Have You Checked Out Our Official Gymboree Play & Music Spotify Playlists?

It goes without saying, at Gymboree Play & Music, we LOVE music! This month our corporate theme is Music to My Ears and we’re taking a deep dive into the importance of sound and melodies in early childhood development. A couple of weeks back, we published a post that had all kinds of studies about the benefits of music for children, if you missed it you can read more here. But we wanted to take it a step further. Our brand has been around for more than 45 years, and in that time we’ve been asked by parents all over the world about our own philosophy on music, and how and why we pick the songs for classes. For the most part, our Music-osophy has been under wraps, but now – we’re ready to let it out.

Listening is just one of the many ways we experience music and adds an extra layer of sensory development to our little ones’ play experience. But how do we decide what songs to add to our playlists at Gymboree Play & Music?

Studies show that listening to varying genres of music engages larger areas of the brain, helping to create new neural pathways for both cognitive and emotional development. With this in mind, we have created several specially curated playlists that feature many different genres and styles of music. Some songs are specifically catered to children, while others are written for all ages.

Children are exposed to varying rhythms, time signatures, melodies, harmonies, instruments, and even languages. Now, you can also access these playlists at home via our official Gymboree Play & Music Spotify page to listen at home with your little ones!

Our Gymbo Corp Spotify page features two types of playlists: Musical Genre-Based playlists and Theme-Based playlists. Among our Musical Genre-Based playlists, you can enjoy all the various musical genres and regional styles explored in our Music Classes.

Did you hear a recorded song in your music class that you can’t wait to listen to again? You can likely find it on the corresponding playlist.

Our Theme-Based playlists house a series of songs that are specific to a certain theme, such as Living Creatures, The Ocean/Beach, and Transportation.

Several of these themes also match up with the themes in our Play & Learn classes, so you can bring a bit of your class experience home with you!

7 Halloween Trends Every Parent Should Know in 2021

Photo Credit NRF

With the holiday season in full swing, parents everywhere are checking the trends to see what to expect this Halloween season. Lucky for you, we took the time to scour the internet and pull of the information parents are talking about the most right now.

Based on our research, here are 7 key trends each parent should know about in 2021.

1. The Importance of Blue Buckets

You might not have noticed, but in recent years, the blue Halloween bucket has become an unofficial signifier for kids with autism and autism awareness. For the most part, we’re all fairly used to the normal Halloween night practices when it comes to trick or treating. Kids typically ring the doorbell, say “trick or treat” and swiftly receive candy. The buckets are meant to inform the homeowner that the child with autism may be nonverbal, and the candy should be offered without requiring the child to speak.

You can purchase them at major retailers like Target and Walmart.

2. COVID-Friendly Alternatives to Trick or Treating

Although Trick or Treating will always be the cornerstone to Halloween, with COVID restrictions still in place in several states, some families are still opting for safe alternatives. Things like haunted hayrides and pumpkin patches, which allow people to physically distance themselves, are a popular choice this year. And for those who would prefer to stay inside, some families have been holding holiday parties with close friends and loved ones.

3. Pajamas Are The Craze

Holiday pajamas have always been a special treat around this time of year, but for families who don’t want to splurge on costumes, they are exceptionally popular. We spotted some fun options over at Hanna Andersson.

4. Costumes That Reflect All The Best Things About School

Remember when it was trendy to get an astronaut costume, or even a dinosaur? Well, this year parents are opting for costumes that are a true reflection of the sign of the times. After a year without school, some parents are looking for costumes that capture all of the best things about the classroom. So expect to see more kids in school themed costumes like this cute Lunchable from Oriental Trading Co..

5.  Squishmallows Are The Craze

Squishmallows are all the craze and in case you haven’t yet heard of them, they are these cute, squishable, plush toys that come in a variety of characters. While you shouldn’t expect to get them in your Halloween basket, they are a nice gift to get for your tot ahead of the holiday season. They are the perfect pal for the stroller, and they are cute to snuggle with. If you want to get your hands on one you might want to shop now as supply chain issues may contribute to their scarcity, come mid-November.

See the coolest options at ET.

5.  Candy Inspired Pumpkins

Decoupage pumpkins are a beautiful addition to any home this time of year, but these candy inspired options are all anyone is talking about. The way to get this look is to print some nice candy wrappers, then cut papers into strips, then use Mod Page to decorate your pumpkins. And boom! Now you have candy inspired decoupage pumpkins.

