Meet our new micro-partner “Tot Squad”.

Photo Credit: Khoa Pham


We Have a New Micro-Partner!

Today we’re happy to announce our new micro-partner Tot Squad! Tot Squad connects you with trusted and verified baby experts offering service, education, and support for all of your baby needs. 

Prior to 2020, Tot Squad offered expert car seat and baby gear installation, cleaning and safety services at locations across the US.

Today, the new TotSquad.com reflects expanded parenting service offerings, including their expert car seat installation, but also postpartum doula support and sleep training, and more services being added weekly.

Get your pressing parenting needs answered virtually via their live video link with trained experts, or they can dispatch these same experts to your home for more personal communication, depending on where you live. 

They are offering a special discount on these services to our customers. Learn more about them and the promotion here

Exploring Toys as Tools in Play with Scientific Mommy Co-Founder Erin O’Connor

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we spoke to Erin O’Connor the co-founder of Scientific Mommy.

The Director of New York University’s Early Childhood Education Program, Erin is a tenured professor and holds a Doctorate in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a Masters in Teaching from Fordham University, and a Masters in School Psychology from Columbia University. Erin teaches human development and education classes to pre- and in-service teachers in New York City schools. She also co-directs a community partnership working with families and caregivers. 

​In addition, Erin leads a research program examining relationships with mothers and teachers and the impacts of these relationships on children’s development in early and middle childhood. She also conducts randomized control trials of relationship-building interventions on the language and social development of pre-kindergarten children from low-income families and neighborhoods. 

Erin has published in educational and psychology journals including the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Educational Psychology, and Journal of Applied Psychology. Her work is supported by grants from several institutions including the Institute for Education Sciences. She is a member of the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and the Society for Research in Child Development.

Feel free to check out the episode and comment on the conversation with the #gymboreeplayandmusic hashtag. You can also shop a wide variety of toys in any of our open locations in North America.

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.

February Book Recommendations

Photo Credit Kelli Mcclintock

Love is in the air at Gymboree Play & Music 

The month of February has been known for “love” for as long as any of us can remember. This February we have decided to show our love a little differently. 

For those of you who have followed our brand since our inception 40+ years ago, you know that we provide an inclusive, warm environment for our parents to support their children’s learning and growth. To expand this practice, this month we have added a few braille children’s books.  These books can be read by the parent, and can help your child become acquainted with braille. 

Gymbo loves each and every one of you, and he wants to help more children cultivate an appreciation of reading through more versatile titles. 
 
See the full list below. 

 

Recommendations for Children

Snuggle Puppy

By Sandra Boynton

Delight your baby in this great big hug in book form, perfect for Valetine’s Day or any time year ‘round! You’ll find love on every page along with Boynton’s classic illustrations and rhyming text.

Love

By Emma Dodd

This sweet story featuring a pair of bunnies is perfect for babies and toddlers. Follow a young rabbit and her parent as they spend the day in the meadow. The little rabbit finds love in many places, but knows a parent’s love is always best! This book is also available in braille at nbp.org

I Love You Stinky Face

By Lisa Mccourt & Cyd Moore

Older toddlers and preschoolers will love this playful bedtime story that shows a mother’s unconditional love for her little boy. “But Mama, what if I were a super smelly skunk, and I smelled so bad that my name was Stinky Face?” As he imagines himself to be a variety of sillier and sillier creatures, he finds that nothing will change his mother’s love for him. This book is also available in braille at braillebookstore.com

A Kiss for Little Bear

By Else Holmelund Minakik & Maurice Sendak

Little Bear asks Hen to deliver a drawing he made to his grandmother, who then sends Hen back with a kiss for little bear. Your older toddler or preschooler will love hearing how the kiss travels from Little Bear’s grandmother, to Hen, and all the way to Little Bear with a few stops along the way. Kisses are a great way to show your little one some love! Make this story lovingly playful by giving your little one a kiss each time the kiss in the story is passed along. This book is also available in braille at braillebookstore.com

Happy Valentine’s Day, Curious George

By N. Di Angelo, H. A. Rey, & Mary O’Keefe Young

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Curious George!  Join every preschooler’s favorite inquisitive ape as he and his friends decorate cookies and make Valentines, with some hilarity along the way! How much mischief can one monkey get into on Valentine’s Day?

