September Book Recommendations

This month as we celebrate “firsts” with our first-time parents and grandparents we are also celebrating a milestone of our own with the launch of our recommended parenting books. Scroll down to see the full recommendation list. 

Recommendations for Children

Peek-a-Boo Forest

By Lamaze

This is the perfect first book for baby! Soft pages and flaps help fine motor development, while the playful rhyming text promotes language development. Your baby will love turning the pages, pulling on the flaps to reveal different animals, and feeling all the different textures inside this interactive baby book.

First 100 Words

By Roger Priddy

Help your child learn some essential first words with this simple picture book. “First 100 Words” takes a look at the different people and objects that feature in baby’s daily life, like family, clothes, food and first concepts. This book is a great language development tool for both babies and toddlers. Younger babies can observe the pictures as you read to them. See if toddler can name some of the objects or people they see in the pictures.

Opposites

By Eric Carle

“Opposites” is the perfect book for toddlers who are developing their speech and beginning to understand contrasting ideas. Help your little one discover the differences between day and night, up and down, young and old and more! Each page features the brightly-colored collage-style illustrations by Eric Carle that toddlers love!

Lola Gets a Cat

By Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw

Has your older toddler or preschooler been asking for a pet? “Lola Gets a Cat” is the perfect book to help teach your little one how to prepare for a new furry friend, and understand the hard work that goes into caring for a pet. Lola does her research to learn all she can about caring for her new cat, and even practices with her toy kitten. She finally gets to bring home her very first pet, and after a couple days of patience and caring, the new kitten settles right in.

The Kissing Hand

By Audrey Penn, Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak

 It’s the first day of school in the forest, but Chester does not want to go. To help Chester calm his nerves, his mother shares with him the family secret of “the kissing hand,” which helps him feel connected to his family while he is away at school. As we know, starting school is a big step, and many new preschoolers struggle with separation. Use this book as a tool to help your new preschooler overcome their fears. 

Recommendations for Parents

The Whole-Brain Child

by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson

In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures.

The First Forty Days

by Heng Ou

The first 40 days after the birth of a child offer an essential and fleeting period of rest and recovery for the new mother. Based on author Heng Ou’s own postpartum experience with zuo yuezi, a set period of “confinement,” in which a woman remains at home focusing on healing and bonding with her baby, The First Forty Days revives the lost art of caring for the mother after birth.

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

by Philippa Perry

Every parent wants their child to be happy and every parent wants to avoid screwing them up (the way their parents did!). But how do you do that?

In this absorbing, clever, and warm book, renowned psychotherapist Philippa Perry tells us what really matters and what behavior it is important to avoid–the vital dos and don’ts of parenting.

Cribsheet

by Emily Oster

Armed with data, Oster finds that the conventional wisdom doesn’t always hold up. She debunks myths around breastfeeding (not a panacea), sleep training (not so bad!), potty training (wait until they’re ready or possibly bribe with M&Ms), language acquisition (early talkers aren’t necessarily geniuses), and many other topics. She also shows parents how to think through freighted questions like if and how to go back to work, how to think about toddler discipline, and how to have a relationship and parent at the same time. 

The Baby Owner’s Manual

by Dr. Louis Borgenicht and Joe Borgenicht

Through step-by-step instructions and helpful schematic diagrams, The Baby Owner’s Manual explores hundreds of frequently asked questions: What’s the best way to swaddle a baby? How can I make my newborn sleep through the night? When should I bring the baby to a doctor for servicing? Whatever your concerns, you’ll find the answers here—courtesy of celebrated pediatrician Dr. Louis Borgenicht and his son, Joe Borgenicht. Together, they provide plenty of useful advice for anyone who wants to learn the basics of childcare.

Transform Your Home for Play, Life & Learning

Transitioning from an actual office, school or learning center to an at-home work and play environment has been an overwhelming shift for parents around the world.

Where homes used to have obvious and defined areas for lounging and living, the lines have become blurred to accommodate for Zoom calls, and remote,  (or “virtual”) learning, on top of day-to-day life.

We’ve gathered some of the best tips for creating a co-working, co-learning, space in your home, that won’t break the bank or require you to overload your home with tons of furniture.

Create Boundaries
Giving your play area boundaries not only helps to keep toys and objects in their proper space, but it gives your child the impression that they have a special part of your home or living room that is all theirs.

