Meet GymboFams Ambassador Brie

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

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

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

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

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

Meet GymboFams Ambassador Kaci

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

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


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

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

Meet GymboFams Ambassador Kaitlynn

My name is Kaitlynn, but I’m better known as baby Madison’s mom at our local Gymboree Play & Music on Staten Island in NYC. Maddie is 9-months-old and has been attending classes with the amazing Miss Lucie, Miss Fran, and her new little friends the past three months. She loves Gymboree Play & Music and it’s been such a fun activity for our entire family!

My husband, Frank, and I always try to attend Maddie’s classes together as our schedules allow. The old saying “It takes a village to raise a child” holds true and is fully embraced here. We frequently see other children attending with both parents or sometimes with grandparents or other special family members in their place. We are grateful that the Gymboree Play & Music community wholeheartedly welcomes our family and other families to participate in this way, which was something important to us when finding a program that was the right fit.


Like many first time parents, Frank and I are both guilty of reading what is probably an unhealthy amount on childhood development and naturally worry about how the choices we make as parents can affect our child – despite knowing that we are taking great care of our happy, smart, funny, and beautiful little girl. I also work for a trusted health and pregnancy/parenting company and frequently see new evidence-based research being reported on this subject. The amount of varying information and opinions about what is “best” is ever increasing and because of that, it’s sometimes hard to know what is truly beneficial for our child.

One concept that has been scientifically proven countless times though is the positive effects that learning through play has on the development of the whole child, so we naturally incorporated it in our household once Maddie was born. We knew we eventually wanted her to join baby classes that were reflective of this, too. When we saw there was a Gymboree Play & Music location down the road from where we were looking at purchasing our first home, we did a little homework and discovered we loved its ideology, so we registered for a free class.


Who knew we had exactly what we were looking for so close by? Seeing Maddie with a big smile throughout the class and being incredibly engaged in this new experience was enough reason to sign up, so we did as soon as the class was over.

Being in a positive and fun setting like Gymboree Play & Music surrounded by other sweet babies was something new to our family and we felt at home right away. With Maddie being an only child and having no little ones in the family nearby, we really liked that she would have the opportunity to socialize with those around her age while further building other necessary foundational skills critical for her development. And as we went to more classes, the more we realized that the Gymboree Play & Music program and what we do at home can serve as an extension of one another.

For example, even before joining Gymboree Play & Music we would do various playful exercises with Maddie to promote physical development. One of these included placing her on top of a big blue exercise ball while firmly holding her and gently rocking side to side and back and forth to songs like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

This exercise may sound familiar to GymboFams! When joining our first play class at Gymboree Play & Music, Maddie got to ride the good ol’ air log for the first time and realized how similar it was to what we were doing at home. And of course to little Maddie, the air log was a million times bigger and better than our dinky exercise ball. The experience at Gymboree Play & Music was made even more fun because she got to participate with friends and learned new songs, which we now incorporate in our scaled down version at home.

Likewise, during a play class focused around spatial awareness we learned that some people are wired in a way where they don’t like to be in small spaces (like elevators) and were assured it is completely normal and okay if your child is one of those people. Turns out, Maddie is one of them! If it weren’t for learning this upfront at Gymboree Play & Music, I easily would’ve gone down a rabbit hole of worrying until I eventually researched to find that there is not a single thing wrong with this and it’s just how she is. Now at home, especially as we’re in the process of unpacking after moving, we’ve set up tunnels-galore out of big boxes for her to crawl through and play in. So far, she’s becoming more inclined to explore them, slowly but surely, at her own pace and comfort level as she chooses.

Each class is themed around a different area of focus, so it’s beneficial to children and parents alike. After each class, parents are able to go home and continue having fun with their children while integrating the various pieces of wisdom learned from listening in class.

We’re so grateful for the knowledge, fun, friendship, and positivity that our local Gymboree Play & Music has brought to our family and look forward to the many years ahead here!

Follow Kaitlynn on Instagram at:
https://www.instagram.com/theshoefit

Meet GymboFams Ambassador Theresa

My name is Theresa & I am the mother of a talented 11.5 year old girl named Ava & 7.5 month Girl/Boy Twins Aria/ Ace. I’m so happy to be back and Gymboree Play & Music!

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We love the music, songs and dances. I find it important to develop fine motor skills and to interact with your children daily. This not only helps them emotionally but also helps with connecting/bonding with your children.

The babies can’t get enough of the colors and activities. I’m soooo excited to be a GymboFams Ambassador and to share all the awesome things we’re doing. I’m also a working mother and I love pureeing the babies food.

You can follow Theresa at: https://www.instagram.com/triple_aaa18/

Meet GymboFams Ambassador Nicolette

My name is Nicolette and my boyfriend is Cosimo, together we have a beautiful baby girl named Valentina. When I was a child I went to Gymboree Play & Music from the time I was about 6 months old. I loved Gymboree Play & Music and remember it as some of the best childhood memories I ever had.

I wanted my daughter to have the same experiences as I did, so we started bringing her around 6 months old.  The most special part of bringing Valentina is that she has the same amazing teachers that I did.

Our Gymboree Play & Music teachers are the most nurturing and caring women I have ever met.Gymboree Play & Music has become a second home to us, and I am forever grateful ♥️

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You can follow Nicolette at: https://www.instagram.com/valentinaguardavaccaro/

 

Meet GymboFams Ambassador Tihon

Hi! My name is Tihon and I’m mom to two amazing kids. My oldest is 9 and I wish I had found Gymboree Play & Music when she was younger. I’ve been taking my youngest since he was 7 months old and we’ve loved it since day one!