Recommendations for Parents

The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant, and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety

by Harold S. Koplewicz  

In The Scaffold Effect, world-renowned child psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz introduces the powerful and clinically tested idea that this deliberate build-up and then gradual loosening of parental support is the single most effective way to encourage kids to climb higher, try new things, grow from mistakes, and develop character and strength.

Drawing on Dr. Koplewicz’s decades of clinical and personal experience, The Scaffold Effect is a compassionate, street-smart, and essential guide for the ages.

Make Their Day: 101 Simple, Powerful Ways to Love Others Well

by Karen Ehman  

In this practical and deeply touching guide–inspired by her book Reach Out, Gather In–popular author Karen Ehman gives you 101 actionable ideas you can implement today to truly make a difference in the lives of other people. Make Their Day is filled with creative ideas to connect with your family and friends on a deeper level throughout the year. This book will help you develop habits of kindness, reconnect with friends and family, and make encouraging people a priority. You’ll be able to put these ideas into action in real time with everyone in your life–even if hospitality doesn’t come naturally to you or you don’t think you have time.

Let’s outshine the negativity and hatred in our world, and reach out to others with love, just as God intended.

Live Love Now: Relieve the Pressure and Find Real Connection with Our Kids 

by Rachel Macy Stafford 

With illuminating, straightforward strategies, this guide reveals the importance of practicing acceptance, pursuing peace, and exploring wellness and purpose for yourself so you can be the kind of real, relevant, and lifelong role model young people are searching for. Engaging and thoughtful, each chapter includes moving stories from Rachel’s personal journey as a mom of a teen and pre-teen along with illustrative narratives and prompts to help you reflect and take steps toward becoming the kind of adult young people trust.

Whether you’re a parent, educator, older sibling, coach, or anyone in a role of leading young people, this book will help you meet the goal of raising and guiding young people to become resilient, compassionate, and capable adults.

The Intellectual Lives of Children

by Susan Engel  

Adults easily recognize children’s imagination at work as they play. Yet most of us know little about what really goes on inside their heads as they encounter the problems and complexities of the world around them. In The Intellectual Lives of Children, Susan Engel brings together an extraordinary body of research to explain how toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-aged children think. By understanding the science behind how children observe their world, explain new phenomena, and solve problems, parents and teachers will be better equipped to guide the next generation to become perceptive and insightful thinkers.

The activities that engross kids can seem frivolous, but they can teach us a great deal about cognitive development. A young girl’s bug collection reveals important lessons about how children ask questions and organize information. Watching a young boy scoop mud can illuminate the process of invention. When a child ponders the mystery of death, we witness how children build ideas. But adults shouldn’t just stand around watching. When parents are creative, it can rub off on their children. Engel shows how parents and teachers can stimulate children’s curiosity by presenting them with mysteries to solve.

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

by Michele Borba Dr. 

In UnSelfie Dr. Borba pinpoints the forces causing the empathy crisis and shares a revolutionary, researched-based, nine-step plan for reversing it.

The good news? Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. Dr. Borba offers a framework for parenting that yields the results we all want: successful, happy kids who also are kind, moral, courageous, and resilient. UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want to kids shift their focus from I, me, and mine…to we, us, and ours.

10 Valentine’s Day Ideas Your Child Will Love

Valentine’s Day is a special day for kids to celebrate love and friendship. We rounded up some of the cutest Valentine’s Day ideas from blogs near and far, and we included them in our list below. Enjoy!

