers at companies, we may start to see greater success short- and long-term. 

PLAY LIKE A GIRL: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

JESSE: Keena Turner, a 4x Super Bowl champ and the man who led the charge in hiring me for my position with the 49ers, told me, “You are going to have a lot of bosses.” That resonated in a very literal sense when I joined the 49ers. But I quickly realized what he was actually trying to tell me: Be of service to everyone—and not yourself—and you will ultimately be successful and build the kind of relationships that you want in your business and personal life.”

PLAY LIKE A GIRL: If you could, what career advice would you give to your younger self?

JESSE: That’s easy: Be kind to everyone. Find purpose in your work. Believe in yourself.

Follow Jesse on Twitter to keep up with the good work he’s doing at 49ers EDU. And don’t forget to secure your spot for the “New Rules for a New World” Women’s Leadership Summit on March 19. Proceeds underwrite program scholarships for girls in need.

IF She Can See It, THEN She Can Be It

‘IF she can see it, THEN she can be it.’

Images of professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields have traditionally underrepresented women and minorities. This makes it challenging for organizations like Play Like a Girl to develop compelling visual content that allows girls to see themselves engaging in science.

IF/THEN®, a national initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies which seeks to advance women in STEM, launched the IF/THEN® Collection to address this issue. The Collection is the largest, free resource of its kind with thousands of photos and videos of diverse and powerful contemporary women in STEM.

The Collection is critical to inspiring girls to pursue STEM careers and shifting how the world perceives women in STEM.

”Our goal is for girls everywhere to see STEM as exciting, relevant, and cool.”

—Nicole Small

The IF/THEN Collection features 125 female STEM innovators known as AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors, who serve as high-profile role models for girls. You may recall several of these women (Afua Bruce, Gracie Ermi, Sydney Hamilton and Beata Mierzwa) from our #GirlsRockSTEM Summit back in June.

Like these women, generations of women scientists and innovators have long created the realities we experience in the world.

Imagine life without the following seven inventions by women:

Medical Syringes

For years, the medical community struggled to perform procedures, as syringes required two hands to operate. In 1899, Leticia Greer created a revolutionary design for a one hand syringe that quickly replaced the old model. Her design is still in use today worldwide. She single handedly changed medical procedure through her creation.

Windshield Wipers

Every single car on the market today comes with windshield wipers to protect drivers’ vision in the rain. However, most people don’t realize that the original design for them came from Mary Anderson in 1903. Sadly, because she was a woman, her design was not implemented for ten more years. At that point it was accredited to a different inventor.  

Central Heating

In 1919, Alice Parker changed the heating game with her invention of a natural gas heating system to replace the wood burning systems in place at the time. However, like Anderson, her design was sadly later popularized by and credited to another inventor. 


Our society has increasingly become centered around computers in this technological age. A lot of people might not know this, but without mathematician Ada Lovelace who wrote the original computer algorithm in 1843 and computer scientist Grace Hopper who later wrote the first modern computer programming language in 1952, computers would not function how they do today. 

Word Processing

Almost everyone in the U.S. has used Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or Pages. Without Evelyn Berezin who created the first word processing system in 1971, we might still be writing our papers on typewriters.

Airplane Mufflers

We would not be able to fly all around the world today like we do without airplane mufflers to protect the engines. In 1917, the “Iron Woman” El Dorado Jones invented the airplane muffler in her metalworking factory. This revolutionized the flight industry, changing the scope of what planes can do. 


It’s hard to imagine a kitchen without a refrigerator to keep food from going bad. In 1914, Florence Parpart created the first electric refrigerator to replace the ice boxes people were using at the time. Her design has improved over the years, but still resembles what you probably have in your own kitchen. 

We are thrilled to finally have images that depict the world as we see it here at Play Like a Girl. Many thanks to IF/THEN and all of the partners who have played a role in bringing the Collection to the world. 

Surprising Science in Your Home

The worlds of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (or STEM) are exciting and relevant in so many ways. STEM is everywhere and in everything, making our lives run smoothly. Without STEM, we would not have many of the things we use on a daily basis--from microwaves and lighting to yep, your favorite mobile app.

Inventions and innovations of all kind stem from STEM (no pun intended, promise!).

When was the last time you pondered the exact science or mathematical formula that makes the simplest--but, oh, so necessary--things work? Well, consider this a lesson in the surprising science in your home:


Microwaves are in almost every American kitchen. They quickly and efficiently heat food by transforming electric energy into heat energy directly in the molecules of food. This appliance uses electric energy to generate tiny little microwaves, or waves of energy, that travel through air at lightening speed. The waves move up and down rapidly and bounce off of the reflective walls of the microwave. When they pass through food, the energy causes the molecules of the food to bounce up and down rapidly as well. This movement generates heat in much the same way that rubbing your hands together quickly. The heat builds up pretty quickly inside your food, thereby thawing, heating or cooking it.


