10 Benefits of Dress Up Play

preschool-schoolskills_2036.jpgIt’s one of our favorite times of the year…Halloween! And, with Halloween season comes spooky creatures, candy, and, of course, COSTUMES! Did you know there are tons of developmental benefits to letting your little one dress up in costumes and play? That’s right! When your little one puts on that pirate’s hat, they are transforming their world and pushing their minds to think outside the box!

There’s more going on under that pirate’s hat than you’d think! Read below to learn the many developmental benefits of pretend play and dressing up in costumes!

10 Benefits of Dress Up Play from Sarah Baldwin, M.S.Ed., at Bella Luna Toys:

1. Brain Building

Dress-up engages your child’s brain and memory. Dramatic play requires kids to remember what they’ve seen or heard. They remember how their mother behaves when performing household chores when they are imitating her. Or they recall the details of a fairy tale they’ve heard before acting it out.

2. Vocabulary Building

Dress-up play builds vocabulary as a child decides what his or her character would say. It gives them a chance to expand their vocabularies with words and phrases that they might have heard in stories, but wouldn’t ordinarily use. Children may then begin to use these new words in conversations.

3. Problem-Solving

Who’s going to be the doctor? Who’s going to be the patient? Children must make decisions when they engage in dress-up play. They practice problem-solving problems when deciding on what costumes elements and props each character needs to act out a scenario.

4. Empathy

When a child is engaged in role-play, it helps her see the world through another’s eyes which increases empathy – whether pretending to be a parent nurturing a baby, a doctor taking care of an injured patient, or a firefighter putting out a fire. Dramatic play helps children understand the role that helpers play in in our lives.

5. Emotional Development

Children are constantly confronted with scary situations that they don’t understand – whether witnessing an accident in real life, or seeing violent images on TV. Children process their fears through play, which helps them make sense of the world, and overcome their feelings of helplessness.

By allowing children to act out their fears through dress-up and role playing, we are helping their emotional development.

6. Motor Skills

Children develop fine motor skills by putting on dress-up clothes, whether buttoning a shirt, zipping up pants, or tying on a pirate’s bandana

They use their large motor skills when engaged in role-play, whether they are jumping like a superhero, running like a baseball player, or twirling like a ballerina.

7. Gender Exploration

When children choose costumes and characters to be, they are able to explore different gender identities and the behaviors of those characters.

While boys often want to be superheroes, firemen, or pirates, and girls often want to be fairies and princesses, it is normal and healthy for children to try on different gender roles as they learn about the world. A child should never be ridiculed for pretending to be a different gender.

8. Imitation

Children are naturally imitative creatures. They learn about the world by imitating the lives of the adults and others around them. Through dress-up and dramatic role-play, children explore the lives of other people by imitating their actions, feelings and words.

9. Socialization

Dress-up play encourages cooperation and taking turns. Children learn how to negotiate as they agree on stories and rules. They develop interest in others and learn how to give-and-take.

10. Imagination

Children’s imaginations are limitless, and have not yet been hardened and constrained by the “realities” of the world. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, believed that imaginative play in early childhood is the key to creative thinking during the adult years.

When children engage in dress-up play, their imaginations are given free reign. There is no limit to who, where, or what they can be.

 

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Don’t forget to reserve your spot at one of our Gymboween parties this month! Dress up your little one for a spooktacular good time! Click here to find a location near you.

October’s Mystery Book Recommendations

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In honor of Halloween, we aren’t just throwing amazing Gymb-O-Weencostume parties and spooktacular bashes! We’re also highlighting the many developmental benefits of mystery and imagination that inevitably come with the celebration of Halloween

To get in the Halloween spirit, each of our October book recommendations highlights MYSTERY! If you’re in for a suspenseful, mysterious (and educational!) good time, check out the list below! 

hatch Hatch By Heather Brown

Use the rhyming clues to predict what baby animal is about to hatch from each egg. Little ones will love lifting the flaps to reveal who is hiding inside.

 

 

 

hide and snake

Hide and Snake By Keith Baker

Follow this colorful snake through the pages as he challenges children to find his next hiding place. “Baker’s elaborate acrylic designs, variety of lush hues, and sly wit provide a feast for the eyes while maintaining the cohesive personality of the book from page to page.”–Publishers Weekly. 

 

alphabet mystery

Alphabet Mystery By Audrey Wood and Bruce Wood

Little letter x is missing! Follow the other lowercase letters as they solve the mystery of his disappearance and learn the value of the letter x… the only letter that stands for kisses! xxxx

 

 

moongame.png Moongame By Frank Asch

One night, Bear was playing a game of hide and seek with the moon. When the moon hides behind a dark cloud, Bear becomes worried that the moon is lost! Will Bear ever find the moon?

