A woman and a man walking on a path in a park. A 1-in-20 challenge logo sits next to the left of them. Below the logo is the text "120km in October for the 1-in-20 grieving kids".

1-in-20 Challenge: Taking Steps for Grieving Kids

What is the 1-in-20 Challenge? 

In Australia 1-in-20 children will lose a parent before they reach the age of 18. Every family that is struggling with grief deserves support, and together we can make a difference!  

Walk or run 120km for grieving kids and their families, or start by aiming to raise a goal of $120. Together we can fund camps, research, and build on resources to help grieving kids across Australia.  

By completing the 1-in-20 Challenge not only will you help grieving kids heal, but you and your family can gain from the health and wellbeing benefits of the challenge.  

Benefits of Exercise in Adults and Children: 

  • Improved mood state – Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins. These hormones can help our mood and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.  
  • Lower levels of stress – Engaging in physical activity can lead to a sense of relaxation and calmness, helping to alleviate stress and tension. 
  • Boost in self-esteem – Exercise can lead to a sense of accomplishment, which can contribute to an improvement in self-esteem and self-confidence. 
  • Improved sleep – Regular physical activity can contribute to better sleep quality for children and adults. 
  • Distraction – Exercise can be a helpful distraction from negative thoughts and ruminations.  
  • Social interaction – Participating in group physical activities can provide children and adults with opportunities to interact with others, develop friendships, and improve their social skills. These interactions can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, fostering a sense of belonging.  
  • Emotional regulation – Physical activity provides a constructive outlet for negative feelings. Engaging in physical activity can teach children how to manage their emotions in a healthy way. 
  • Cognitive benefits – Exercise has been shown to enhance cognitive function and brain health. 
Girl walking with a dog on a path next to the beach.
Feel the Magic Camper, Emily, participating in this year’s 1-in-20 Challenge

Interview with Serenity McEwin, Pediatric Occupational Therapist

If you aren’t already inspired to continue to take part, or sign up, one of our incredible Feel the Magic volunteers has provided us with expert knowledge on the benefits of the 1-in-20 Challenge.  

Serenity McEwin is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist supporting children and young people to be as independent as possible with the things they need and want to be doing. Serenity has answered some of our questions about the benefits of the challenge from her professional perspective.  

From your OT perspective, what are the general benefits of exercise? 

  • Increases our physical health, mental health, and quality of life. 
  • Increases neural connections in the brain and enhances communication between both sides of our brain which positively impacts our cognition, ability to learn, our behaviour, and our attention.  
  • Regulates our sensory and nervous systems – movement can be calming or alerting.  
  • Helps to develop the fine and gross motor skills needed for learning, play, and everyday life skills. 
  • Can alleviate sleep-related problems.  

From your OT perspective, what are the benefits of walking and talking for language development?  

Walking and movement wakes our brain up. Neuroscience shows us that movement improves the brains cognitive regulation skills, that is, the ability to focus, think clearly and logically, plan, organise, create and be empathetic. Therefore, we can expect the quality of our conversations during a walk to be greater.  

    A walk and talk is an opportunity for back-and-forth conversation, which activates the part of our brain responsible for language production and processing.  

    During a walk, parents can model and facilitate asking questions, making comments, and expanding on words and ideas.

    Why is the 1-in-20 Challenge beneficial for grieving kids? 

    Research shows us that taking a sideways approach to talking with our kids (conversing while engaged in an activity, where eye contact is optional) helps them to feel more comfortable and relaxed, which leads to more open communication.  

      In terms of walking and talking, exercise releases endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, and positive social connection releases oxytocin, all of which are feel good chemicals that promote feelings of happiness and wellbeing. These feel-good chemicals give us the power to regulate our emotional responses and relieve discomfort.  

      Walking also provides an escape from grief through distraction – and even better if out in nature, which is shown to lower the stress hormone cortisol.  

      Why are family activities beneficial from your perspective? 

      Family group activities help us to feel seen, heard and valued – they increase our sense of connection to our caregivers and/or siblings. The more connected we feel to others, the less likely we will respond with maladaptive behaviours when times get tough, and the more likely we are to bounce back after hardship.  