Electricity is still the primary source of lighting in most homes. When the sun goes down, it’s as simple as flipping a switch to bring light into your home. The science? Simple: Lightbulbs connect to an electric circuit inside your house. An electric circuit is an interconnection of wires through which electricity travels. When the switch is flipped, the circuit is completed, allowing electricity to pass through the lightbulb. Electricity traveling through the lightbulb is converted from electric to light energy on the thin wire (aka filament) within the bulb. This thin piece of metal is the catalyst for your experience of light.


If you've ever connected your Airpods or speaker to your smartphone or other device, you probably used Bluetooth. This technology, like microwaves, uses energy waves but a different type. Bluetooth uses longer radio waves (rather than short microwaves) to carry signals. When the radio waves transmit from your device, they travel through the air. Using electricity, a Bluetooth-enabled receiver picks up these waves and converts them to sound. 

Daily life would look extremely different without these and other major innovations. Sometimes it's fun to just consider the world around us and how exactly we get to enjoy even the seemingly simple conveniences. Here at Play Like a Girl, we encourages you to take this exercise even further. Is there something you can create, build or develop to help improve daily life? If so, get at it! We're rooting for you.

Leave a comment below and share some of your favorite things powered by STEM.

The Benefits of Effective Goal Setting

Know Where You’re Going. 

The road to success starts with a destination. By setting goals, you’ll give your actions purpose to ensure you’re always moving in the right direction.

This is one of the principles we live and play by here at Play Like a Girl. We encourage girls in our programs to dream big and envision their limitless potential. More importantly, we teach them how to travel well by planning some dreamy stops along the way.

Girls tend to experience big declines in academic motivation and achievement just as they enter middle school. One of the best ways to combat these declines and help girls maintain their motivation is through effective goal setting.

While setting goals for yourself is important, it is even more important to ensure that you set SMART goals. What is a SMART goal? We absolutely love that question around here. In fact, we spend an entire session in summer camp with fifth and sixth graders on setting SMART goals. Yep, that's right: It's never too early to get SMART about your goals.

SMART is an acronym that you can use to guide your goal setting. Its criteria are commonly attributed to Peter Drucker's Management by Objectives concept. The first known use of the term occurs in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.

Since then, Professor Robert S. Rubin (Saint Louis University) wrote about the SMART concept in an article for The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He stated that SMART has come to mean different things to different people, as illustrated below in our definition of SMART goals.

To make your goals clear and reachable, we believe that each goal should be:
  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

Professor Rubin also notes that the definition of the SMART acronym may need updating to reflect the importance of efficacy and feedback. Toward this end, some authors have expanded it to SMARTER which includes extra focus areas such as Evaluated and Reviewed.

We believe that SMART goals align with your personal values, are quantifiable, and can be achieved through a realistic plan of action. For example, one of our program graduates, Hannah, loves art and fashion. When she entered high school, she was particularly savvy about selecting all the right courses to get closer to her goal of majoring in fashion design as a college student.

Hannah's first instinct was not to drop all of her advanced math and science subjects to take up textiles and design. She knew that would be a bad strategy. She understood that the future of fashion requires skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) due to rapid advances in several critical areas of technology.

Hannah also had her own pretty unique blend of interests in business, science, art and technology that would bode well for her focus on fashion. Hannah set SMART goals to guide her achievement in classes that aligned with her personal values and commitment to working hard and sticking to her goals as she progressed through high school. Ultimately, she succeeded in achieving her dream and will be majoring in business and fashion design at North Carolina A&T University this fall.

How did setting SMART goals help Hannah? Effective goal setting results in increases in all of these areas: 
  1. Mindset. Effective goal setting fosters a growth mindset. If goals are well structured and include a support plan, girls can see how achievable their dreams are. This encourages confidence that skills can be developed and all the benefits that accompany that belief.
  2. Self-Efficacy. Goals set with the proper structure and support systems help girls develop confidence in their skills and abilities. They also help instill a greater sense of achievement. Achieving benchmarks towards a larger goal activates the reward center of the brain, helping girls feel accomplished.
  3. Organization. Planning and structuring goals helps girls develop organizational skills. The area of the brain used to consider long term goals and the steps necessary to achieve them is the same area that handles all planning and organizational tasks. Therefore, goal-setting is healthy practice for organization in all areas of life.
  4. Relationships. Healthy goals push girls to look up to more accomplished people as a source of inspiration and accountability. When you have your own goals, you are less likely to feel jealous of or competitive with other successful people. Therefore, healthy goals foster positive.
  5. Overall Happiness. Strong goals and big dreams for the future help girls feel productive in their daily tasks. It fosters optimism for the future and brings about mental health benefits as well as more positive mood overall.

We know that you will grow up to be empowered, successful women. That's why we encourage you--and all girls--to take the time to consider your values and set goals that get results.