6.  Halloween Themed Family Fun Nights

Pumpkin patches, and Halloween mazes will always be a mainstay of the season, but one thing many parents are adding to their to-do list are Halloween Family Fun nights. You can plan a night to carve pumpkins, you can make cookies or you can recreate popular games like Twister – but with a spooky twist. Get instructions on this adorable DIY mat at Pint-sized Treasures.

7.  Celebrating During the Day, Instead of Night

It’s been a longstanding tradition to allow the excitement of Halloween to build throughout the day and climax in the evening whilst trick or treating and visiting different neighborhoods. But with varying COVID restrictions, traffic and extended wait times at restaurants some parents are opting out of the late night candy meltdowns. By celebrating early in the day, the kids get the entire afternoon to get the sugar in and out, allowing parents to contain the excitement to daylight hours, while still adhering to the established bedtime routine.

We spotted these fun breakfast ideas over here at Cool Mom Eats.

Build a Solid Musical Foundation with Gymboree Play & Music

We all know gentle sounds and lullabies are a way to soothe babies and create bonds. But beyond bonding, music serves a higher purpose in the early development of babies and children.

Music Classes Help Your Child Build a Solid Developmental Foundation

A 2017  study on Music Interventions and Child Development revealed that the impact of music has indicated positive effects on a variety of skills. Their findings suggest musical interventions may the potential to support educational processes and development of children. Based on our findings there are at least three distinct ways music can support your child’s growth. 

Language Development : Research shows children in transition from kindergarten to school develop fundamental skills important for the acquisition of reading and writing. Previous research pointed toward substantial correlations between specific language- and music-related competencies as well as positive transfer effects from music on pre-literacy skills. 

Strengthened hand-eye coordination : Whether its playing the violin, strumming the strings of a guitar or shaking a maraca, musical instruments  are known to enhance dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

The opportunity to develop motor skills is higher in young children and in our classes children interact with different instruments which are beneficial in developing these skills. 

Improved Mental processing : One of the lesser discussed benefits of music exposure to younger children is its ability to process events. In 2020 Neurologists found that have found that Musically trained children perform better at attention and memory recall and have greater activation in brain regions related to attention control and auditory encoding, executive functions known to be associated with improved reading, higher resilience, greater creativity, and a better quality of life.

Although these are just a few benefits, we know our classes can have a life-long impact on your child’s development. Learn more about our class offerings below and how they can help your child.

For Children Ages 6 months to 16 Months


Our Music I class is for children that are learning through listening and watching, moving, and “singing” with coos and babbles.

What to expect in class: Experience music from all around the world– music from both past and present, near and far! From The Beatles to Bach! In Music 1, children will delight in the sound of instruments, and “singing” through musical baby talk. They’ll enjoy being sung to, experiencing new sounds and the anticipation of surprise!

Benefits:

Physical: Sensory exploration time is supported while children practice their motor skills, which is crucial for your baby’s overall development.

Cognitive: Music-play helps activate parts of the brain responsible for music and speech processing. It creates an early appreciation of music and supports language development.

Social: Through music, you can hear and feel emotions. Tunes can be happy, sad, or angry! This supports social development in understanding emotions in a new way.

Adults: You get to engage with your little one making emotional connections and strong bonds. Being involved in your child’s play helps both of you feel more connected.

For Children Ages 16-28 Months

Our Music II class is for children that are ready to learn through a progression from receptive to expressive musical behavior.

What to expect in class: Experience music from all around the world-music from both past and present, near and far! From The Beatles to Bach! In Music 2, children will begin to experiment with ways to play musical instruments, accompany a song with rhythm, and act out lyrics through movements using both gross motor and fine motor skills. Children know so much about music at this stage, and are at the beginning stages of being able to express themselves musically!

Benefits:
Physical: Sensory exploration time is supported while children practice their motor skills, which is crucial for your child’s overall development.
Cognitive: Music play helps activate parts of the brain responsible for music and speech processing. It creates an early appreciation of music and supports language development.
Social: Through music, you can hear and feel emotions. Tunes can be happy, sad, or angry! This supports social development in understanding emotions in a new way.
Adults: You get to engage with your little one making emotional connections and strong bonds. Being involved in your child’s play helps both you feel more connected.