        Connection also supports us to develop social skills so that we can increase connections outside of our family, a factor which is strongly linked to wellbeing. 

        Father and daughter smiling
        Emily and her Dad, Geoff

        Benefits of exercising as a family: 

        One of the greatest benefits of this challenge is the social interaction that it facilitates for grieving families. Whether you undertake this challenge as a family, with friends, or with other grieving families in the Feel the Magic community, exercising with others can have numerous benefits that extend beyond our physical health.  

        Some of the benefits of exercising as a family include: 

        • Quality time – Exercising together allows for dedicated quality time, away from screens and daily distractions. 
        • Role modelling – A parent/guardian who prioritises exercise sets a positive example for children. 
        • Positive memories – Shared physical activities can create positive associations with exercise for children. 
        • Teamwork and cooperation – Exercising as a family can foster stronger family bonds through teamwork and cooperation.  
        • Communication – Exercising together provides opportunities for open communication, allowing family members to share thoughts and connect.  
        • Social interaction – Exercising with others enhances interpersonal skills and strengthens relationships. 

        Now that you know the benefits of participating in the 1-in-20 Challenge, it’s not too late to join if you haven’t signed up yet. Here is how you can take part: 

        1. Set up your profile as an individual or as a team and invite others to participate 
        1. Tell your colleagues, family and friends and ask for donations 
        1. Feel good knowing every step you take will change the lives of grieving kids 

        Check out Serenity’s pages: 


        Group of six men in cycling gear on top of a hill

        Magic Ride 2023 aims to raise $150k to send 100 kids to Camp Magic

        Magic Ride kicks off at 8.30 am on Thursday 13 April 2023. 33 riders will cycle 500km over four days to raise $150,000 to fund 100 kids to attend Camp Magic, Feel the Magic’s signature three-day camp for grieving kids.

        Riders will cross the finish line to the cheers of Campers at Camp Magic, Birrigia Outdoor School, Tharwa on Sunday 16th April at 1.50 pm.

        Raising funds to support grieving kids and families

        Adam Blatch, Chief Executive Officer Feel the Magic, who is also part of the dedicated riding crew, is grateful to the 33 riders, their donors and support crew for their commitment and effort.

        1 in 20 kids in Australia will experience the death of a parent before they turn 18, that’s just over 300,000 children or one in every classroom. Based on this, we are all likely to know a family affected by parent loss. In addition to this, kids also experience sibling loss.

        Bereaved young people commonly suffer challenges including anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, which contributes to the nearly one-quarter of young people in Australia who experience some form of mental health challenge. We aim to reduce the mental health challenges associated with childhood grief and provide the education, support and community for kids to live healthily with grief”.

        Mike Tomalaris, Australian news and sports presenter has anchored the world’s biggest annual sporting event on Australian television for 26 years and seen the Tour de France coverage develop to be the spectacle it is today.

        Mike will join the riding crew on day four, Sunday 16th April cycling 67km to arrive at the finish line at Camp Magic, Birrigai Outdoor School, Tharwa ACT.

        Magic Ride – A Vital Community Fundraiser

        From its beginnings in 2020, Magic Ride has become a vital community fundraiser to help fund camps, research and resources for grieving kids and families. All Feel the Magic camps, programs and resources are free of charge (and some camps are virtual) so there is no barrier to families seeking the support they need.

        Since 2020, the generosity of Magic Riders, sponsors and supporters has enabled Feel the Magic to:

        • Raise almost $282k so far
        • Fund 4 Camp Magic camps
        • Educate 188 children through the Camp Magic experience

        Read more about Magic Ride 2023 and Feel the Magic in the press release.

        Helping Children Navigate Their Grief

        The Power of Reading: Helping Children Navigate Their Grief

        Grieving is a process that unfolds differently for every child and adult. Grieving children and teens might find it difficult to talk about their loss right away, and some may show signs of fear and need extra reassurance. 

        Reading books about death and loss can help a child better understand what has happened and realise that they’re not alone.  