Use Containers & Cabinets to Conceal Items
Just because you aren’t likely to have company at this time, doesn’t mean you should forgo the cleaning and organizing you would typically undertake. Using a cabinet, cloth baskets or a shelf will keep things like toys, papers, work-out gear, and virtual class tools out of sight when you want to enjoy your living space.

Repurpose Everyday Items for Learning 
Believe it or not there are tons of items you can find around your home that are perfect for learning. Things like q-tips, sponges, balls, and disposable dixie cups can be used for art and science projects. 

Set Defined Working and Learning Hours for Your Space
One of the biggest hurdles that working parents and little learners have had in recent months has been how to keep a routine in what seems to be a routine-less world.

Our advice: treat your day, and your space just like you would if you were in a routine. If you are supposed to be in a class or in a meeting at a specific time, commit your space to those things at their assigned time.

Once those things would typically end, leave the space accordingly. So, for example, if you would typically be at a desk at 8am, get out of bed and sit at your desk or table at 8. If your baby has a class, get your virtual space set up, and when the class is over – put away any class related items. 

Although it appears that life won’t be back to “normal” anytime soon, at least we can find ways to make our day-to-day life more manageable. 

Hang in there, mama!

 

 

Transformations: August Book Recommendations!

August Book Graphic

This month’s book recommendation’s focus is on Transformations!

At Gymboree Play & Music, we actively foster and encourage positive attitudes towards embracing change. Transitions can be hard for your little ones, as they crave the predictability of routines.

Our August Book Recommendations focus on transformations, whether it is a new addition to the family, moving to a new home, or just simply reaching those developmental milestones.

I am Big Bro

I am a Big Brother/Sister
By Caroline Jayne Church
With the arrival of a new baby comes many transitions. Sometimes new Big Brothers and Big Sisters need a little help adjusting to a new family situation. This sweet story will help prepare little ones for the arrival of a new sibling.

A busy year

A Busy Year
By Leo Lionni
Written by four-time Caldecott Honor author-artist Leo Lionni, this story celebrates the ever-changing rhythms of nature. Two little field mice meet a tree named Woody who lives nearby, and the three quickly become friends. Month by month, throughout the whole year, the field mice visit their tree friend and discover the how nature transitions with each season.

Once I was a Pollywog

Once I Was a Pollywog
By Douglas Florian and Barbara Bakos
Once I was a pollywog, now I am a frog. Once I was a piglet, but now I am a hog. Growing up is all about transformation. Discover what each of these baby animals will become when they grow up!

Bunny Bungalow

Bunny Bungalow
By Cynthia Rylant and Nancy Hayashi
Moving to a new place can be a big transition, but there’s always a way to make your house feel like home. Follow a family of bunnies as they decorate their new bungalow, transforming it into a home that is all their own.

Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
By Eric Litwin and James Dean
Pete the Cat is enjoying the day, taking a walk and wearing his brand-new white shoes. As he walks down the street, his shoes change from white to blue to brown to WET after stepping in piles of strawberries, blueberries, and other messes. But does Pete cry? Goodness no! Pete teaches us that no matter what transitions life throws at us, we can keep our cool and go with the flow.

For more story time fun, visit our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Believe in Self-Confidence

email template for July

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. So much learning takes place through mistakes, building a growth mindset that promotes self-confidence in our little ones.

Raising a confident and happy child is important. It sets a foundation for the rest of their lives and helps them learn necessary emotional and social skills. When your little ones believe in their ability to accomplish tasks on their own, they will feel empowered to take on challenges in all aspects of life.

Here are a few ways to help build self-confidence in your child:

Focus on strengths
Strengths come in all shapes and sizes. Some strengths are obvious, while others are harder to notice -such as being a good listener. By recognizing your little one’s strengths, you are helping them thrive.

Be positive
Being optimistic can go a long way. If your child makes a mistake, turn their frown upside down with an encouraging discussion that focuses on a solution and the lessons that were learned.

Allow children to make their own decisions
Empower your little ones by giving them opportunities to make their own choices. Teach good judgement and offer multiple options.

Become a supportive role model
Parents and caregivers serve as role models, through their attitudes and behaviors within the family and their community. Encourage positive interactions that contribute to your little one’s personal growth and development.