For All Ages


Our Family Music class is for children of all ages, at every stage who want to learn about music!

What to expect in class: Engage your little one in a multi-age music class which provides opportunities not only to learn musical techniques, styles, and about different instruments, but also supports social and emotional development.Benefits:

Physical: Sensory exploration time is supported while children practice their motor skills, which is crucial for your child’s overall development.

Cognitive: Music play helps activate parts of the brain responsible for music and speech processing. It creates an early appreciation of music and supports language development.

Social: Through music, you can hear and feel emotions. Tunes can be happy, sad, or angry! This supports social development in understanding emotions in a new way.

Adults: You get to engage with your little one making emotional connections and strong bonds. Being involved in your child’s play helps both you feel more connected.

Gymboree Play & Music Partners with Penguin Random House for October Book Recommendations


 

This month we’re partnering with Penguin Random House for our October book recommendations. Our October theme is Music to My Ears, so we’re highlighting three books that give children a glimpse into the lives of famous singers.

Each book selection reveals stories of triumph, cultural appreciation, and overcoming and will give your child a behind-the-scenes look at what it feels like to be a star on the rise.

This month we’ve also included ISBN details and princing information so you can purchase it from the bookstore of your choice. To learn more about each book, double click the cover art to be taken to the Penguin Random House website. And as a special treat, you can listen to snippets of the book below as well. 

About Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House is the international home to more than 300 editorially and creatively independent publishing imprints. Their mission is to ignite a universal passion for reading by creating books for everyone. They believe that books, and the stories and ideas they hold, have the unique capacity to connect us, change us, and carry us toward a better future for generations to come.

Their dedicated team of publishing professionals is committed to helping authors realize their very best work and to finding innovative new ways of bringing stories and ideas to audiences worldwide. By leveraging their global reach, embracing new technologies, and collaborating with authors at every stage of the publishing process—from editorial and design, to sales and marketing, to production and distribution—they aim to provide them with the greatest platform possible. At the same time, they fiercely protect their authors’ intellectual property and champion freedom of expression, ensuring that their voices carry beyond the page and into the folds of communities and societies around the globe.

 

Sing with Me

by Diana Lopez

An exuberant picture book celebrating the life and legacy of Selena Quintanilla, beloved Queen of Tejano music.

From a very early age, young Selena knew how to connect with people and bring them together with music. Sing with Me follows Selena’s rise to stardom, from front-lining her family’s band at rodeos and quinceañeras to performing in front of tens of thousands at the Houston Astrodome. Young readers will be empowered by Selena’s dedication–learning Spanish as a teenager, designing her own clothes, and traveling around the country with her family–sharing her pride in her Mexican-American roots and her love of music and fashion with the world.

Extra Details:

Hardcover | $17.99
Published by Dial Books
Jul 20, 2021 | 32 Pages | 8-1/2 x 11 | 4-8 years | ISBN 9780593110959

My Voice is a Trumpet

by Jimmie Allen

From rising country star Jimmie Allen comes a lyrical celebration of the many types of voices that can effect change.

From voices tall as a tree, to voices small as a bee, all it takes is confidence and a belief in the goodness of others to change the world. Coming at a time when issues of social justice are at the forefront of our society, this is the perfect book to teach children in and out of the classroom that they’re not too young to express what they believe in and that all voices are valuable.
 
The perfect companion for little readers going back to school!

Extra Details:

Hardcover | $17.99
Published by Flamingo Books
Jul 13, 2021 | 32 Pages | 9-1/4 x 9-1/2 | 3-7 years | ISBN 9780593352182

Nina : A Story of Nina Simone

by Traci Todd

This illuminating and defining picture book biography illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Christian Robinson, tells the story of little Eunice who grew up to become the acclaimed singer Nina Simone and her bold, defiant, and exultant legacy.

Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in small-town North Carolina, Nina Simone was a musical child. She sang before she talked and learned to play piano at a very young age. With the support of her family and community, she received music lessons that introduced her to classical composers like Bach who remained with her and influenced her music throughout her life. She loved the way his music began softly and then tumbled to thunder, like her mother’s preaching, and in much the same way as her career. During her first performances under the name of Nina Simone her voice was rich and sweet but as the Civil Rights Movement gained steam, Nina’s voice soon became a thunderous roar as she raised her voice in powerful protest in the fight against racial inequality and discrimination.

