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!

 

 

Celebrating Creativity: May Book Recommendations!

May book graphic

Our May book recommendations are all about celebrating creativity!

Creativity is not just limited to artistic expression – such as painting a picture, singing a song, or putting on a puppet show – but it also includes science and math. Creativity is essential to social and emotional development, so your little one will learn to be flexible and adaptable.

Imaginative play in early childhood is a door to all kinds of creative possibilities!

Our expert programming team have hand-picked these May reads for your little problem–solver to enjoy!

 

Not a box

Not a Box, By Antoinette Portis

A box is just a box to most. But to this small rabbit, a little creativity goes a long way as a cardboard box transforms into anything he can imagine. If you and your little one enjoys this story, you’ll also love “Not a Stick” by the same author.

 

Sky color

Sky Color, By Peter H. Reynolds

Marisol loves to paint. When her teacher asks her to help paint a mural for the school library, she decides to paint the sky. But how can she paint the sky without any blue paint? Inspired by a dream, Marisol creates a brand-new color for the sky.

 

Whale

The Whale in My Swimming Pool, By Joyce Wan

One day a little boy goes outside for a swim. But he finds his pool is already occupied… by a whale! He tries everything to get the whale to move, but he won’t budge. Luckily, the boy comes up with the perfect creative solution.

 

Beautiful OOPs

Beautiful Oops, By Barney Saltzberg

A tear, a spill, a smudge, a stain. When you think you’ve made a mistake, try to turn it into something beautiful. This creative book uses folded pages and liftable flaps to teach little ones it’s ok to make mistakes. Sometimes mistakes can inspire you do more than you ever imagined!

 

Duck Rabbit

Duck Rabbit By Amy Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

I see a duck! Or is it a rabbit? Everyone loves a good optical illusion. This book allows little ones to begin seeing the world from different perspectives. It’s all in how you look at it!

 

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!

 

It’s Slime Time

Support a lifetime of learning by introducing your little ones to science at an early age.

Tactile activities such as making slime (yes slime) have many benefits for children’s cognitive and physical development. Slime is a type of sensory and messy play that encourages the imagination to explore and create.

Making slime is a relaxing activity that you and your little one can do together at home. This hands-on science experiment blends different substances together, and supports sensory play through movements such as pouring, mixing, measuring, and even cleaning. Children will have fun stirring and stretching the slime, as well as exploring the texture. Your little one will also learn colors and color combinations.

What you will need:
Water
Borax
Glue (Elmer’s School Glue)
Food coloring to add color to the slime (Optional)

How to:
Take 1 cup of water
Add 1 teaspoon of Borax to the cup of water, stir until dissolved and set aside
Put ½ cup of water and ½ cup of glue in a big bowl
Add a few drops of food coloring to the big bowl of ingredients
Stir glue, water, and food coloring together
Add the cup of water and Borax to the big bowl and stir some more

Now your little one is ready to be sticky and slimy!

 

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!

Engage In Play At Home

April 16

There is nothing more fun than spending quality time with family and loved ones! But during these uncertain times of staying in place and social distancing, finding activities for your little ones to do at home can be challenging.

We at Gymboree Play & Music are committed to taking care of our community. We recognize how hard it can be to come up with creative ideas for every moment of the day. That’s why we have compiled a list of activities encouraging exploration and self-expression that will keep your little one engaged in play from the comfort of your own home.

Create a Daily Routine
A routine creates a sense of security for your little one and will provide a calmer family environment. Our friends at HOMER have created a “build your own learning routine” that focuses on movement, story time, and so much more. Check out their colorful routine that can be applied to ages 10 and under.

Click the image to view all the routines.

HOMER_BuildYourOwnLearningRoutine--page-001

Play Dress Up
We have mentioned before that dressing up and costume play has tons of developmental benefits that encourages problem solving, empathy, and builds confidence. Get the scoop on all the benefits of engaging in dress up play by reading our past blog–10 Benefits of Dress Up Play

Bubble Ooodles
Everyone loves bubbles and your little one will stay safe with bubble play! Children learn and develop from early sensory experiences. Bubble Ooodles use touch and movement to engage the senses. Not only that, but Bubble Ooodles are non-toxic and are an easy clean-up activity. 

Build a Fort
Introducing fort play has many benefits to early development that includes problem solving skills, planning, and creativity. Building a fort can be as simple as throwing a blanket over a table. Not to mention it’s fun!

Get Outside
If you have a yard, your little one will have fun exploring the world around them. A bit of sunshine can certainly turn those frowns upside down. Outdoor play improves physical development that is important for growth and movement of the body.

Messy Play
Messy play is essential to your little one’s cognitive and physical development. Messy play activities such as finger painting and shaving cream sensory bins can provide your child with hours of messy fun. Read our seven tips to “Keeping Messy Play Clean”.

Gymboree Play & Music Video Library
If you need to schedule some screen time for your little one, check out our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where we offer playful videos that support a lifetime of learning. Our teachers will guide you on different adventures such as Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities.

