CLIMBING: It’s Not What it Looks Like

By Lauren O’Brien

It sounds like such a simple activity – climbing. But, when your child climbs, they are building and testing parts of themselves that will benefit them for their ENTIRE LIVES. For instance, did you know that climbing enables your child to develop parts of their brain that aid in learning how to read and write? And there are SO MANY WAYS TO CLIMB – especially at Gymboree Play & Music!

See below to see all the benefits that climbing can bring to your child’s development (for many many many years to come)!

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January Book Recommendations!

This month’s theme is GET MOVING! Our amazing programming team put together a list of book recommendations that are both fun and educational, all the while promoting body movement!

head to toe bookHead to Toe
By Eric Carle
Encourages little ones to clap their hands, stomp their feet and touch their toes! Great for an active and interactive read!

 


oh! bookOH!
By Kevin Henkes
All the animals and children like to play in the snow! You can join along with all the ways the animals play in this wintry active read-a-loud!


lets play bookLet’s Play!
By Herve Tullet
Can you wiggle, slide, jump? Follow along with little yellow dot, as he explores movement and emotions. Excellent for reading aloud and repeating the actions!


little yogaLittle Yoga
By Rebecca Witford and Martina Selway
Toddlers first introduction to yoga! Beautiful illustrations model how to move into these child friendly poses! Join in on the fun!


bear hunt bookWe’re Going on a Bear Hunt
By Michael Rosen
Can’t go under it, can’t go over it, gotta go through it! This classic is an incredible book for imagination, directional vocabulary and for acting it out! Don’t let the bear catch you!

Easy Resolutions for Our Gymbo Families

By Lauren O’Brien

Happy 2019 to all of our Gymbo Families!

It’s a New Year and, for many, that often means New Year’s resolutions. But, you may have noticed that things got a tad more difficult once the little one(s) came into the picture — you know, things like wearing clean clothes. Resolutions may also change depending on your child’s age. Here are some easy resolutions our parents can make in 2019, broken down by age!

If you have an infant:

Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Your life feels like it’s been flipped upside down and everything is different. But, ACTUALLY, the most common advice we hear new mom’s give is to KEEP DOING YOU! Make a resolution to keep getting out there — take your little one wherever you used to go, because, once they start walking, it’s game over!

If you have a 1 year old:  

Yay! Your little one is finally becoming an interactive little human! Around one year, children start to develop their adorable little personalities — so this is a key time to GET YOUR PLAY ON!  Encourage playtime whenever possible. And the great part of this resolution? It’s so easy…and won’t be given up on January 5th.

If you have a toddler:

Has your little one started to request that you turn into a monster or princess or animal? Your little toddler’s mind is abuzz with the many possibilities of the world. They’re starting to discover and understand the power of their imagination — and that they can recreate their favorite things in THEIR MIND! It’s difficult not to take over, but make a resolution to let them take the lead during playtime and encourage their elaborate imagination (even if it means you’re always the evil stepmother)!

With that building imagination can also come messiness. Just remember, there’s a difference between mess and filth! Stuffed animals all over the couch? That’s your child imagining that their friends need a comfortable place to sit! When encouraging your toddler’s imagination, sometimes that means accepting clutter, chaos and messiness. So, this year we say EMBRACE the imagination and the mess that comes with it!

If you have a 4-5 year old:

Your little one is out in the real world and has started school! Boundaries and rules will become a key lesson in school, which is great! But, keep in mind that unstructured or “free” play time is still important for their growing minds. That means, play time where they get to decide what THEY want to do. “Free” play time allows little ones to practice decision-making skills and discover their own interests and hobbies. So, for our parents with school-age kiddos, make a resolution to schedule UNSCHEDULED playtime!

Start your year off right! CLICK HERE TO ENROLL NOW and pay $0 Initiation Fee! 

Holiday Letter from Gymboree Play & Music CEO

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December 21, 2018

Dear Friends,

I want to celebrate this holiday season by thanking all of you for being a part of our Play & Music family. You have trusted us with the development of your children, you’ve shared birthdays and holidays with us, and we’ve been able to play and learn alongside you and your children. For that we are so thankful.

Since Play & Music became a stand-alone company a few years ago, independent from the Gymboree Clothing company, we’ve opened new locations all over the world. Every week we play with more than 500,000 families in more than 45 countries. We love what we do and we plan to keep doing it for the next generation of children.

My family has been a part of Gymboree Play & Music for almost 30 years as members, teachers, franchise owners, and now CEO. A lot has changed over the years – clipboards turned into IPads, shoe boxes turned into computers, equipment was upgraded, newspaper ads turned into Facebook posts. But in the classroom, children still explore everything around them, parents learn alongside their babies, and play is still the best and most enjoyable way for children to learn.

What makes our programs special are the people who deliver them every day – our teachers. They come from all over the world, but they all share a love of helping children play, explore, socialize and meet adventure head-on. Children can always come into our classes and have fun with the playscapes but our teachers enhance the experience, and create opportunities that may not be obvious, but all of a sudden are right there. We celebrate these teachers and thank them for their devotion to all of our children.

2019 is shaping up to be another great year for Gymboree Play & Music. We’ll be opening more centers on virtually every continent, upgrading our technology so our families can schedule classes from an App, increasing the size and scope of our teacher training programs and making it easier for families to connect with one another.

On behalf of all of our teachers, franchise owners and corporate staff, I’m proud to say Gymboree Play & Music will be inspiring parents and children to play together this year, next year and for many years to come. Thank you for being part of our ever-growing community of people who care about giving children the very best of early childhood.

Let’s all have a great holiday with our families, celebrating our children and keeping them close to our hearts.