Make Valentine’s Day Boxes at Home

Help your kids craft Valentine’s Day boxes to collect all of their Valentine’s Day cards from their classmates, friends, and family! They’ll love the chance to get creative with the colors and materials they can use. We spotted these cute boxes over at Giggle Galore.

Give Airplane Valentines

These cute little airplanes will surely make any child’s heart soar! A quick trip to the candy aisle will get you all you need. And these airplanes are easy enough that your kids can join in on the fun of making them, too! Get the tutorial at The Krazy Coupon Lady.

Buy A Valentine’s Themed Lego Set

Even kids who aren’t into Lego (are there any?) will be drawn to this irresistible canine cherub. With 150 pieces, this set is a challenge, yet it comes together quickly enough that young children won’t lose interest. This is available at Amazon.

Throw A Chocolate Fondue Party

Who doesn’t like chocolate? Kids will love dipping cookies, crackers, or fruit in this sweet fountain. This idea is deliciously smooth and perfect for a Valentine’s Day dessert. We spotted this over on Fresh Mommy Blog.

Share An Animal Gram

You can get a pack of four zoo animals at the Dollar store and tie them to construction paper as shown above. We spotted this over on The Blue Robin Cottage.

Stage a Fun Photo

This adorable Valentine balloon craft is made with only a few supplies! You can even modify the balloons by drawing your own, using heart stickers or make fingerprint hearts. Get the full tutorial at The Best Ideas for Kids Blog.

Do An Experiment With Candy

Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday to experiment with candy. And this blog shows you science experiments that can be entertaining for your little ones. Check out their ideas here.

Bake Red Velvet Cookies

These red velvet sugar cookies will make your day! Soft & tender, fun & brightly colored, with a hint of cocoa & a slight cream cheese tang. Get the recipe at Baking A Moment.

Make Heart-Shaped Cheesecake

You’ll make everyone happy with this marbled red velvet cheesecake recipe. It’s packed with flavor and tastes just as good as it looks. Get the recipe at The Novice Chef Blog.

Make A Box Of Chocolates

It’s fun to receive a box of chocolates, but have you ever thought about making the box of chocolates yourself? This tutorial is easy to duplicate. Check out the full tutorial at Lily The Wandering Gypsy.

Hiring the Perfect Caregiver with the Windy City Nanny Florence Ann Romano

In this episode of The Parent Pod spoke to the Windy City Nanny (Florence Ann Romano) about everything from nanny cams to hiring dos and don’ts for parents.

Florence Ann Romano, The Windy City Nanny ™, is an author, podcast co-host of “Finger Painting the Future”, a philanthropist and child-care expert who has always had a special place in her heart for children. Romano worked for over 15 years as a nanny, beginning as a ‘Mommy’s helper’ at the age of 11. She believes the key to success for a family is by focusing on what she has coined as THE TRIFECTA – parent, child, and caretaker working in unison toward common, family goals.

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.

January Book Recommendations

Photo Credit Paige Cody

Out With the Old, In With the New… Books 📚

We’re celebrating 2021 by focusing on experiences that are new and exciting for parents and kids alike.

From yoga and mindfulness to New Year’s celebrations and flowers, our January book recommendations teach your little one about the joy of new beginnings.

See the full list below.

 

Recommendations for Children

The Stars Will Still Shine

by Cynthia Rylant and Tiphanie Beeke 

Author Cynthia Rylant and illustrator Tiphanie Beeke bring us a story that is perfect for all ages. No matter what the new year may bring, the stars will still shine.Through positive affirmations in gentle verse this book teaches that even when we face new challenges in our lives, many things will always stay the same. We can take comfort in all he goodness life has to offer.

Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga

by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway 

Get your toddler up and moving and try something new with this first book of yoga poses! Encourage your toddler to move just like “yoga baby” as you model the poses alongside them. Make a New Year’s resolution to spend time each day moving along with your toddler!