 

Engage in play at home with even more Gymboree Play & Music activities!

 

 

Self-Care for Parents

 

April 2

Here at Gymboree Play & Music we are sending all families virtual hugs. We understand that parents have more than enough to think about right now. Worrying can take up a great deal of time and energy and is emotionally and physically draining. During these times, it is vital that we as parents take care of ourselves and maintain our health which in turn will help support the needs of our little ones.

We have compiled a list of self-care activities that you can practice in the comfort of your home while juggling work, children, and stress.

Routine
Having a routine throughout the day certainly helps restore balance. Create a schedule not only for your family, but for yourself as well.

Dress for a social life
Take a shower, put on some comfortable clothes, do your hair and perhaps put on a little makeup. Getting dressed will certainly have a positive impact on our mood.

Repetitive movement
Engage in some form of repetitive movement or left-right movements. Research has proven that movement with your hands such as knitting, coloring, painting, sculpting, even jumping rope can alleviate moments of distress and maintain a sense of calm.

Move and get out at least once a day
Walks are great if the weather is nice. If you aren’t comfortable leaving the house, YouTube has a library filled with free workout videos. If nothing else, turn on the music and host your very own living room dance party! Whatever it is, just make sure to move for at least thirty-minutes a day.

Reach out to others
Connecting with people outside of the household whether by phone or video chat, reduces depression and allows for support and engagement. Don’t forget to set up virtual playdates for your little one as well.

Stay hydrated
This might seem obvious, but stress can play a huge part in not eating right. Make sure to drink lots of water and enjoy healthy balanced meals.

Create your own space
When you’re stressed or need a mental time out, create a space that you can retreat to. Whether it is a pile of blankets, a tent, or sitting outside on the patio. Communicate your intentions to the family and take some time for you.

Find the positive
All the negativity in the world can be overwhelming. Create a list of the good/positive things happening in your life. Find lightness and humor in each day,

This is temporary
In the midst of the quarantine it feels like this will never end. Remind yourself that although these are scary and difficult times, this will pass and we can return to staying healthy, playing healthy, and feeling safe and connected in the days ahead.

 

Visit our Gymboree Play & Music Youtube Channel for a variety of playtime adventures!

Make A Tambourine At Home!

This week is about musical play!

Support a lifetime of learning by teaching children about music at an early age! Playing with a tambourine provides a sensory experience that exposes your little learner to improvisation and creative thinking. It also encourages curiosity and movement. Making your very own musical instruments at home is a great way to not only bond with your child, but it will also keep them entertained for hours!

DIY Music tambourines are easy to construct using items that can be found around your house.

What your will need:
Two paper plates
A hole puncher
Dried beans, beads, Cereal, or anything that will make a noise
Ribbon, String, or yarn
Crayons or paint

Step One:
Decorate your paper plates

Step Two:
Sandwich your plates together

Step Three:
Use a hole punch to create holes around the plates that are about two inches apart

Step Four:
Slip the ribbon through the lined-up holes of both plates

Step Five:
Before tying up the last hole, don’t forget to add your noise material (dried beans, beads, etc.)

Step Six:
Tie up the last hole

Now your little one is ready to tap, shake, jingle, and move!

Jive on over to 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!

Rainbow Of Colors: April Book Recommendations!

April graphic

These uncertain times provide an opportunity to spend more quality time with your little ones. It can also present unexpected challenges of keeping them engaged in activities all day. Reading with your child at least once a day not only assists in the development of social and language skills, but it can provide security and comfort that helps to strengthen the family bond.

A Rainbow of Colors is our theme for the month of April! The ability to identify colors is considered a marker and milestone in your little one’s cognitive learning and is often part of the early screening for development and educational admittance.

Our Book recommendations for the month of April introduce your little learner to the world of color.

 

A color of his own

A Color of His Own, By Leo Lionni

Chameleons change colors wherever they go! They are yellow on lemons, purple in the heather, and even orange with black stripes on a tiger’s tail! But one chameleon wants to know, “Won’t we ever have a color of our own?” He soon meets another chameleon who tells him chameleons will always change colors, but if they remain side by side together, they will always be the same!

 

my many colored days

My Many Colored Days, By Dr. Seuss, Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher

“You’d be surprised how many ways I change on different colored days.” What color is your mood today? In this colorful book about feelings, Dr. Seuss, with paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, uses a spectrum of vibrant colors and a menagerie of animals to personify a range of human moods and emotions.

 

How the crayons saved

How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow, By Monica Sweeney & Feronia Parker Thomas

The Sun and the Clouds are the best of friends. They warm the Earth, help the plants grow, and together make the most beautiful rainbows. But one day they get into a fight and refuse to be in the sky together… which means no more rainbows. The world turns black and white, except for one last box of crayons forgotten in a little school desk. Together the crayons set out to create the biggest rainbows they can to reunite the Sun and the Clouds and restore color to the world.