 

 

 

pigeon

Pigeon P.I. By Meg McLaren

Birds are going missing all over the city and word on the wire is there’s a feather thief on the loose! Not to worry, Pigeon P.I. is on the case! Follow this daring detective and his new partner as they investigate the mystery of a missing friend.

 

 

For more information about our Gymboween parties or to visit a site near you, find your location here! 

September Book Recommendations

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This month we will be celebrating the importance of creative, rhythmic, and internal movement. Studies show that children use movement as part of their development and engaging their bodies helps little ones absorb new skills! Let’s get our move on with these rhythmically inspired September reads! 

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Giraffes Can’t Dance By Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

Gerald the giraffe wishes he could dance like all the other animals, but everyone knows “giraffes can’t dance.” With some encouraging words from a helpful friend, Gerald discovers “we can all dance when we find the music that we love!

 

flora

Flora and the Flamingo By Molly Idle

Follow Flora and her Flamingo friend as they learn to dance together in perfect harmony. Get creative with this wordless lift-the-flap story!  Challenge older children to mimic Flora and the Flamingo’s movements or play classical music as you help your little one turn the pages and lift the flaps! Try “Swan Lake, Op. 20, Act II: No. 10”  or “Dance of the Hours” from La Gioconda.

 

 

dinosaur dance

Dinosaur Dance By Sandra Boynton

These dinos LOVE to dance! Stomp your feet, shake your tail and get into the groove with this rhythmic rhyming book. Can your little one repeat some of these patterns or try mimicking some of these dances?

 

 

jazz baby

Jazz Baby By Lisa Wheeler and R. Gregory Christie

Singing, snapping, tapping clapping… there are so many ways to make our own music! This Jazz Baby gets the whole family dancing to the beat, and it all starts with a ‘clap-clap-clap!’

 

 

animal boogieThe Animal Boogie Illustrated by Debbie Harter, Sung by Fred Penner

Let’s shake, swing, stomp and boogie along with the animals in the jungle! This book comes with a CD so you can listen and sing along! Encourage older children to dance along or hold baby in your arms as you do the Animal Boogie!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25_u1GzruQM

 

COME VISIT YOUR LOCAL GYMBOREE PLAY & MUSIC! 

5 Tips to Raise Resilient Kids

Children grow and learn through play. And, with play, comes exploration, pushing boundaries and even the inevitable mistake. But that’s OK (and, actually, what we encourage in early development!). Mistakes can teach children resilience and grit IF they are taught to perceive those mistakes as an opportunity to learn.  When we support and encourage children as they take risks, push boundaries and overcome challenges, kids understand how to bounce back and learn from their mistakes!

We love these 5 tips provided by the Big Life Journal on How to Raise Kids who Never Give Up!

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It’s our mission at Gymboree Play & Music to encourage children to explore their world, push their boundaries and step out of their comfort zone. We encourage mistakes, teach children how to learn from those mistakes, and focus on building a growth mindset in our little ones. Because here at Gymboree Play & Music, we know that with mistakes comes success! Come in for a visit today!

FIND YOUR LOCAL GYMBOREE PLAY & MUSIC 

F.A.I.L = First Attempt in Learning

G51As parents, we always want the best for our child and for our child to succeed at everything they do. It’s in our nature to want to help them and nurture them through everything they do. However, when it comes to early development, failure and making mistakes actually leads to their learning and success!

As your little one grows and tackles new developmental milestones, failure is inevitable. When your child learns to walk, falling down and getting up again as they learn to balance is part of the process! When your little one learns to feed themselves, we all know that very little of that food is going to make it into their mouth — but that’s all part of the learning! Your child is actually learning how to succeed in each of these examples by failing (falling, dropping their food, etc). Learning from their mistakes is how they learn to crawl, walk, eat, climb, write, etc. It builds resilience and encourages confidence!

So, that brings up the biggest questions of all — when should you step in and help your little one with that difficult task and when should you let them make a mistake or fail? Below are a few examples from Michigan State University of how you can help your child learn to succeed through failure!