Raising confident children can be challenging. Putting trust in your little one’s abilities and seeking opportunities to challenge them will help build the self-esteem they need to grow into confident learners.

Come play with us with Gymboree Play & Music’s YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music  Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Signing & Singing

Support a lifetime of learning by signing and singing with your little ones!
Our featured video brings to life a classic children’s song. Through music and ASL, your little ones will learn all about farm animals.

Fostering early childhood development, sign language encourages communication, reduces frustrations, and allows your little ones to communicate vital information. Using sign language gives children an option for communicating their feelings and intent.

Other benefits of incorporating sign language into your little one’s everyday life are early language development, boosting memory, and encouraging self-confidence.

Signing can be a fun activity that allows you to bond with your child, all while providing a positive, educational experience.

Join Gymboree Play & Music as we sign and sing together in our featured video of the week.

Come play with us at the Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel.
Our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music  Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

The Fearless Parent

July Graphic_FBAs parents, you are responsible for what happens to your children, and that can feel overwhelming. We all strive to be “perfect” parents, but successful parenting is not about achieving perfection. Let’s face it, good parenting is hard work and is loaded with uncertainty. You can suddenly find yourself worrying about things you never thought about until you held your tiny one in your arms for that very first time.

Fear is a natural part of the human experience. Being a parent can be scary, and that is why we created a few tips on how to defeat those fears one step at a time.

You are enough
We have said this before, and will continue to say, that you are doing a great job. Yes, mistakes will happen, but that does not mean you’re not a great parent. Take a deep breath and give yourself a high-five. You deserve it!

Take care of yourself
It’s no surprise that taking care of yourself makes you a better parent but, in turn, it will help your little ones to be confident in their everyday life. Hydrate, get plenty of sleep, and a take a little “me time.”

Make parenting goals
While you might set goals in different areas of your life (career, health, and home), goal setting for parents is also important for modeling behavioral values and building relationships with your little ones. Write down what you want to achieve as a parent. Be consistent and positive with the goals you set for yourself.

Lead by example
Everything that you do or say rubs off on your little ones. Hold a mirror up to yourself and reflect the qualities and traits that you want your children to aspire to.

It is okay to fail
Being a parent is both rewarding and challenging. Your little ones do not come with an instruction manual, and you may fail from time to time. Parenting mistakes do not mean you are bad parent. Mistakes provide an opportunity to sharpen those parenting skills and teach your child valuable life lessons.

Come play with us with Gymboree Play & Music’s YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music  Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Making Connections: July Book Recommendations

Our July Book Recommendations are all about making connections.

The power of community can have a positive impact that supports social and cognitive advancement.

Through relationships, children discover the world around them. Building and strengthening personal connections provides an opportunity for your child to develop social skills, and communicate confidently.  Nurturing relationships with a variety of people helps your child develop a “sense of self”, while celebrating the differences of others.

Our expert programming team have hand-picked these July reads that introduces empathy, portrayings the value of community and the importance of spending time together.

Saturday, By Oge Mora
Saturdays are special, because Saturday is the only day Ava’s mother doesn’t have to go to work. Every Saturday, Ava and her mother get to go on an adventure through the city, but this Saturday is a little different. Ava realizes that Saturdays are special not because of where they go or what they do, but because they get to spend time together.

Green Green: A Community Garden Story,
By Baldev Lamba, Marie Lamba & Sonia Sánchez
“Green, green, fresh and clean. Brown, brown, dig the ground.” As the city grows and grows, there is less and less green space left. The neighborhood children inspire the community to join in and build a garden in the middle of the city for everyone to share.

Swimmy, By Leo Lionni
Swimmy is a little fish who loves adventure and wants to explore the sea. When he meets a school of small red fish, he invites them to swim and play, but the little fish are frightened of the big fish that lurk nearby. Swimmy comes up with a plan so he and the other fish can all safely explore the ocean together.

Counting on Community, By Innosanto Nagara
We’re counting up from one stuffed pinata up to ten hefty hens and counting on each other. Children learn the value of community, the joys of engaging in eco-friendly activities, and the agency they possess to make a change.