 

Baby bear sees blue

Baby Bear Sees Blue, By Ashley Wolff

Baby Bear has so much to learn about the world! As he explores his surroundings, he and his Mama see yellow sunlight, green leaves, blue birds and more! This clever concept book combines vibrant illustrations with a sweet story of discovery in a way that encourages little ones to identify a variety of colors.

 

what makes a rainbow

What Makes a Rainbow?, By Betty Ann Schwartz & Dona Turner

Little Rabbit sets out to ask his friends, “What makes a rainbow?” Each animal friend answers with a different color, and with the turn of each page, toddlers will see a new colored ribbon appear in the sky. The last page is sure to delight your little one with a full rainbow of ribbons. Such a charming way to learn colors!

 

 

 

Bonding With Your Baby

Happy Spring

Here at Gymboree Play & Music, we just love Spring! There are puddles to splash in and blooming flowers can be found everywhere.

Spring is known for being the season of early development and in the month of March we are recognizing the importance of child development that encompasses physical, emotional, and cognitive elements in little one’s between the ages of 0 to 3. In these early years, building bonds with parents and caregivers can promote healthy brain development that is critical for learning.

Sometimes bonding with your baby happens naturally and other times it takes a bit longer for that bond to occur. Strong attachments will help your tiny ones learn and connect with others easier by continuing to build and grow these bonds.

Here are six ways you can promote bonding with your baby:

1. Put Your Phone Away
Don’t miss out on all the precious moments your tiny one is experiencing for the first time. Family and loved ones will understand if you don’t respond to messages and calls right away.

2. Keep A Journal of Baby’s First Years
The first few years of your tiny one’s development will fly by. Record all those precious moments you are creating together to preserve those memories.

3. Skin to Skin Contact
Skin-to-skin contact enables you to learn your baby’s signals sooner. It improves communication and assists with boosting maternal confidence that develops a sense of trust and security within your tiny one.

4. Play
It’s no secret that the best types of learning happen through play! In early development, play comes in many forms, from singing songs to your tiny one, to looking in the mirror together. These simple acts encourage the exploration of sound and sight when babies start to recognize voices and facial expressions. At Gymboree Play & Music we are all about the Tummy Time activity! Tummy Time is a type of play that is not only fun and engaging but promotes movement and strengthens muscles.

5. Don’t Stress the Milestones
Every baby develops at their own pace. It is hard not to compare or obsess about where your tiny one should be at each stage of development. Try to enjoy the moment and know that your baby will reach those milestones when they are ready.

6. You Are Enough
By meeting your tiny one’s daily needs, you have already begun to bond with your baby. Be proud of your super mom achievements and know that you are enough!

 

Spring into action and continue to bond with your baby!

Early Child Development: March Book Recommendations!

march book

March is all about the importance of early child development here at Gymboree Play & Music! Through the power of play, we are preparing your little one for a lifetime of learning around three key elements: social/emotional, cognitive, and physical. Building your child’s skills at an early age helps them to grow to be confident, happy, and successful learners!

Our book recommendations for the month of March focus on letters, counting, and colors through tactile explorations that assist with motor skills, memory development, and so much more!

 

Brown bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle

A brown bear… A blue horse… A purple cat… What do you see? Children learn colors and animals while exploring Eric Carl’s bold and colorful collages on each page. The sing-song nature of the repetitive text helps build little brains and develop memory.

 

The Cheerios Play Book

The Cheerios Play Book, By Lee Wade

Cars need Cheerio wheels and fish need Cheerio bubbles! Snack time becomes play time when you add the iconic O-shaped cereal to this interactive book. Little ones practice fine motor skills as they pinch, pick up, and place Cheerios into the circular cutouts on each page.

 

Touch and explore

The Ocean (Touch and Explore), By Nathalie Choux

Let’s dive in and explore over 24 different ocean animals! This book combines tactile exploration with ocean facts and colorful illustrations. Children can feel bumpy barnacles and rough shark’s skin, lift a flap to find a hiding clown fish, and learn facts about the different sea creatures. Check out the other themes in the Touch and Explore Series, like Farm, Safari, and Dinosaurs.

 

A is for Apple

A is for Apple (Smart Kids Trace and Flip), By Tiger Tales & Giorgie Birkett

This innovative book features an interactive alphabet with tracks to trace and flaps to flip! Children run their fingers along the large grooved letters to explore each shape. Colorful illustrations and lift-the-flap interaction keeps little ones engaged while introducing them to the basics of the alphabet

 

One is a Shell

One is a Snail Ten is a Crab, By April Pulley Sayre & Jeff Sayre

If one is a snail and ten is a crab, we must be counting feet! Children will love this playfully illustrated early introduction to simple math. Little ones learn numbers, counting, addition and multiplication as they count the feet on snails, dogs, spiders, and more!

 

Visit your local Gymboree Play & Music today!