Extra Details:

Hardcover | $18.99
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Sep 28, 2021 | 56 Pages | 8-1/2 x 10-1/2 | 4-8 years | ISBN 9781524737283

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month With These Special Book Recommendations


 

September 15 – October 15th is observed in the United States as Hispanic Heritage Month. National Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements in the United States. To celebrate, we curated a special book list to honor authors who have a Hispanic, Latin American background.

The titles feature a mix of bilingual books, picture books and stories that will give your family a deeper look into the lives and cultural experiences of some of the authors.

 

La Princesa and the Pea

by Susan Middleton Elya and Juana Martinez-Neal 

El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree.

The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa, but the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too . . .

Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.

Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

by Sonia Sotomayor and Rafael López 

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

Alma and How She Got Her Name

by Juana Martinez-Neal

If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.

La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for los Niños

by Susan Middleton Elya and Juana Martinez-Neal 

Classic favorites get a modern Latino twist

The itsy arañita
climbed up the water spout.
Down came la lluvia
and washed la araña out.

Classic Mother Goose rhymes get a Latino twist in this cozy collection. From young Juan Ramón sitting in el rincón to three little gatitos who lost their mitoncitos, readers will be delighted to see familiar characters in vibrant, luminous scenes brimming with fanciful details.

La Madre Goose will make a playful multicultural addition to every modern bookshelf.

¡Te amo, te abrazo, leo contigo!/Love you, Hug You, Read to You!

by Tish Rabe and Frank Endersby 

“There are three things I’ll always do . . . love you, hug you, read to you!” The simple promise of togetherness offered in this bilingual (Spanish and English) board book is enhanced by interactive prompts throughout, encouraging parents to engage with their child while reading. Studies show that asking questions, like the ones in this book, helps children learn to read faster than if they just listen to a story. Love and literacy are gifts we can give to our children every day!

My Papi Has a Motorcycle 

by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña 

When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her.

But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there.

With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl’s love letter to her hardworking dad and to memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change.

Nosotros Means Us: Un cuento bilingüe

by Paloma Valdivia 

A moving bilingual ode to the unshakeable bond between a parent and child in the tradition of Runaway Bunny and The Wonderful Things You Will Be.

If I were a sheep, you would be a lamb.
If I were a bear, you would be a cub.
As a mother holds her toddler, they muse over the way their love would translate if they were different animals. But no matter how they change, they will always be “us.” This bilingual story is a timeless ode to the unshakable bond between parent and child.

Not a Bean

by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez and Laura Gonzalez 

With Spanish vocabulary and a clever counting concept, this poetic story shares the life cycle of a Mexican jumping bean. This curious jumping insect is actually a seedpod from a shrub called yerba de la flecha, into which a caterpillar burrows, living inside the pod until it builds a cocoon and breaks out as a moth. Perfect for preschoolers and pre-readers, this creative picture book explores the Mexican jumping bean’s daily life and eventual transformation and escape from the pod.

Cerca / Close 

by Juan Felipe Herrera and  Blanca Gómez

Some things are close — cerca. Others are far — lejos. With sweet simplicity, this charming dual-language board book and its companion volume, Lejos/Far, engage young children.

Mi cuarto está cerca de la cocina. My bedroom is close to the kitchen.

As she walks from her kitchen through a daisy-filled yard to the house next door, a little girl notices things that are close to each other — just as the little boy she goes to visit is close to her.

Carmela Full of Wishes

by Matt de la Peña and  Christian Robinson 

When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true–she’s finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make . . .

With lyrical, stirring text and stunning, evocative artwork, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson have crafted a moving ode to family, to dreamers, and to finding hope in the most unexpected places.

10 STEAM Activities To Do With Your Pre-schooler This Fall

It’s fall and we’re going full STEAM ahead!

STEAM is an educational discipline that aims to ignite an early interest and love of math, art, and sciences in children. Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math are similar fields of study in that they all involve creative processes and none uses just one method for inquiry and investigation. 

Not only do these activities support the development of math and science skills but also provide opportunities to strengthen language skills. A study by researchers at the University of California Irvine even found that early math skills were the most consistently predictive measure of future academic success among kindergarten to fifth-grade students.

