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.

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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! 

 

 

The Benefits of Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss Email Header

March is all about the importance of early child development here at Gymboree Play & Music. In honor of this day (March 2), we recognize Dr. Seuss who was known for writing and illustrating 45 children’s books. Not only are the books Dr. Seuss created fun and entertaining, they offer an added benefit for your little one to develop their language skills!
Tongue twisting rhymes, made-up animals, repeated sounds, and engaging story lines are all recipes for your child to connect words and concepts together.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Below are a few benefits to why reading Dr. Seuss to your little one is important:

Rhythm
Rhythm is an integral tool for babies to understand when phrases begin and end. It is their first step in learning the language that assists in developing motor patterns. Rhythm also aides in the planning and executing of simple movements like reaching for a toy or crawling.

Appreciation for Words
The nonsensical words that Dr. Seuss created throughout his book, mirror the way children naturally speak. The combination of rhythms and funny made-up phrases inspires your child to learn real words and invites them to experiment with language.

Dr. Seuss Quote

Learning is Fun
While Dr. Seuss’s characters are always colorful and entertaining, his stories included meaningful life lessons about kindness, friendship, acceptance, and independence.

Memory Development
Reading Dr. Seuss’s short rhythmic passages to your little one repetitively, allows them to commit these stories to memory and recite the story aloud or pretend to read along. This instills confidence, assists in developing social skills, and ignites a love of literacy at a young age.

Come Celebrate Dr. Seuss at Gymboree Play & Music!

Discover Your Mom Tribe

February is all about bonding and connection and all about you-The Mom! We know it takes a village to raise a child and it is important for moms to know they are not alone. Finding a tribe of moms, builds community support and strengthens the bond between you and your little one!

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Let’s face it, finding a mom tribe isn’t easy. Friendships take work. Often, moms feel socially isolated after they have had their first baby, or they are overwhelmed with the new obstacles to overcome.

At Gymboree Play & Music we don’t just help your child reach new milestones, we also provide a welcoming community where moms just like you can navigate the world of motherhood together. Here are a few ways you can be a part of your very own mom tribe!

Build a connection
It is easier to be on the same parenting page as others in your tribe. While your little ones do not need to be the exact age, sharing similar experiences certainly helps. There might not be an instant connection, but don’t give up, friendships take time to build.

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Exchange contact information after a Gymboree Play & Music class for there might not be another opportunity to reconnect. Follow-up shortly after the interaction to nurture the friendship so those you meet don’t forget you.

Make an effort
When you are tied to a little one’s schedule there are all kinds of reasons why you would need to cancel plans. The good news is having other mom friends with similar aged children will understand. Manage your schedule so you can take time for yourself to engage in these social interactions. Listen, as a supportive ear, and allow yourself to be open to your new tribe of moms by providing personal insights about who you are.

Come find your tribe of moms today at Gymboree Play & Music!

Happy Make a Friend Day!

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The month of February is all about Bonding and Connection here at Gymboree Play & Music. In celebration of Make a Friend Day (February 11), we have compiled a few fun friend facts on why it’s important for your little one to bond with others at an early age.

Friends help us learn
Friendship contributes to the development of social skills. These connections made with other children give and receive emotional support. It can provide an opportunity for your little one to learn problem-solving skills, develop empathy, and learn to play cooperatively.

Baby’s first friend
Parents and teachers lay the groundwork for future friendships. Little actions such as imitating facial expressions with your little one is a great way to introduce engaging them with person to person interactions.

Routines build strong bonds
A routine gives your child a sense of security and helps them develop self-discipline. When there are opportunities to connect with other children through weekly play dates and attending Gymboree Play & Music classes, your little one is more likely to cooperate and will begin to look forward to these activities.

The power of waiting
Conflict skills are developed at an early age through interactions with siblings and other children. It’s is challenging not to intervene when we see our little ones struggling or experiencing emotional outbursts. Interventions can prevent children from learning to resolve conflict for themselves. Take a moment before moving in and allow your little one to resolve the problem in their own way.

Come Make A Friend At Gymboree Play & Music!

 

 

Bonding & Connection in February: Book Recommendations!

The month of February is all about Bonding and Connection!

Reading with your little one is a simple way to not only improve their communication skills, but it also stimulates patterns of brain development responsible for bonding and connecting. Our expert programming team has complied their top book recommendations that portray connecting to family, friends, community, and everyone in between!

Come bond with us in February with these fun reads!

 

Guess How muchGuess How Much I Love You By Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram

This beloved classic lets children “love you right up to the moon and back!” Follow Little Nut Brown Hare and his Dad as they playfully vie to express their love for one another.

 

Love Makes a family

Love Makes a Family By Sophie Beer

Love is waking up bright and early. Love is lending a helping hand. Whether a child has two dads, two moms, or one of each, this book helps teach us that what’s most important in a family’s life is the love shared between family members.

 

A friend Like You

A Friend Like You By Andrea Schomburg, Barbara Rottgen & Sean Juilan

Squirrel and bird are very different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be friends. They’re both willing to try something new! They discover that their small differences won’t stand in the way of their newfound friendship but will help them discover new things about themselves.

 

Friendship is Like a Seesaw

Friendship is Like a Seesaw By Shonna Innes & Irisz Agocs

Friendships have their ups and downs, just like a seesaw. This story offers a gentle approach to the emotional issues children face while dealing with friendships and their peers. In the end, it’s all about finding the right balance.

 

I would tuck you in

I Would Tuck You In By Sarah Asper-Smith & Mitchell Watley

This sweet bedtime book is filled with baby animals and their mommies. An otter tucks her little one into a kelp forest bed. A humpback whale sings a song to soothe her calf. Learn all about the different ways animal mothers show love to their babies, while spending some quality time with your little one.

 

Visit your local Gymboree Play & Music today!