The Night Before New Year’s

by Natasha Wing and Amy Wummer

It’s the night before New Year’s! The whole family is dedicated to staying up until midnight to bring in the New Year. Everyone has sparkly streamers and fancy party hats. But after a night filled with many cupcakes and card games, will the children be able to stay awake? Older toddlers and preschooler will love this rhythmic rhyming text and hearing about the family’s New Year’s festivities.

The Tiny Seed

by Eric Carle  

Beloved author Eric Carle brings us an inspiring story about a flower. We begin with a tiny, brand-new seed floating in the wind. Preschoolers will love the gorgeous collage illustrations as they learn about all the hardships this tiny seed endured to be able to grow into a new flower. At the end of the story, we see the cycle begin anew as the flower sheds its seeds into the wind.

If I Never Forever Endeavor

by Holly Meade

A little bird, safe in the comfort of his own nest, wonders whether he should try to fly. On the one wing, he might fail. But on the other wing, he might soar! He’ll never know unless he tries. This sweet story about trying new things will resonate with anyone facing a challenge, a rite of passage, or a change. Preschoolers will enjoy following along with this story and cheering on the little bird until he is finally ready to take flight.

Recommendations for Parents

The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired

by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson 

Based on the latest brain and attachment research, The Power of Showing Up shares stories, scripts, simple strategies, illustrations, and tips for honoring the Four S’s effectively in all kinds of situations—when our kids are struggling or when they are enjoying success; when we are consoling, disciplining, or arguing with them; and even when we are apologizing for the times we don’t show up for them. Demonstrating that mistakes and missteps are repairable and that it’s never too late to mend broken trust, this book is a powerful guide to cultivating your child’s healthy emotional landscape.

Untigering: Peaceful Parenting for the Deconstructing Tiger Parent

by Iris Chen 

In Untigering, Iris Chen shares her journey of leaving behind authoritarian tiger parenting to embrace a respectful, relational way of raising children. As a Chinese American mom, she draws from her experiences of living in both North America and Asia and offers insights and practices to:

Heal from your childhood wounds
Change your beliefs about yourself and your children
Parent through connection instead of control
Redefine your understanding of success
Navigate and challenge cultural norms

Iris calls for a radical shift from parenting that is rooted in power to one that is grounded in partnership, but she does so with humor, humility, and empathy. This book is her invitation to you to begin your own journey of transformation as a parent.

Parent Up: Inspire Your Child to Be Their Best Self

by Kelly Rippon  

How do you raise a champion? After her son Adam Rippon, medaled in the 2018 Olympic Games, single mom Kelly Rippon found herself being asked this question all the time. Kelly had six children―what did she do to inspire them to their achievements and how did she raise confident, self-driven, emotionally intelligent children? Kelly realized that her unique parenting ideas shared the same leadership influence model she presented to audiences across the country as a motivational and professional development speaker.

Her philosophy is simple: a parent has the greatest opportunity to be the most significant influence in a child’s life. Kelly shares ten key types of influence―from Optimism to Accountability―that will inspire your kids and build your own sense of purpose and self-worth.

The Parenting Toddlers Workbook: Manage Your Child’s Moods, Potential, and Well-Being 

by Katie Penry PsyD

Toddlers have a difficult reputation―and an easy aptitude for connection, learning, and growth. Nurture your toddler’s potential with The Parenting Toddlers Workbook, a resource packed with research-driven tools and quick, accessible parenting techniques. Key insights into your child’s development, combined with tailored exercises and activities, help deepen your understanding―and strengthen your bond.

Explore strategies for parenting toddlers of different ages: 12 months, 18 months, 2 years, 3 years, and 4 years.

The 6 Needs of Every Child: Empowering Parents and Kids through the Science of Connection

by Amy Elizabeth Olrick (Author), Jeffrey Olrick  (Author)

Like most parents, Amy and Jeffrey Olrick left the hospital with their first child desperate to know, “What do we do?” But years of parenting three kids and Jeffrey’s work as a child psychologist convinced them to ask a better question: “How shall I be with this new person?”