This month, as we continue our partnership with DreamWorks Animation and Netflix for Gabby’s Dollhouse, we’re focused on highlighting the STEAM activities that are in the show. Some of our locations are hosting STEAM Parties to explore Bubble Science, but just in case you can’t make it, or don’t have an event near you, we pulled 10 STEAM-themed experiments you can do at home with your pre-schooler.

1. Ice Cream in a Bag

Looking for a simple treat that’s fun to make? Try this easy recipe for making ice cream in a bag. Little ones will get to expend some energy as they shake, shake, shake to churn the ice cream. This activity is best for preschool-age children (~22 months and older).

2. Black Pepper Soap Science Experiment

Teach little ones in an abstract way why it is important to wash your hands to keep yourself and others healthy. This activity is best for Explorers and preschool-age children (~2 years and older).

3. Soap Playdough

Use this playdough recipe for a fun STEM-building challenge that your kids will love! You can use simple materials to challenge children to build, create and problem solve with this recipe.

4. Magnetic Fishing Game

Practice your hand-eye coordination with this easily-assembled fishing game. You can even talk to your little ones about how magnets work! This activity is best for Explorers and preschool-age children (~20 months and older).

5. Sensory Bin Coffee Grounds

Don’t throw out those coffee grounds just yet! Learn 3 ways to use coffee grounds for a super sensory bin! From a Spring garden to a construction site, what else can you think of to do with your coffee grounds? This activity is best for Explorers and preschool-age children (~20 months and older).

6. Toy Car Painting

Bored of your paintbrush? Try painting with a toy car instead! Afterward, you can bring out a tub of water and have a car wash. This activity is best for Runners, Explorers, and Preschool-age children (~20 months and older).

7. Slime

This slime recipe is super! Mix together water, borax, wet glue, and a bit of food coloring or paint. This activity is best for preschool-age children (~2.5 years and older). Be sure to supervise your little ones while they play with their slime!

8. Color Explosion Science

Chemistry doesn’t have to be boring—especially when you can get a cool art project out of it! This science experiment demonstrates chemical reactions. Not only is it fun to watch, but even more exciting to do.

 

9. Five Green Speckled Frogs

Enjoy this fun stop-motion version of a classic finger-play song! This activity is perfect for children of all ages!

10. Threading Practice

Let your little one practice some threading using simple supplies. Great for developing fine motor skills and preparing for tasks like lacing up shoes or stringing beads. This activity is best for Walkers, Runners, Explorers, and preschool-age children (~14 months and older). Make sure younger children are no longer mouthing and be sure to supervise them during this activity.

Foster First Foundations with our September Book Recommendations


Early childhood is a crucial time in a child’s development. 

Every experience your child has in their formative years from the places they visit regularly to the people they engage with frequently, everything becomes a  building block of your child’s brain architecture. And as a whole, these things will strongly influence your child’s ability to learn, maintain healthy habits, and support positive behavior throughout their life.

 

At Gymboree Play & Music, we believe in cultivating the whole child. So whether it’s through play in our centers, or play dates your child has with friends after class, we wanted to select books that support this area of growth beyond our doors. 

Check out our September booklist for titles that will teach you and your kids about building foundations in community, school, and life.

Recommendations for Children

All Are Welcome

by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman 

Discover a school where all young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated.

Readers will follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where students from all backgrounds learn from and celebrate each other’s traditions. A school that shows the world as we will make it to be.

First Day Jitters 

by Julie Danneberg and Judy Love 

Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.

by Peter H. Reynolds

The Word Collector

Some people collect stamps. Some people collect coins. Some people collect art. And Jerome? Jerome collected words . . . In this extraordinary new tale from Peter H. Reynolds, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him — short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower.From the creator of The DotI Am Human, and Happy Dreamer comes a celebration of finding your own words — and the impact you can have when you share them with the world.

School is More Than a Building

by Kelley Donner 

With its delightful watercolor illustrations of school life, School is More Than a Building paints a positive picture of a school environment where children know and understand that the people who work there care and look out for their best interests. When read aloud, children are reminded that they are part of a very special community and that schools are there for them.

Sticks

by Diane Alber 

A heartwarming story about finding your place in the world. Sticks is about a Popsicle that accidentally melts and becomes just a plain stick. He has a hard time adjusting to his new normal but with the help of some new friends (who happen to be sticks too) he realizes that everything happened for a reason and that melting was part of his journey.

