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.

L is for LOVE!

There are a million ways to express love for your little one, whether it’s physical affection, quality time, words of affirmation, active listening…you name it. Any acts of love are supporting your child’s early development and have a huge effect on how they decide to take on life!

L “L” is for LET your little one(s) know they can take risks! When children know they are loved and safe, they build confidence and are more comfortable testing their limits and taking risks. it helps them build the confidence to take risks and try new things.

O “O” is for being ON their side! Children need fans! Your love and support lets them know that somebody is always on their side in life. Having someone cheering them on makes them excited to improve and learn new things.

V “V” is for showing they are VALUABLE! It’s great to show love and encouragement after your little one reaches a new milestone, but it’s also important to relay that your love is because of WHO they are and not only based on WHAT they’ve done.

E “E” is for EVEN when they make mistakes! Kids actually learn MORE when they fail then when they succeed. So, encourage them to keep on trying and reassure them that failure is OK! If they know they are allowed to fail, they will push themselves to try new things!

 

Show your little one(s) how much you love them at Gymboree Play & Music!

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Our Year in Review

By: Lauren O’Brien

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

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

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

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

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

With holiday pictures…

expectation vs reality holiday

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

Just remember that you’re not alone…

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

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

At first you might get really creative…

Eventually you might start using it for evil…

View this post on Instagram

This. Is. The. Truth! 🙌

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

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM EVERYONE AT GYMBOREE PLAY & MUSIC! 

At Gymboree Play & Music, Halloween means IMAGINATION!

By: Lauren O’Brien

halloween imagination

In honor of Halloween, this month at Gymboree Play & Music we are focusing on building confident learners through IMAGINATION!

Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Encouraging your child’s imagination fosters cognitive and social development, which helps them build their critical thinking skills — an important element of early childhood development. Imagination also builds social-emotional development by allowing children to create different resolutions, thus boosting children’s confidence, which can be used in interactions with others.1

Fortunately for parents, children often have great imaginations and creative visualization can come very easily to them; but there are still ways to help your child’s early development even further!

And, since Halloween is all about imaginary monsters, princesses and spooky creatures, it’s the perfect time of year to work on building that imagination! So, when your little one says a shark has eaten your leg or there is ice cream in that empty bowl…play along =)

Here are a few fun and easy Halloween IMAGINATION activities:

ART PROJECTS:

  • Leaf People: Collect fall materials like leaves, sticks, acorns, and pine cones and make a fall collage, a leaf-man or whatever your child’s imagination creates!
  • Pumpkin Painting: This allows your child to get a bit more imaginative than carving because there are no knives involved!
  • Pumpkin Faces: Grab some white paper plates, orange paint, black paper (for the eyes and mouth), and paint brushes to create pumpkin face masks!
  • Styrofoam Spiders: Just a styrofoam cup, pipe cleaners, googly eyes and markers to make silly (or creepy!) spider decorations.
  • Hand Print Trees: Draw your child’s handprint on some construction paper, use brown paint for the trunk and branches (wrist and fingers) and then glue some fall-colored tissue paper on for the leaves.

MUSICAL ACTIVITIES:  Turn up the stereo volume, get out some instruments and bust out those dance moves. Let your child freestyle dance and/or play some instruments (like maracas) to whatever beat they hear!

OTHER IMAGINATION ACTIVITIES:

  • Halloween Treats: Take those imaginations to the kitchen! Make some fun halloween treats.
  • Build a Fort: Turn a fort into a haunted house!
  • Dress up: Who doesn’t love some creative dress-up?
  • Free Play: Allowing your child unstructured playtime provides them time to truly use their imagination!

1. [Nurturing Creativity and Imagination For Child Development]

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!

Our GymboFams Ambassadors shared some love for their teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day today! We love our Gymboree Play & Music teachers!

We love miss Rachael at Gymboree Play & Music, Summerlin in Las Vegas, NV because she makes music class fun. Miss Rachel not only teaches the origin of an artist or genre, but she includes motor skills, memorization, and really gets the parents involved as well. We love music class with miss Rachel. – Jennifer

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We love Miss Diane at Gymboree Play & Music, Pearlridge in Aiea, HI she is kind, nice, friendly. She greets everyone who comes in and knows everyone by name. She allows Iyada to help her with class at times, and when it’s time to leave Diane gives Gymbo stamps and Iyada gives her a high five and hugs to say thank you. – Daria

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Iyada loves her Level 5 teachers, Ms. Tori and Mr. Jerrick who are also at Gymboree Play & Music, Pearlridge in Aiea, HI. They are awesome, friendly, and fun. They love the that fact they’ve gotten the chance to see her grow since Level 1. We love our Gymboree Play & Music teachers!  – Daria

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Hello, everybody, it’s a Gymboree Play & Music day in Beaverton, OR! Tuesdays are our favorite Gymboree Play & Music day because we have classes with both Teacher Roya (Music) and Teacher Kristy (Play) all in one day!! – Ashley

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We love Miss Gabby at Gymboree Play & Music in Ashburn, VAGymboree Play & Music in Ashburn, VA because she has helped transition McKinley from her Play and Learn class to Preschool Steps beautifully! She truly cares about al of the children and always has a positive, loving attitude in class each day! – Lauren

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Get Artsy and…Celebrate THE PLANET FOR EARTH DAY

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Celebrate Earth Day at your local Gymboree Play & Music

We’ll be using fun techniques to help teach our little ones about helping the planet so be sure to JOIN US for…

Clean up & Sort:  “Make reusable shopping bags available.  Scatter playballs, Air Shapes and Tactile Balls around the room.  Invite everyone to help “clean” up and have fun “sorting recyclables”.