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know how you’re setting goals and dreaming big. Leave a comment below.

Scientific Benefits of Staying Active

Play Like a Girl aims to keep girls active and involved in sports--especially through middle school when they're most likely to quit. Research demonstrates that being part of a team helps girls develop self confidence, communication skills, motivation, leadership skills, and countless other benefits. Beyond that, staying active does a plethora of good for your physical health.

Let’s explore the science behind the positive outcomes of exercise:


When you engage in cardiovascular activity, your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing increase. Your heart works to pump blood, which carries oxygen, throughout your body. This provides your muscles with the necessary energy to move. Doing this for an extended period of time strengthens your heart and lungs. They become more efficient, meaning they can circulate more oxygenated blood through the body using fewer breaths and pumps. Regular cardiovascular exercise results in lower blood pressure and a more healthy heart and lungs. Examples of cardiovascular exercises include running, swimming, rowing and biking -- really, any sport or activity that elevates your heart and leaves you out of breath. 


When you engage in strength training, your muscles contract and strip layers of cells off as a result of the physical exertion. During recovery, your body rebuilds the layers stripped during exertion and makes them stronger than before. Regular strength training maintains muscle mass, improves bone health, and controls body fat levels (higher amounts of muscle mass improve metabolism of fat). Also, when you maintain your muscle mass, you can prevent many kinds of injuries, as muscle is protective. Strength exercises include sit ups, push ups, pull ups, and often involve dumbbells or other kinds of weights. These types of exercises cause your muscles to feel tired the next day, which means they are rebuilding!


When you engage in flexibility training, your muscles are stretched out and blood rushes in. The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to them. Maintaining flexibility helps muscles maintain their length and strength. It is best to stretch both before and after being physically active. Stretching before exercise ensures that muscles are warmed up and oxygenated enough to reach a full range of motion. Stretching after exercise reduces tension in the muscles and ensures that they receive the nutrients to properly recover. Flexibility training includes activities like touching your toes, shoulder rolls, and any other stretches. 

When you do any type of physical activity, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that react in a positive manner with the pain receptors in your brain. The release of endorphins boosts your mood and helps your body become more resilient. These useful chemicals also help your immune system function better. 

Beyond that, exercise helps blood circulate to the brain better. The influx of blood flow to the brain stimulates it, helping you stay more awake and alert. It also aids the brain in forming new neural connections which retains plasticity, or the ability for the brain to rewire itself. Because of that, physical activity is linked to gains in academic performance.

STEM is everywhere and in every thing -- including our bodies. Be sure to consider the science behind what is happening inside your body the next time you exercise or play your favorite sport.

DIY STEM in 10 Minutes or Less

Here at Play Like a Girl, we’re gearing up for our first-ever virtual summer camp. Camp will focus on entrepreneurship and how to transform exciting STEM ideas into real-life businesses. Girls in grades 5 and 6 will develop their own products or services, while receiving mentorship from local entrepreneurs and women and men in business.

By week’s end, the girls will pitch their business ideas in a SharkTank-style competition for real money to bring an idea to life. Camp will definitely be an exciting week! 

To get your girls’ creative juices flowing, below are some easy at-home STEM projects that can be done in 10 minutes or less.

Balloon Magic

Bernoulli’s principle states that fast moving air has lower pressure than slow moving air. This principle can be illustrated through a simple experiment using balloons, string, tape, a paper towel tube, and a door.

To begin, inflate the balloons and attach them to the top of a door about four inches apart. Then, pick up the tube and blow air through the gap between the balloons.

Do the balloons move? If the experiment is done correctly, they should move towards each other, rather than away from each other, as one might expect, illustrating the concept of Bernoulli’s principle. 

Orange Fizz

When acids and bases mix, a chemical reaction occurs, releasing carbon dioxide bubbles (the same stuff that makes soda fizzy!). You can easily experiment with this at home using oranges, which contain citric acid and baking soda, a base.

Simply slice an orange and dip the slice into baking soda so that it coats the surface of the orange. Then, take a bite into your experiment. It should start bubbling right in your mouth as you chew!

Bucket Excitement

Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion wants to stay in motion. Therefore, when an object is spinning around in a circle, it wants to continue moving in a straight line unless force is applied in another direction. This can be demonstrated through water in a bucket.

First and most importantly, try this experiment outside. Fill any size bucket three-fourths of the way with water - make sure it is not too heavy. Swing it back and forth, increasing in speed until you can swing it all the way around, allowing it to go upside down. The desire of the water to keep moving in a straight line is what is known as inertia.

This should keep it in the bucket, despite gravity pulling it towards the ground, as long as you are swinging fast enough. 


Snap a few pictures or videos of you trying these experiments, tag @iplaylikeagirl and #girlsrockSTEM and share on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. We just might reshare your post on our pages.