Sticks is a story that almost anyone can relate to. It’s about finding yourself in a situation that didn’t turn out like you expected and having your friends and family help you find he courage to pick yourself back up and persevere.

Recommendations for Parents

What Do You Say?

by William Stixrud PhD and  Ned Johnson 

William Stixrud, Ph.D., and Ned Johnson have 60 years combined experience talking to kids one-on-one, and the most common question they get when out speaking to parents and educators is: What do you say? While many adults understand the importance and power of the philosophies behind the books that dominate the parenting bestseller list, parents are often left wondering how to put those concepts into action. 

In What Do You Say?, Johnson and Stixrud show how to engage in respectful and effective dialogue, beginning with defining and demonstrating the basic principles of listening and speaking. Then they show new ways to handle specific, thorny topics of the sort that usually end in parent/kid standoffs: delivering constructive feedback to kids; discussing boundaries around technology; explaining sleep and their brains; the anxiety of current events; and family problem-solving. What Do You Say? is a manual and map that will immediately transform parents’ ability to navigate complex terrain and train their minds and hearts to communicate ever more successfully.

Parenting Right From the Start

by Vanessa Lapointe and Shefali Tsabary 

The baby and toddler years are the most important period for any child’s emotional and psychological development. Parents naturally want to do what’s best for their kids, but they often struggle to know what that is, especially when dealing with the big “battlegrounds” of sleep, feeding, and managing aggression.

The latest scientific research indicates that it is through a strong and stable sense of connection to their parents that children learn how to regulate their emotions, master social skills, and develop a sense of identity. Unfortunately, many of the currently accepted parenting practices and traditional attitudes disrupt healthy connection rather than foster it, leading to behavioral issues and emotional problems that can last into adulthood.

The Importance of Being Little

by Erika Christakis 

 In her pathbreaking book, Christakis explains what it’s like to be a young child in America today, in a world designed by and for adults, where we have confused schooling with learning. She offers real-life solutions to real-life issues, with nuance and direction that takes us far beyond the usual prescriptions for fewer tests, more play

Parenting from the Inside Out

by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell 

In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. Drawing on stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.

How Children Succeed

by Mariana Bissonnette 

Babies Build Toddlers is a unique parenting book with an innovative illustrative approach that makes child development information both accessible and actionable for everyday readers. Author, Mariana Bissonnette tells the powerful story of the child during their most essential stage of development: infancy. The first 18 months lay a critical foundation for a child’s future emotional, cognitive, physical, and social well-being.

But this early time is often the most difficult for parents! Many find themselves in “survival mode” until toddlerhood, something that overlooks the incredible potential of this early time. Babies Build Toddlers offers readers a window into the intersection of development, education and parenting through clear developmental timelines (including movement, language, eating, sleeping, hygiene, and bonding), practical suggestions for how to support that development, and illustrations from a team of illustrators who celebrate the fullness of each parent’s journey.

How to Inspire a Growth Mindset In Your Child


Whether we consciously know it or not, we all have certain beliefs about our abilities and our future potential. These beliefs form the foundation of our mindset early in life, ultimately fueling our behavior, and shaping our everyday lives.

This month we’re discussing the idea of the growth mindset, and why it can support the future success of your child. We took a deep dive into the research of Dr. Carol Dweck, which was featured in her 2014 TED talk

In her research at Stanford University, Dr. Carol Dweck identified two different types of mindsets. Read more below. 

What are the mindsets? And why do they matter?

According to Dweck, the beliefs children have about intelligence, effort, and struggle impact the choices they make about learning. Based on her research, people tend to hold one of two different beliefs about intelligence:

    • Children with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed. These students see school as a place to develop their abilities and think of challenges as opportunities to grow.
    • Children with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is fixed at birth and doesn’t change or changes very little with practice. These students see school as a place where their abilities are evaluated, they focus on looking smart over learning, and they interpret mistakes are a sign that they lack talent.

Developing the right mindset early on is crucial for a successful, happy life. When kids learn putting forth effort and using the right strategies can help them get better at things, they feel empowered, and try harder. When they know their brains are capable of growing, they are more confident, resilient, and are not afraid to fail! 