Take the Bus:  Invite everyone to ride the Airlog Bus together!

Energy Freeze:  Randomly during Open Gym, cue everyone to “freeze” each time you turn off the room lights to “save energy”.

Composting:  Dump a bucket of scarf “leaves” around the room.  Get everyone to help scoop up the leaves and put them in the Crawligator Square “Composter” lined with a Minichute.  Pull Minichute full of “compost” out.

Take the fun home too!

Looking for a fun Earth Day project to do at home? There are so many ideas…from collages to paper flowers. Try these fun projects at home!

Trash to Treasure Collage: Now is a great time to “clean up and reuse” those left over art supplies! Paper scraps, torn tissue pieces, foam shapes, feathers, pom-poms, rubber stamps, leaves, left over wrapping paper, Styrofoam noodles, newspaper strips etc. Provide colored construction paper and glue sticks and glue for children to create their own unique collage!

Earth Mosaic Collage: Precut blue “earth” paper circles. Glue stick pieces of pre-cut green craft moss, fabric scraps or even real green leaves and apply in patches to the blue “earth” circle.

Bloom & Blossom: Precut paper daisy shapes from colored construction paper. Children use stamp pad to make thumb print colors on petals. Hole-punch and add a pipe cleaner twist for stem.

12 Non-Toy Gift Ideas For The Holidays (for babies to preschoolers)

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Toys are magical, especially during the holiday season — they’re educational, fun and downright cute but when you have multiple friends and family members buying for your young children the sheer volume of toys received can be a bit overwhelming.

So what’s a parent to do when the toy pile keeps growing? Gymboree Play & Music has come up with a list of 12 toy alternatives that will delight and encourage play for children ages 0 to 5 years old.

Sometimes it’s nice to give (and receive) a non-toy present that sparks imagination, creativity and kindness.

Let’s Play!

  1. Dress-Up Clothes – Raid grandma’s closet for old hats, shoes, purses, ties and scarves. Your little one will love playing dress-up and you can add a modern twist by taking selfies of each outfit.
  2. Museum Events – Choose a specific event at a local museum, this way kids can visualize their upcoming adventure.  For example if you live near Rochester, NY you might choose The Berenstain Bears: Down a Sunny Dirt Road at The Strong National Museum of Play. What’s going on in YOUR town?
  3. Tummy Time Blanket – Babies will love practicing “Tummy Time” on a brightly colored soft blanket. Try Etsy for beautiful handmade blankets.
  4. Sleeping Bag – Toddlers and Preschoolers will love having their own sleeping bag for movie night on the couch or to make a tent with a chair.
  5. Flashlight – Light play is so much fun! A moving light on the wall becomes a shooting star or a faraway planet. It also makes for a great game of on/off for babies.
  6. Charity Bank – Give your child a small bank for their favorite cause. Does your child love pets or recycling? Help them pick a charity and then let them save their pennies in the charity bank. Once the bank is full help them roll the coins and make a donation.
  7. Art Book – Self-publish a book of your child’s artwork from the entire year. They will be thrilled to see that they have their very own published “book”.
  8. Ice Cream Parlor Voucher – Create a “Treat Ticket” redeemable at a brand new ice cream parlor. Children of all ages will love building a triple scoop with their favorite flavors. The whole family can play a guessing game too — have each child choose their own flavors then have the family guess which ones they picked by color and texture.
  9. Huge Cardboard Box – A cardboard box can be a pirate ship, Landspeeder, clubhouse, birds nest or just a fun place to play.
  10. Bath Sponges – Kids of all ages love bath time! Water play not only gets little hands clean but it also makes for creative play. Kids can squeeze water, make bubbles and float their sponge like a boat.
  11. Mystery Box – Create a personalized mystery box of hand-me-down items. Ask grandpa, Aunt Jane and cousin Joe to contribute something fun — items can include things like old stamps, a harmonica or some seeds to plant in the Spring. Decorate the box in bright colors for an added touch.
  12. Baby Lab & Play Lab Classes at Gymboree Play & Music! Baby Lab is a multi-sensory play and learning lab that’s all about building brain power, stimulating reflexes and sharing giggles. Play Lab is an innovative new program that brings S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) learning to life with projects and activities that were specifically designed for their age group.

Share YOUR ideas for a non-toy holiday gift.