Putting our school shoes to the test + 5 sidewalk chalk games that get kids moving.

Jan 14, 2014

This is a sponsored post.

My little girl is starting school this year! It is only a matter of weeks before she straps up her velcro, slings her gigantic bag over her shoulder and begins her career as a school kid. It's a very exciting and nerve-wraking time, and I'm not just talking about for her. I am busy labelling every single thing that might leave this house, getting together all the lunch box supplies and generally trying to get everything organised so that we're ready to roll on that first day. 

A very important part, for us, was getting really good school shoes. After all, they are in them all the time and as a teacher myself, I've seen how hard kids put their shoes to the test. 
Whilst the school we've chosen is quite relaxed on the choice of black school shoes or runners, my little girl has been looking forward to her own pair of "proper girl school shoes." I liked the idea of how nice they looked with the school uniform and for more formal occasions like school pics etc. but, I thought about how much running she was bound to be doing each day, so was leaning towards running shoes instead. 

When we were offered the opportunity to try The Athlete Foot's, Ascent range of school shoes, I jumped at the chance because they seemed to encompass the best of both worlds. Labelled, "Sports Shoes in Disguise" because they're built on Running Shoe Technology and being the only school shoes to be endorsed by the Australasian Podiatry Council (APodC) they sounded like the school shoes for us. I was certainly keen to find out.

The Fitting

I'd read of the importance of getting a professional fitting and there's no way I would have had the confidence to fit them myself. The amount of shoes that I've bought Maddie, based on her "shoe size," that have ended up hurting when she walked or not fitting right, is too many to count. I've also been through enough "cheap" shoes to know that for school shoes she was going to be in 5 days a week for hours on end, I was going to have to invest in a "good" pair. I was keen to get her fitted up properly and I was very glad I did. The sizing she ended up with was completely different than what she'd been sized as at the start of Summer.

The staff at The Athlete's Foot were really good with her and it was great to see that instead of just measuring the length of her foot, she was also measured for the width and had her balance and how she walked examined. I felt confident we were going to get a good fit.

She loved trying on the different shoes in the range and walking around the store testing them out.

And she was delighted with her chosen pair!

Putting them to the test

As with most new shoes, she wanted to wear them right away. The weather wasn't great outside so she spent the rest of the day wearing them around the house. The next day was great outside weather and she wanted to dress up like a school girl and go outside and play. The perfect chance to do all the things you can't really do inside a shop, like hopping, skipping, running and jumping. She certainly did them all.

She had a wonderful time and the shoes were great. No rubbing, no discomfort, no slipping around, no clunkiness. She didn't seem limited by them in any way and she said they made her "want to run." She has insisted on wearing them out now on a number of occasions (even when they don't go with her outfit at all) and I am really glad that we have them. I feel confident that they are going to be great at school. Now the next test will be to see how long they last... I have high hopes that so long as she doesn't have a major foot growth over the year (they allowed a good amount of room for growth in the fitting), they should last us a decent amount of time. :)

5 Sidewalk Chalk games that get kids moving.

One of the things that Maddie requested doing when we were playing in the front yard was for me to draw her a game of Hopscotch. She must have seen it being played on tv or in books by "school kids" so wanted to play it too in her new school shoes. She enjoyed playing it and it was a great way to encourage her to get moving, using only the concrete and some chalk. I decided I should find some more great games using the same materials so that we could mix it up a bit. Here they are.

1. Hopscotch (there are different variations around. This is how we play)
  • Draw 10 numbered boxes as shown. Single boxes are for hopping on one foot and the double boxes are jumped in with one foot in each.
  • Player throws a stone or stick into the first box. It must land in the box without touching the edges.
  • Player jumps or hops over the box with the stick/stone and hops and jumps up to the top.
  • Player turns on one foot at the top and hop/jumps back the same way until they reach the box before the one with the stick. 
  • Player must stop in that box and pick up the stick while still balancing. They then continue to the end.
  • Repeat with each number.
  • If players miss the correct numbered box or hop/jump on the lines, they must start again or let someone else have their turn. (Depending on whether you're playing solo or with friends)

2. Outdoor Alphabet Track by I Can Teach My Child

3. Human Board Game by True Aim Education

4. Sight Word Twister by A Mom with a Lesson Plan

5. Colour Jump Maze by Little Hands, Big Work

All of the games look like great fun. We can't wait to give them a go. Not only are they great for gross motor but they are all educational too! Shhhh, we won't tell if you don't.

Giveaway * Please note this giveaway has now ended.

Thanks to the good people at Ascent Shoes, we have 1 pair of Ascent school shoes to giveaway to one of our Australian readers, valued at up to $139.95.

Ascent School Shoes are "Sports Shoes in Disguise" and are exclusive to the Athletes Foot. Some models even come with a 6 month outsole warranty which is great if you have a child who wears hard on the soles. You can find out more details about range of Ascent school shoes on the Ascent Footwear 'School Shoe' webpage and the Ascent Footwear Facebook page.

How to enter. Answer the following question in the comment section below.

What does your back to school routine look like? Do school shoes feature?

Terms and Conditions:
- Australian entries only
- Entries close 5:00 pm AEDST on Tuesday 21 January 2014
- See full terms and conditions here
- Please leave an email address so that we can contact you if your comment is chosen (especially if you post under anonymous) 

****Congratulations to our winner, Kate Young****
Please contact us to claim your prize.

If you win, don't forget to pop into the Athlete's foot for a professional fitting to make sure that you choose the perfect fit and size for your child. We're glad we did.

Happy playing, 
Debs :)

{Disclosure: this is a paid post for Ascent shoes sponsored by Nuffnang. We received a pair of school shoes to review. As always, opinions expressed in this post are my own and my children's.}

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