        Some children might be ready to connect with books immediately after the death, others might be more ready in the weeks and months following the death. Either way, books can serve as tools to help children process their grief and feel less alone. 

        Reading books can show grieving children characters who have experienced something similar. Books can also help children understand complex feelings, explain the facts and permanence of death, or even help children connect with memories of their lost loved one.  

        Here are some tips for choosing helpful books and some recommendations for various age groups.

        Books for children aged 4-7 years olds

        Around this age, children begin to develop an understanding of death. Younger kids might feel responsible for the death of a loved one, or they might have magical thoughts that their behaviour could bring the person back. 

        Tips for choosing helpful books for 4–7 year olds 

        Look for books:

        • that help explain the basic facts about death 
        • in which characters feel multiple feelings simultaneously. Books can help kids understand that it is possible, and normal, to feel many things at once 
        • that show there is no “right way” to feel, grieve or express sadness or worry
        Woman and child standing together smiling wearing blue Camp Magic tshirts
        Mentor and Camper at Camp

        Book recommendations

        Books for children aged 8-12 years

        Bereaved children within this age group generally understand that death is permanent. However, they might still have confused or magical thinking that something they could’ve done differently would have prevented the death. They might fixate on the details of their family member’s death.  

        Man and child standing together smiling wearing blue Camp Magic tshirts
        Mentor and Camper at Camp

        Tips for choosing helpful books for 8–12 years

        Look for books that:

        • feature characters that the child will see their own culture, family structures, and life experiences reflected.  
        • allow characters to express a range of emotions and behaviours after experiencing a loss. This is important to show children that there is no “right way” to process grief. 
        • are age-appropriate for individual children both in content and reading abilities.  

        Book recommendations

        Books for children aged 13-17 years

        It is important to approach bereaved teenagers with compassion while maintaining boundaries. It is common for grief to manifest as anger in teens, and they might withdraw from school or act out in disruptive ways. Encourage them to find ways to express what they are feeling, and if they are willing to share with you, actively listen and validate the emotions being expressed.

        Tips for choosing helpful books for 13–17 years 

        • feature characters that the child will see their own culture, family structures, and life experiences reflected.   
        • allow characters to express a range of emotions and behaviours after experiencing a loss. This is important to show children that there is no “right way” to process grief.  
        • are age-appropriate for individual children both in content and reading abilities.    

        Book recommendations

        Some reflection questions

        Reading can be used as a fun way to encourage young children and teenagers alike to talk about the death of their family member and their grief with a parent or other trusted adult.

        We have compiled some questions you can give your child that will help them connect more with the book they’ve read and allow them to express feelings.

        1. It can be confusing to feel more than one feeling at once, like the character in the book we read. What are some feelings that a person may feel at the same time? Would you like to share anything about times when you have felt more than one feeling, such as feeling angry with someone and missing them, or feeling sad about something but happy at the same time?  
        1. What did the character feel after the loss? How did those feelings change over time?  
        1. It is hard to feel big feelings. How did the characters in the book feel? How do their feelings affect their behaviours? Have you noticed any ways that your feelings and behaviours are connected? Are there certain things that you do when you feel sad, angry, or confused?  
        1. What strategies did the character use to cope with their feelings? Which of the strategies seemed to be the most helpful for this character?  
        1. What would you like to say to the character experiencing grief? What things did other characters say or do that were the most helpful to the grieving character?  
        1. Would you like to talk about, write about, or draw any of your favourite memories of the person who died? Is there another way that you would like to remember or celebrate that person  
        1. How did the loss affect the character’s feelings of safety or security?  
        1. How did the character continue to feel connected to their loved one or to remember them after the death? How can you remember loved ones after they die? What can you do to stay connected to them and celebrate their memory?  

        Helping children navigate grief through books allows them to feel connected with others, giving them the confidence to express difficult feelings like anxiety and anger. For more advice on how to help your child cope after a parent or other family member has died, visit our Grief Resource Hub.

