Throughout 2022, we are celebrating our 230th year at the forefront of footwear, by supporting the NSPCC. Through fundraising activities, shoe donations and an exclusive collection, we hope to provide measurable impact to the NSPCC as they work to support children, young people and families.
Each year the NSPCC celebrates Childhood Day, a landmark day that brings people across the UK together for a day of play, fundraising and action to keep children safe. This year, Childhood Day is on Friday 10th June, and we’re excited to launch our exclusive new canvas style in time for the event to support the fundraising effort, with 10% of each purchase of the shoe donated to the NSPCC.
Central to Childhood Day is the theme: Play. In the NSPCC’s words:
"Play is, of course, fun. It’s how children explore the world and it’s the ultimate expression of the best of childhood. But it’s also powerful. Play can teach, inspire and even heal. Play can keep us fit, help us concentrate longer, be more creative and feel calmer and happier. You can play anywhere, on any budget. It gets us talking. It breaks down barriers and helps us to connect – children and adults alike."
At Start-Rite we put children front and centre. We work very hard to understand how children develop and grow, how they move and interact and what will appeal to them. Children inspire our growth and development, motivating us to be the very best business that we can be.
During our research, we are fascinated by physical play and the opportunity that play provides for a child’s developing body and emotional wellbeing. Did you know that when a parent or carer is involved with a child’s physical play, providing purpose to a game, for example, chasing a flag, or running from one point to another, a child will develop a sense of confidence in their physical capability that can grow into an emotional and intellectual confidence as they mature?
Physical play is also critical to movement which is the bedrock for early development. In the first five years of life, humans go through such dramatic changes in their physical, social and cognitive skills. By the time they start school, children will be able to walk, run, jump, skip, hop, as well as manipulate objects such as balls, bats, forks and pens. They will also have increased their body mass by 500%!
At the early stage around 12-24 months, a baby comes on leaps and bounds in their development, taking their first steps, standing upright and developing specific movement skills from engaging in specific activities. The NSPCC's Look, Say, Sing, Play resource is full of tips an activities to help develop your baby's brain . A child’s muscles, nerves, reflexes, bones and brains are all developing at an amazingly rapid pace. Once the toddling stage is over the child is moving with more confidence.
This is such a significant period of rapid change for children where they are developing the array of motor skills necessary to perform physical activity. Motor skills categories include locomotion, object control, co-ordination and balance. Competence in these motor skills by the age of three to five years has shown to positively relate to key health markers and adherence to physical activity later in life.
Time spent outside, free physical play without restraints, playing with older children and daily play with age appropriate toys all contribute to improved development. Furthermore, increased physical activity in this age group has been found to have a positive relationship with cardiometabolic health indicators, and bone mineral density, as well as promoting a fit and healthy lifestyle. There is also emerging evidence that organised sports positively influence two to five-year-old children, psychologically, emotionally and socially.
Overall, ensuring that a child up to the age of five has the freedom to play and a variety of stimulation – both organised and unstructured – will allow the child to develop a well-rounded set of motor skills, and subsequently assist in adherence to physical activity in later childhood and adolescence.
This Childhood Day, we are proud to help the NSPCC get the UK playing by installing a canvas play tent featuring the fun TV character Tractor Ted in our outlet shop at head office. We want to encourage little adventurers who enter our shop to jump out of their strollers and explore inside, entering into their own world of imagination, inspired by Tractor Ted. Find out how else you can get involved.
Please also look out for NSPCC ambassadors on our social channels talking about how they use play in their everyday to support their own children’s healthy development.