Sincerely,
Danny Softness
CEO, North America
Gymboree Play & Music

Our Year in Review

By: Lauren O’Brien

Wrapping up the year always sparks some internal reflection. We took a look back on moments and milestones of the year and realized we accomplished A LOT! So, we took the liberty of doing a little math to help paint a beautiful picture of all things Gymboree Play & Music in 2018!

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*All numbers are based off of data for North America Gymobree Play & Music locations  

Meet GymboFams Ambassador Brie

My name is Brie Donel, my family started at Gymboree Play & Music at the Westside Pavilion mall in Los Angeles back in 2012 when my first child was 13 months. Alex was (and still is!) a little boy with an endless supply of energy! When he started he was only just beginning to cruise but within a few short weeks he was walking and running! As he grew older, it became apparent he was developmentally delayed and was eventually diagnosed with Autism just before the age of 3.

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The staff at Gymboree Play & Music were so incredibly supportive of us during that difficult time and when he struggled with being at a typical preschool, he thrived at Gymboree Play & Music’s school skills. He was happy there, comfortable and knew his teachers well. When he turned 5 and had to move on it was a very emotional day for us all. After Alex graduated we stopped by our Gymboree Play & Music whenever we were at the mall so he could see his old teachers.

I had my second child, another boy, named Oliver, in 2017. I brought Oliver to the Gymboree Play & Music Baby Lab when he was 6 months old and he has been attending ever since. The best part? One of Alex’s former teachers still works at Gymboree Play & Music and is now Oliver’s teacher! Alex will come with us to watch Oliver play and to continue his bond with the teacher he has known since he was one.

Our Gymboree Play & Music holds such a special place in my heart which is why I am so excited to join the GymboFams team! I hope one day when my boys are both grown up to even work for Gymboree Play & Music myself. That is how much I love it there!

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You can follow Brie at: https://www.instagram.com/briedonelphotography/

What’s In a Hug?

By: Lauren O’Brien

The holidays can mean lots and lots of affection. Maybe you’re not looking forward to Great Aunt Jan’s inevitable kiss on the lips, but did you know that giving your kiddos daily physical affection can significantly help their early childhood development?

Research shows that it’s not only important that children KNOW they are loved but to also FEEL that they are loved.  The saying “actions speak louder than words” is quite applicable when it comes to child rearing! Physical affection communicates a message of safety and trust. When your child feels that safety, they are more open to explore the world around them and try new things.

But, other than smothering your children in kisses and hugs, what are other physical ways to show them you love them? And, maybe you need some ideas on how to mix it up. Well, that’s what we’re here for!

Here are five ways to incorporate more love and affection into your home:

  • Mix it up: There are SO many ways to show affection: Winks, high fives, rubbing noses, back rubs, piggy-back-rides, dancing…even rough housing counts!  
  • Surprise them: A surprise hug can make your kiddo feel extra special. Maybe they made you laugh or did something extra sweet for their sibling. Sometimes those random gestures can be more meaningful than the routine kisses goodbye.
  • Remind yourself: Let’s face it, life is busy! And, when we’re busy, the moment can sweep right passed us. So, it’s OK to set a reminder on your phone to help remember to show a little spontaneous affection!
  • Hug even when they mess up: You might be angry that they just hit their sibling, but if you show affection while disciplining, it actually helps them listen to what you’re saying. And, sometimes when they’re feeling bad about being yelled at, a little hug communicates that you still love them even though they made a mistake.
  • Play games: Playing games like Red Rover and Tag brings the family together in a fun, physical way.

Make A Melted Snowman!

Looking for a way to entertain the kids in December? How about creating some easy age appropriate art? Kids under 5 will love imagining a melted snowman and then sharing their creation with family and friends.

Materials:

  • Blue Construction Paper
  • White Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Googly Eyes
  • Pre-Cut Snowman Accessories (or make your own)

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Directions:

  • Give your child a piece of blue construction paper along with a paint brush and a cup of white paint. Invite them to begin painting  their “melted snowman”. Talk about how a melted snowman might look and feel.
  • While the paint is still wet have children stick the snowman parts (hat, arms, scarf, nose, eyes) directly onto their melted snowman. Talk about the shapes as you go.

Have them sign their name and enjoy!

Meet GymboFams Ambassador Kaci

Hello, I am Kaci and my son Logan has been attending Gymboree Play & Music in Forest Hills for a few months now. I honestly wish we had started earlier with him and will do so whenever we have more children!

love seeing him interacting with the others in the class, he bends down and babbles in their faces, and also his amazing ability to pick up on things so quickly. He is always learning something new and I don’t think he would be able to do this without his time at Gymboree Play & Music.


He is such an active and curious child that taking him to Open Gyms has been a lifesaver! Going to the park is fun but Logan tends to get himself into places he shouldn’t and try to run around areas with the teenagers. Open gym lets him run around, release his energy, and do so in a positive way.

Follow Kaci on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/mommyhiggs28/

Some Relatable Holiday Memes to Get Us Through the Greatest Time of the Year!

We know the holidays can be both joyous and nightmarish for parents. So, to help get you through the season, we’ve scoured the internet for some hilarious memes. Enjoy!

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way…nothing is going to be how you envisioned or planned…

With holiday pictures…

expectation vs reality holiday

And maybe that cute holiday treat you found on Pinterest that looked so easy to make…

Just remember that you’re not alone…

So, take the advice of flight attendants – take care of yourself before others…

Because, for a lot of you, December 1st means Elf on the Shelf!

At first you might get really creative…

Eventually you might start using it for evil…

View this post on Instagram

This. Is. The. Truth! 🙌

A post shared by Sharyn Kauffman Brigantic (@sharynbrigantic) on

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM EVERYONE AT GYMBOREE PLAY & MUSIC!