        Read More

        Parenting Resources for Children and Teens

        What to Say to a Child When a Parent Dies

        A Guide on How to Teach Children About Death

        Helpful Activities for Grieving Children and Teenagers

        7 Helpful Activities for Grieving Children and Teenagers

        Coping with grief following the death of a loved one is particularly challenging and often confusing for children and teenagers.

        Grieving children may feel numb and angry at the same time, while also dealing with both excess energy and exhaustion.

        No two children or teens react to grief in the same way, but there are a variety of coping strategies, resources and activities to support children through their grief journey.

        Activities may also be useful when supporting children and teens through anniversaries and significant events relating to a family member’s death.

        Drawing of a tangled ball of grief

        My Tangled Ball of Grief

        A helpful grief activity for children is to create their own tangled ball of grief art. All you need is paper and either markers, crayons or coloured pencils.

        Your child can create a key and then choose a different colour to represent each different emotion to then draw their own tangled ball of grief.

        You can also use this art activity to talk with your child about what colours are most prominent, and why.

        Six hand drawn hearts with white background

        Thankful Hearts

        Print this page and your child writes what they are thankful for on each heart. Younger children can draw what they are thankful for. Cut out the hearts and place them on the refrigerator, put them in a bowl, or keep them in your pockets. Read them together each morning as you begin your day. This activity is helpful for grieving children as it builds gratitude and appreciation.

        A picture of a box with memories in it

        Memory Box

        A meaningful activity for grieving kids is to create a memory box.

        You can use a shoebox or another box, decorate it and fill it with memorable items such as cards, drawings, personal items and photographs.

        Your child may want to continue adding memories to the box as time goes by.

        This is a great way to support children through the grief process by dedicating some time to fondly remember the person who has died.

        Cardboard box with cardboard tube poking out of the top. On the front of the box are the words 'LET IT OUT!' written on the front.

        Scream Box

        When kids of any age are going through the grieving process, they will experience a range of emotions, including anger and frustration. Sometimes instead of wanting to talk, they may just feel like screaming.

        This can be appealing to children and easily made with things you’ll likely have around the house.

        Using an empty box, such as a cereal box, fill it with crumpled paper (e.g., paper towel, newspapers) and close the top of the box.

        Using a paper towel tube, mark a circle on the top of the box and then cut out the hole.

        Tape the paper towel tube to the hole and decorate the box. When you’re ready, scream into the box!

        A small glass jar filled with different pieces of folded coloured paper

        Jar of Memories

        A meaningful activity for grieving children is to create a jar of happy memories.

        Together with your child, write down your favourite memories of the special person who died.

        Place the memories notes in a jar. Randomly take a memory out of the jar to remember the person.

        It can also be helpful to read the memories out loud together.

        An acrostic poem that reads

        Acrostic Poem

        When a child has lost a family member, a healthy way for them to grieve and manage their emotions is to use creativity and art.  

        By taking the name of their loved one who died, children are encouraged to reflect on the positive qualities of their loved one.  

        • Write down the person’s name vertically on the left side of a piece of paper. 
        • Write descriptive words using the first letter of the word. 
        • Encourage children to be creative and use colours, glitter and other crafts.  
        A photo taken from above of someone creating beaded bracelets

        Memory Bracelet

        A meaningful activity for grieving children and teens is to create a memory bracelet to represent their loved one.

        Using objects like beads and jewellery can be a good way for a child to tell a story about their loved one.

        It is also something they can wear when they are missing their loved one. Different colours could represent different emotions, or memories, or anything else they wish to convey.

        For more information about the bereavement programs, grief activities and support we offer to help grieving kids heal, click here.  

        Read More

        Connection Activities for Grieving Kids and Families

        Grief-Related Kids Books, Movies and Novels

        Parent and Guardian Grief Resources

        Camp Magic mentor and Camper standing together with blue Camp Magic t-shirts on

        Transitioning to Adulthood as a Grieving Adolescent

        Adolescence is a time of significant change in the realms of physical, psychological and social domains.

        Adolescents that are transitioning to adulthood will commonly experience various challenges throughout their journey. For grieving adolescents, these challenges are often intensified and may be more difficult to navigate.