  • Encourage your child to take risks and try new things. Trying new things can be scary, especially if we are worried that if we try, we will ultimately fail. Give your child encouragement to try things outside of their comfort zone, and attempt things they might not be good at right away. By taking risks and trying new things, your child can overcome their fear of failing and learn that when you take risks, you learn so many new things and practice new skills.
  • Emphasize your child’s efforts. Not every effort will result in success. When your child is trying to draw a unicorn for the first time, it likely won’t be a perfect picture. This may be discouraging for your child, but try focusing on emphasizing their efforts. You can talk about their work they put into the project, “You worked so hard on this drawing. You tried something new, you did your best! I’m proud of you for working so hard!” Remind your child that great things happen over time; even famous artists start with a rough draft.
  • Teach problem-solving skills. Failure often makes us feel stuck and can make someone feel like giving up. Teach your child that through hard work and effort, you can work to solve problems. If they are trying to learn a new skateboarding trick and they just can’t seem to pick it up, help them think about what they can do to solve their problem. Is there someone who knows that trick who can help them? Can they watch a video on YouTube that will help them figure out what they need to do differently? Help your child think about what they can do to keep working and trying.
  • Value hard work. Show your child that you value hard work by noticing it happen all around you. Notice those who work hard around you and in your child’s life. Point out the construction workers who are working hard in rain to repair the roads. Write a thank-you note to your mail carrier who works extra hard during the holiday season to help deliver gifts and goodies. Showing gratefulness and appreciation for those that work hard will show your child that hard work is to be valued.
  • Engage in self-praise. When children hear you praise yourself, they learn to do the same. Show off your hard work and that you can be proud of yourself for not giving up on tasks that are hard. When you work hard, say out loud, “I’m so proud of myself! I was having a hard time figuring out how to fix the TV, but I kept trying and I did it! Go me!”
  • Help your child adopt a growth mindset. Show your young child that making mistakes and failing is normal and something that happens to everyone. It means you tried something new. Failure doesn’t mean an ending—it’s just the beginning. You can teach your child to be a hardworking problem solver that can turn their failures into successes. [1]

Let’s make some successful mistakes at Gymboree Play & Music! 

 

[1]  “The Key to Success is Failure.” Michigan State University: MSU Early Childhood Development. November 13, 2018, https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/the-key-to-success-is-failure

 

3 Reasons To Use Gymboree Play & Music Bubble Ooodles At Home!

You can now bring home the Gymboree Play & Music fun and learning with Bubble Ooodles! Our world famous bubbles have been entertaining children for decades. Here’s 3 reasons that Bubble Ooodles can benefit your child in the comfort of your own home.

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  1. Bubble Ooodles create a sensory experience at home – Babies learn and develop from early sensory experiences. Bubble Ooodles engage texture (touch) and movement (sight) to engage the senses.
  2. Familiarity and practice – Children use Bubble Ooodles in our Gymboree Play & Music classes and using Bubble Ooodles at home allows children to practice their gross/fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. They also feel the familiarity that comes with a common task that they are doing both at school and at home.
  3. Bubble Ooodles are non-toxic and easy to clean up! – Moms love the ease of use that comes with using Bubble Ooodles which is safe on indoor fabrics!

Buy Gymboree Play & Music Bubble Ooodles from Gymbo’s Bubble Shop — you can choose from three different bubble products: Bubble Ooodles Refill (8oz or 16oz) or Bubble Ooodles with Wand and Tray.

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From one of our Gymboree Play & Music teachers – “I highly recommend the bubbles not only for children but for pets as well; what makes them so fabulous & original is that they last so long on surfaces!!

 

 

Falling Forward with August Book Recommendations

In August, we are highlighting the benefits of falling forward. That means turning mistakes into stepping stones and a path to success. At Gymboree Play & Music, we look at failure as a great learning tool. In fact, we believe in encouraging failure! When your little one doesn’t succeed on the first try, they are learning so many great things — most importantly that it’s OK to fail! They’re also learning the importance of getting up and trying again, along with many more early development benefits! And, we can all agree that childhood is the time to experiment.

So, check out some of these super fun book recommendations this August, and read all about the positives to trying new things, even if it might mean you don’t succeed the first time around!

August Book Recommendations

unstoppable

Unstoppable Me! By Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Kristina Tracy

Through ten rhyming poems, Dr. Wayne gives context to some important ideas about living life to the fullest. How to take risks, deal with stress, and enjoying the moment. The poetry is a fun way to introduce children to some big ideas, and help them see the value in their creativity, their ideas, and themselves!

 

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Beautiful Oops! By Barney Saltzberg

Interactive textured pages take us through how messes, mistakes, and unexpected things can be beautiful! This simple story explores how to be creative through the ‘Uh Oh’s!’ And turn them into something magnificent!

 

 

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The Most Magnificent Thing By Ashley Spires

A girl is creative and works hard to make the most magnificent thing but what happens when it’s not magnificent at all?! This book takes us on a journey about not giving up even when our hard work doesn’t turn out exactly how we thought. A wonderful story about perseverance and dealing with our emotions.

 

paper bag princess

The Paper Bag Princess By, Robert Munsch

You might remember this story from your childhood! Originally published in 1980 The Paper Bag Princess tells the story of a resilient, problem-solving princess who realizes her wits and intelligence are all she needs to outsmart a mean dragon there’s also a fun twist at the end!