Bear Came Along, By Richard T. Morris & LeUyen Pham
This action-packed adventure is all about the importance of friendship and community. The story starts with a river. The river never knew it was capable of adventure… until Bear came along. Bear is soon joined by Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Raccoons and Duck. These very different animals travel together downstream, but never knew they’d need each other… until the river came along.

For more story time fun, visit our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Let’s Read A Story!

Support a lifetime of learning, encouraging exploration and self-acceptance through books, and your little ones will learn to conquer new challenges and have a better understanding of the power of community.

Our featured video is a story that brings to life an award-winning picture book Where Are You From, by Yamile Saied Méndez. This story features a little girl who constantly gets asked the simple question, “where are you from?” The answer is not simple, and the girl takes a journey with her “abuelo” to discover her heritage and family connections. This is a story for all readers to enjoy.

Where Are Your From is a 2019 Nerdies Fiction Picture Book Award Winner and a Silver Medalist for Bank Street College of Education’s Best Spanish Language Picture Books of the Year. The book was named one of Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2019 and A Mighty Girl’s 2019 Book of the Year. Where Are Your From was named one of New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids 2019.

Join Gymboree Play & Music as we read a story aloud all about community, identity, cultural differences, and self-acceptance in our featured video of the week.

Come create with us at our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music  Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Sensory Play: June Book Recommendations!

June book graphic

This month’s book recommendation’s focus is on sensory play!

From birth to childhood, your little one uses their senses (touch, sight, smell, taste, hearing, and vestibular proprioception) to explore the world around them. Sensory play is crucial to brain development as it helps your child build an understanding of objects, spaces, and people. Engaging in sensory play aides our little ones in building emotional awareness and expression.

Our expert programming team has hand-picked these June reads that assist in developing language skills, encourage exploration, and increase creativity. There is also a bonus book recommendation for the grownups out there who want to try out some “messy play” recipes.

The very busy spider

The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle
One morning a little spider starts spinning a web on a fencepost. One by one, the animals on the farm try to distract her, but she keeps working until her web is finished. This book allows children to feel the pictures as well as see them, as they trace along the spider’s web.

Fuzzy Fuzzy

Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy!
(A Touch, Skritch & Tickle Book), by Sandra Boynton
This touch and feel book by the popular author Sandra Boynton features five animals that little ones can touch, feel and tickle. This book is the perfect choice for baby’s first touch and feel book!

Follow Me

Follow Me (Finger Mazes), by Roger Priddy
Help Fox and his animal friends find their way along the trails in this finger maze book! The grooved outlines allow children to follow along with their finger, from the forest to the farm and even the ocean.

Noisy Airplane

The Noisy Airplane Ride, by Mike Downs and David Gordon
Rhyming verses take little ones on a tour of different sounds they might hear before, during, and after an airplane ride. The rhythmic, onomatopoeic text makes for a great read-aloud that will have children copying the different sounds. As a bonus, this book is a great tool for comforting first-time flyers!

Night sounds

Night Sounds, by Sam Taplin
Discover the magic of the night with this press-the-button sound book. Children will hear hooting owl, squeaking bats, and a purring cat as they follow along with the story. Peep-holes and finger trails make this book a well-rounded sensory experience!

Bonus book recommendation for the grownups:

Bonus Messy Play

Recipes for Messy Play, by Cathy Sheppard
Messy play is not only tons of fun, it helps children learn about their senses, practice literacy, numeracy and social-emotion skills, explore color, texture and pattern, and develop hand-eye coordination. A true whole-child approach to learning! In this book, adults discover 40 fun, creative and open-ended sensory experiences for young learners.

For more story time fun, visit our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Come Pretend With Us

 

Support a lifetime of learning by nurturing your little one’s imagination!

Pretend play, or imaginary play, has many benefits for a child’s emotional and physical development. Learning is supported by imagining and role playing. When your little one pretends to be a different character, such as a pirate or a princess, they are walking in someone else’s shoes and that teaches empathy and respect. Designing their own world of excitement, children find creative ways to use a cardboard box or turn their favorite toy into something magical.

Pretend play also fosters problem solving tools that support cognitive and creative thinking, and guides your little one to think “outside of the box”.

Join Gymboree Play & Music as we pretend to be pirates. We will make our very own spyglass, sail the seven seas, and sing a pirate song in our featured video of the week.

 

Come create with us at our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music  Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!