So how do we instill this simple and incredible concept to children? To start, it’s important to understand the basics.

Step 1: Build the Foundation 

Take time to talk to your child about the following questions:

  1. What does it mean to GROW? What sorts of things grow? Answers will vary. Growth means to develop, change, mature, evolve. Living things grow – plants, animals, and people. Even our brains can grow!

  2. When you think of the brain or minds, what do you think MINDSET means? Mindset is the way our brain perceives ourselves and the world. Our mindset helps us look at problems and mistakes in a positive way!

  3. Let’s put those words together: growth and mindset. When we combine them, it means something really important. What could growth mindset mean? A growth mindset is believing in the power of yourself and your brain! We know our intellect and abilities develop when we try difficult things, use the right strategies, and don’t give up. So a growth mindset is when we know, with practice, we will get better at something.

  4. If fixed is the opposite of growth, what does it mean to have a FIXED mindset? A fixed mindset means you think you can’t get better at things, even if you practice. Wanting to quit, give up, or deciding we’re just not good at something are all clues we have a fixed mindset.

Step 2: Share Examples from Your Life

Share a personal story about when you were stuck and used hard work and/or help from others to overcome a challenge. 

Ask your child to share similar examples from their lives. You can encourage other caretakers like grandparents, babysitters or siblings to do this with your child as well. 

Step 3: Practice Switching from a Fixed to Growth Mindset

Ask your child/class to think of some FIXED mindset phrases commonly used at home or anywhere else (“I am not good at this”, “I can’t do anything right”), and write them down.

Next, create a list of alternate phrases that reflect a growth mindset (“I’m not good at this yet”). Above the fixed mindset column, write “Instead of” and on the Growth mindset column, “I Can Say…”

Ask your children how they can change each statement from negative to empowering. For example, you could ask, “What is a better way of looking at a situation?”

Step 4: Use the Power of Yet

With one simple word, any fixed mindset phrase can be transformed into a statement of hope. “I can’t do this…yet.” It’s all about the FUTURE, and not giving up until we get there.

Make a “YET” bulletin board or designate a wall at home for all the things you can’t do…yet!

Step 5: Encourage Productive Struggle & Reframe Mistakes

In the safe environment of your home or class, give children time to think through their challenges, brainstorm solutions, and seek help if needed. Grappling with a problem builds resilience, so give kids time for reflection before jumping in to help or “save” them.

Get excited when opportunities for growth occur! In a challenging moment, say things like, “This seems like an opportunity to grow our brains!” Create  
an environment where setbacks are expected and even celebrated

Content appearing from this blog was originally published on TED, and Big Life Journal

 

Support Your Growth Mindset with our August Book Recommendations


When it comes to mindset, we’re often encouraged to “be positive” and
“think outside the box.” If we’re up against a challenging situation. But what’s not often explained is why this is necessary and what happens when we don’t.

This month Gymboree Play & Music is leaning into the concept of the growth mindset in an effort to educate kids and families on the possibilities that become available to us when we persevere and allow ourselves to “grow” through various situations instead of “go” through these circumstances.

Check out our August booklist for titles that will teach you and your kids about the growth mindset.

Recommendations for Children

Three Little Engines

by Bob McKinnon , Lou FancherSteve Johnson 

Graduation day is finally here! The Little Blue Engine, the Yellow Passenger Engine, and the Red Freight Engine are excited to take their final test of Engine School: making their first solo trip over the mountain. But each engine encounters different challenges and obstacles on their journey. Gorgeous illustrations by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson combine with a poignant story told by Bob McKinnon to remind a new generation of readers to “think they can.”

Beautiful Oops

by Barney Saltzberg

An award winning, best-selling, one-of-a-kind interactive book, Beautiful Oops! shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

by JoAnn Deak Ph.D.Sarah Ackerley 

Educator and psychologist Dr. JoAnn Deak offers a fun and engaging introduction to the anatomy and functions of the brain that will empower each young reader to S-T-R-E-T-C-H and grow their fantastic, elastic brain! 