 

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Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons By, James Dean and Eric Litwin       

Pete the Cat is losing his buttons! But does he cry? Goodness no! We just keep going! This story is not only a perfect read aloud with it’s song and rhyming repetitive text, it shows us that when things happen we don’t need to get upset; we can just keep singing! Singalong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkQ4d_fff3E 

 

Our equipment is specifically designed to create challenges and spark learning in your little one. Come give it a try!  

 

Benefits of Rough & Tumble Play

Sometimes we’re quick to tell our little ones not to roughhouse. You want them to be safe and don’t want any injuries. But there is a very big difference between aggressive play and rough & tumble play. We are all about safe rough & tumble play because it has SO many developmental benefits for your little one! For example, did you know that roughhousing can make your child SMARTER? You read that right!

There are so many different kinds of Rough & Tumble play! Some will definitely surprise you!

Here are just a few:

  • Dancing
  • Hopscotch
  • Climbing up and jumping off
  • Wrestling
  • Play fighting
  • Roughhousing
  • Tickling
  • Tag
  • Football
  • Duck-Duck-Goose

Here are 5 Benefits of Rough & Tumble Play from our Friends at Flintobox:

1. Kids learn healthy risk-taking

Let kids do the unimaginable and feel accomplished when they climb a tree or jump high. Give them freedom to try new things rather than constantly telling them about the hazards and forcing them to live in fear.

Let children assess danger and understand when to push limits and when to hold back. When kids engage in healthy risk taking, they get a better understanding of their limits and capabilities.

2. Develop physical bond.

Physical contact is an important part of close relationships, provided it evokes positive feelings. If two children or siblings want to roll over one another or piggyback on each other, it’s a great bonding exercise. Yes, provided they can balance well and not hurt each other.

Let pillow fights, pulling hair, or ticking each other be part of the growing up process. After all relationships are not just conversations, touch and playing in close contact should be encouraged. They play an important role in strengthening bonds between kids.

3. Learn emotional intelligence

It’s during rough play kids realize what fun is and what can hurt. They can judge other kids’ reactions, expressions—are they enjoying or getting hurt? Children learn to address the emotional needs of other kids, they learn when to stop and how to discover new means of adrenaline rush.

With increased emotional intelligence, children better relationships with others, can focus more in studies and other activities, and learn to regulate their emotions.

4. Exercise for mind and body

With rough play, one can reap physical benefits-build strength, exercise muscles, improve gross motor skills, increased flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and better body and emotion control.

5. It’s pure fun

How many toys can you buy and how many times children can sit in one place and play? Rough play actually is easy fun. Children do have a lot of fun in the process. There’s something exciting about free play when they can hold, push, throw themselves, etc.[1]

We LOVE Rough & Tumble Play at Gymboree Play & Music! Find a Site Near You!

 

  1. Bhatnagar, Ekta Sharma. “Rough and Tumble Play and It’s 5 Benefits for Kids.” Flintobox. https://flintobox.com/blog/child-development/5-benefits-of-rough-play-for-kids

 

July Book Recommendations

wil things

Where the Wild Things Are By Maurice Sendak

Let the wild rumpus start! Max is off on an adventure where he meets beasts and friends alike. A magical tale that teaches us about dealing with emotions and unconditional love.

 

chicka chicka

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom By Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom, will there be enough room?! This rhyming text is a favorite. This book is a wonderful read aloud all about having a little too much fun with our friends and that our moms and dads are always there to make it all better.

 

 

brothers  sistersWhat Brothers/Sisters do Best By Laura Numeroff

What’s better than one book? A two in one book! What Brothers/Sisters Do Best, is a simple sweet text that explores all the wonderful ways to play with your siblings. Including a few Rough-and-Tumble adventures!

 

rolling

Nuts Keep Rolling! By, Eric Litwin

By the same author as “Pete the Cat”, this story as a similar upbeat, funny, and engaging text. The story is all about tumbling and fun! Enjoy reading this aloud and you can even sing it!

 

 

silly sally

Silly Sally By, Audrey Wood

Silly Sally likes to do things a little differently. This story is wonderfully silly and will have kids of all ages giggling about walking on our hands, going upside down, sleeping sheep, and pigs who do jigs! All tumbling towards town in this delightful story for all! 

 

 

Come visit us for some fun, safe rough & tumble play this July! 

National Day of Play Highlights!

This past Saturday was our biggest playful celebration of the year – National Day of Play! We opened our doors to the public for a big, FREE day of play…and oh boy did we play! Thank you to all of the families that came out to join the fun and to celebrate the importance of play. We couldn’t have had such a successful national event without our amazing Gymbo families and teachers!

Relive the smiles, play, and fun with a few pictures from the big day!

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Come Relive the Fun at Your Local Gymboree Play & Music!