 

Little Donnie loves playing and exploring. I love having a fun and kid-friendly place to bring him where he gets to interact with other children and develop amazing social skills. Donnie has made friends and we absolutely adore Ms. Nathaly and the rest of the Gymboree Play & Music staff. Donnie is now walking at just 11 months old and our Gymbo Fam has been there to see it all!

 

You can follow Tihon at:

https://www.instagram.com/itsmetihon/

 

Meet GymboFams Ambassador Tess

Hello! My name is Tess Kossow, my husband’s name is Dan, and our son’s name is Ferris. He is our one and only child, as he is a rainbow baby conceived via IVF. Ferris is my every heartbeat, and I want him involved and to explore the world every chance he can get. Ferris and I joined Gymboree Play & Music Baby Lab when he was 8 weeks old, and we have been going to classes, now at two different locations, ever since.

I love to see how Ferris progresses week by week with all the different activities and socialization skills that come into play through the different experiences at Gymboree Play & Music . The interaction with other caretakers and babies is what makes this time so special for the two of us (three when Dan or Grandma can make it). We even have several of theGymboree Play & Music toys (and bubbles) at home in Ferris’ playroom to keep the fun going even after class is over!

Seeing my son smile and bond with others makes me smile but having the one-on-one time doing 45 minutes of play and music geared around his wants and needs is a time that I absolutely cherish. I look forward to sharing these moments with others and encouraging families of all sizes and stories to highly considerGymboree Play & Music for their little one.

You can Follow Tess at:
https://www.instagram.com/beautybabyboss/
http://www.beautybabyboss.com/

Meet GymboFams Ambassador Maritza

My name is Maritza, I am the mother of a 1-year-old baby named Nicholas. Nicholas is an only child and the only baby on both sides of the family. He has no cousins so unfortunately, he doesn’t have much interaction with other children. We were afraid of him becoming anti-social in the future and we wanted him to break out of his shell as he tends to be very shy around others.

We were looking for an environment were Nicholas could have fun as well as develop new skills. We are so glad we found Gymboree Play & Music.  In such a short time, we can already see his development. He now waves hello to others and claps when he hears the music being played in class. We cannot wait to see how much more he will develop while attending Gymboree Play & Music. We are excited to become a part of GymboFams and spread the word about this amazing place.

This is a great experience for both babies and their parents, I wish more people would take the time to check it out. It is a great investment for our children, I wish we had discovered Gymboree Play & Music sooner.

Follow Maritza on Instagram right here: https://www.instagram.com/ritzy_xo/

Song & Dance Make Gymboree Play & Music Classes Fun!

Today we have a guest blog post from GymboFams Ambassador Allison!

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Allison started attending Gymboree Play & Music when son, Christopher, now 4 years old, was 16 months old. She also has a daughter Annie, now 2 years old.

Walking out of a Family Gym class, I often find myself humming Dance Gymbo Dance – its catchy. My kids sing it too. When we are stuck in traffic, mini-Gymbo goes “up and down” “side to side” and “peek-a-boo” in the backseat.

My favorite though, is my kids cleaning up their toys every night, singing/yelling, “Toys away, toys away, let’s put all our toys away.”

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(Annie is always ready to help clean up in class)

Gymboree Play & Music fosters learning in a play environment. Christopher’s first word was “bubble” – I certainly wasn’t blowing bubbles at home every week. Some credit lies with hisGymboree Play & Music teachers singing “bubbles for Christopher” and all the other student in class, every week. The first complete song Annie sang to me was “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” We would sing it every week under the parachute in level 4.

Annie makes requests in class. She asks her teachers for her favorite songs: “Put Your Finger On” and “Apple Tree.” Her first year of Gymboree Play & Music was attending Christopher’s classes in a baby carrier. Before she started participating in her own classes, she would have Christopher sing her the songs.

Their new favorite is “Slippery Fish” from Family Music. It has been added to our bedtime routine. Christopher and Annie know all the words, and all the moves. They have started adding sea creatures to make the song longer (and bedtime a few minutes later). “Slippery Fish” has also been added to our “Gymbo Music” playlist (a playlist I created on my phone with our favorite songs fromGymboree Play & Music classes).

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(Christopher singing about Hammerhead Shark in Family Music)

*Mom tip* Inevitably, there will be weeks when the kids get sick, or weather keeps you from getting to class, the Gymbo Music playlist is a lifesaver. Even when we cannot see our favorite teachers, or dance with Gymbo, we have his music to calm our bodies.

Follow Allison on Instagram right here: https://www.instagram.com/typeawithtoddler/

Meet GymboFams Ambassador Cherilyn

Aloha, I am Cherilyn Evangelista, I am, I guess, a retired Chef and now stay at home mom. I now have the challenge of cooking for the most pickiest toddler ever.

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I have been bringing Matthew to Gymboree Play & Music since he was 18 months. I wish I had brought him earlier. Matty will be 3 in January. Gymboree Play & Music has helped Matty with his speech delay and now sings all the Gymboree Play & Music songs.

Matty loves every one at GymboreePlay & Music especially Ms. Tori. He gives her at least 3 a day which is 3 more than I get. Ms. Erica, Ms. Tori, Mr. Jerrick, Ms. Diane and Ms. Jessica makes us feel like family. I still haven’t figured out how they remember everyone’s name.