In a culture obsessed with parenting formulas, it’s easy to miss the fact that science and lived experience have proven that human development and thriving are a matter of relationship. Drawing on decades of psychological research, neuroscience, and their own experience as parents and people of faith, the Olricks present six relational needs for human growth that will transform the way you think about your child–and yourself. Together, the needs form a trustworthy compass to guide you and your child to a path of purpose and relational wholeness.

Parent Self-Care With Author & Expert Kristi Yeh

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we spoke to Parent Self-Care Expert Kristi Yeh about the ways parents can practice self-care, especially in the winter months.

Kristi Yeh is a parent of two, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been practicing in California for over ten years. She currently works in school-based mental health as a Wellness Coordinator at a public elementary school. Kristi has been passionate about self-care personally and professionally for years, which led her to start Parent Self-Care, write a book for parents about their wellness, and launch the Mental Mile podcast.

You can visit her online at https://parentselfcare.com/

And you can purchase her book Self-Care 101: Self-Care Inspiration for Busy Parents here.

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.

5 Holiday Treats That Will Make You Go Mmmmm

Credit: Taste of Home

Whether you’re from the United States, Canada, Italy, or Mexico, one thing is for sure…food is a BIG DEAL. Especially during the holidays.

Since we’re focusing on traditions this month at Gymboree Play & Music, our team thought it would be cool to curate a list of traditional holiday cookies and treats from families around the world. 

And voila, here it is.  

Italian Almond Pizzelle Cookies

If you love fun baking appliances, then you’ll love making these buttery, almond-flavored cookies. They get their unique waffle design from a pizzelle maker. They cook in roughly 5-10 minutes. You can try the recipe here.

Whipped Cream Krumkake from Norway

These sweet treats are surprisingly easy to make. This recipe gives simple and clear step-by-step instructions that will walk you through the process required to create these beautifully intricate waffle cookies at home.

Rosette’s from Norway

These traditional deep-fried favorites are crisp and delicious with a delicate, lacy look. These intricate crispy treats are as delicious as they are beautiful. This cookie is sure to delight your little one. Check out the recipe here.

Khrustyky from Ukraine

This crispy, dainty pastry dusted with confectioners’ sugar has an eggy flavor similar to cream puffs. You can use this recipe to create this treat for your family.

Mexican Cinnamon Cookies

This 5 ingredient delight is sweet, simple and easy to make. You can head over here for the full recipe.

Reinventing life, traditions and hand-me-downs with Rent a Romper Founder Lauren Gregor

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we spoke to Rent a Romper founder Lauren Gregor about her family traditions, her business, and her life as a mom of two boys.

Lauren Gregor is a mom, wife, strategy director, soccer coach, and entrepreneur living in California with her 2 children, husband and a desire to help save the planet. 

Check out her business Rent-a-Romper; a rental clothing subscription that ensures that you have the right clothes at the right time as your child grows. Her goal is to make parents’ lives easier while easing the negative effects that the fashion industry is having on the planet.

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.

Gymboree Play & Music announces their new micro-partner program.

Photo Credit: NeONBRAND Digital Marketing


2020 has been a year of ups and downs that have forced businesses to take a step back and see how to better serve their customers. Gymboree Play & Music is no exception. 

After we saw the true impact of the pandemic on parents, families, and small businesses, we wanted to do more to keep our customers connected, and to use our platform to introduce some of our friends to each of you. We hope that their services might make it a little easier for you and your family to navigate these trying times.

Today we’re happy to launch our “micro-partner” Rent a Romper, which is an environmentally-conscious clothing rental service for kids that repurposes gently-used clothing. Families can clear their closets and ship all of their hand-me-downs to their headquarters – for FREE. You can learn more about the partnership and their offering to our customers here.

This is just one of several micro-partnerships we’ve developed for 2021. Please subscribe or follow us on social media to learn about other partnerships that will be announced in the coming months.