        Adolescents express and process grief in a variety of ways depending on various factors, including the context of bereavement, support systems, age and personality. The support of a parent, guardian or mentor is essential to guide bereaved adolescents and help them develop coping skills to help them navigate this challenging period.

        The importance of structure, routine and boundaries

        Ordinarily, adolescents transitioning to adulthood may be led through scaffolded rites of passage. For bereaved adolescents, their transition period may lack guidance and stability. Thus, developing structure and routine is extremely important for adolescents to cope with the many changes throughout their journey.

        Developing structure for a bereaved adolescent will require careful consideration of their unique circumstances. Some bereaved adolescents may be more reliant or dependent on those around them, whilst others may have taken on larger responsibilities and assumed empty roles. No matter the circumstances, the transition will be difficult, and it is important to develop structure to enable both independence and stability.

        Another beneficial tip to supporting bereaved adolescents in transitioning to adulthood is establishing clear boundaries together. Boundaries can help to foster trust and respect, and they are best established through active listening, open communication and negotiation. The process of establishing boundaries together will develop independence and informed decision-making, ensuring your adolescent feels safe and supported.

        Be aware that adolescents are more likely to be open and collaborative in setting boundaries if the conversation feels like a respectful negotiation. Maintaining an open line of communication is essential, especially throughout the time period where change is occurring. Bottling up feelings can be detrimental, so it is important to provide them with the space and permission to express their emotions and feelings.

        Providing a support system

        It is important to ensure that adolescents bereaved by a significant loss have an adequate support system. They may feel the overwhelming loss of someone who helped shape their fragile self-identity.

        A counsellor, trusted adult, teacher, friends or close family members are some examples of individuals that are key figures that make up a support system for an adolescent.

        It is also important to consider that adolescents may move away from their existing support network, which will lead to them being geographically distant from their family and may result in changes to their friends. This change may be particularly challenging for bereaved adolescents as they are surrounded by different people in a different environment. It is important that adolescents maintain the support of caring, open, honest and loving adults over the period of transitioning to adulthood.

        Offer empathy and compassion

        One of the most important ways to help a grieving adolescent transition to adulthood is by offering them empathy and compassion. It is undeniable that the young adult years are a time of growth, change and challenge. Navigating this period whilst coping with a major loss can have a profound effect on a young person’s social functioning, physical and mental health, and development. Showing an adolescent that they are supported, understood and cared for as they embark on a journey of transition to adulthood is crucial.

        Read More

        Tips for Supporting Teenagers through Grief

        Children’s Understanding of Death at Different Ages

        Feel the Magic 1-in-20 challenge

        The 1-in-20 Challenge is back!

        We’re inviting you to join our 1-in-20 Challenge this October – its just the excuse to take a break, get active in the outdoors and support others in our community.

        What Is The 1-in-20 Challenge?

        The challenge is to walk or run 120km this October to help fund Camps for the 1 in 20 kids left behind after the devastating loss of their Mum or Dad.

        In Australia, just over 300,000 children will lose a parent before they reach the age of 18. To put this into perspective, there is most likely a child grieving the loss of a parent in every class at school.

        Based on these statistics, we all know a family struggling with grief. Those families deserve support and we’re here to help.

        In fact, we can all help!

        Walk or run 120km for grieving kid and families, or if 120km is more than challenge for you, start by aiming to raise just $1 for every km you walk or run, or set yourself a $120 goal… but the sky is the limit!

        Last year some teams and individuals raised over $3,500!

        Together, we can fund Camps, research and resources to help grieving kids heal – we’ll also give our own mental and physical health a boost by getting outside and getting active.

        3 Easy Steps To Sign Up

        Signing up is easy.

        1. Set up your profile as an individual or as a team and invite others to participate.
        2. Tell your colleagues, family and friends and ask for donations
        3. Feel good knowing every step your take will change the lives of grieving kids.

        Plus, take these three easy steps to sign up before 1 October for your chance to win $500 worth of Havok Athletic activewear!

        Sign up now! And the next time you feel like skipping that run or walk, you can push through, knowing you’re changing lives with every step.