The Book of Mistakes

by Corinna Luyken 

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle

by Chris Raschka 

Learning to ride a bike is one of the most important milestones of childhood, and no one captures the emotional ups and downs of the experience better than Chris Raschka, who won the 2012 Caldecott Medal for A Ball for Daisy. In this simple yet emotionally rich “guide,” a father takes his daughter through all the steps in the process—from choosing the perfect bicycle to that triumphant first successful ride. Using very few words and lots of expressive pictures, here is a picture book that not only shows kids how to learn to ride, but captures what it feels like to fall . . . get up . . . fall again . . . and finally “by luck, grace, and determination” ride a bicycle!

Recommendations for Parents

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

by Carol S. Dweck 

In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

Grit for Kids

by Lee David Daniels 

Your kids are the most important people in your lives. In this increasingly competitive and confusing world they need you to help them be their best. They need you to guide them in developing traits for success and happiness. Grit for Kids will teach you how to help your child to develop their own grit in just 16 easy-to-follow chapters.

Helping Children Succeed

by Paul Tough 

In How Children Succeed, Paul Tough introduced us to research showing that personal qualities like perseverance, self-control, and conscientiousness play a critical role in children’s success.
      Now, in Helping Children Succeed, Tough takes on a new set of pressing questions: What does growing up with economic and other stresses do to children’s mental and physical development? How does adversity at home affect their success in the classroom, from preschool to high school? And what practical steps can the adults who are responsible for them take to improve their chances for a positive future?

by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson 

In The Yes Brain, the authors give parents skills, scripts, and activities to bring kids of all ages into the beneficial “yes” state. You’ll learn

Big Little Breakthroughs

by Josh Linkner 

Instead of shooting for a $10-billion payday or a Nobel Prize, the most prolific innovators focus on Big Little Breakthroughs—small creative acts that unlock massive rewards over time. By cultivating daily micro-innovations, individuals and organizations are better equipped to tackle tough challenges and seize transformational opportunities.

How Children Succeed

by Paul Tough 

How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to help children growing up in poverty.

Special Episode with Jennifer Twomey & Traci Paige, Executive Producers of Gabby’s Dollhouse.

Episode Information

In this episode of the Parent Pod, we spoke to Jennifer Twomey and Traci Paige Johnson the Emmy-nominated executive producers and showrunners of the preschool Netflix original series, Gabby’s Dollhouse. We talk about everything from the season 2 premiere of the show on August 10th, to the concept of Growth Mindset and the TED talk by Carol Dweck.

You can find the Big Life Journal resources that were mentioned in the episode here.

Jennifer Twomey is the Emmy-nominated executive producer and showrunner of the highly-anticipated  preschool Netflix original series, Gabby’s Dollhouse from DreamWorks Animation.  

Previously Twomey has been a leader in preschool television for over 25 years serving as creator,  showrunner, writer and development executive on numerous top rated series, including Nickelodeon’s breakthrough series, Blue’s Clues, Team Umizoomi, the Emmy Award-winning series, The Upside Down  Show, Super Why, and Amazon’s preschool show, Creative Galaxy. Twomey also worked as a Senior  Production and Development Executive for Nickelodeon Preschool Television, overseeing current series  and developing new content. While there, she launched Jack’s Big Music Show and created over fifty live  action music videos helping to establish Nickelodeon’s preschool music brand.  

She is a Peabody Award winner, a multiple Emmy Award nominee, and a recipient of the Gold and Silver  Parents Choice Awards. Gabby’s Dollhouse is the result of her inspiration from her childhood love of  dollhouses as well as the grit and determination of her real-life daughter Gabby and a dream project for  Twomey. 

Traci Paige Johnson is the Emmy-nominated executive producer and showrunner of the highly- anticipated  preschool Netflix original series, Gabby’s Dollhouse from DreamWorks Animation. 

Paige Johnson has been a leader in children’s television for over 25 years previously serving as Co-Creator  and Director on Nickelodeon’s breakthrough Emmy-nominated series, Blue’s Clues in which she also  voiced the show’s star, Blue. She continues in these roles on the Nick Jr. reboots of Blue’s Clues & You! 

She served as co-creator and creative director on PBS’s hit show Super Why! And Amazon’s Creative  Galaxy, where she invented all the original crafts that were showcased. Paige Johnson also currently acts  as Creative Director for PBS’ Emmy-winning series, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. A multiple Emmy Award nominee and Parents Choice Award winner, Paige Johnson is now thrilled to be  playing in DreamWorks Gabby’s Dollhouse that was born out of her love for cats and all things miniature.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.