Fall Family Fun!

It’s almost the weekend. Here are some fun family-friendly activities:

  • Go leaf peeping: if you live in an area where leaves change, it is prime leaf peeping time!  Just be sure to take some breaks in your drive, to give your little one time to burn off some energy.
  • Take a nature walk:  even if leaves aren’t changing, you can still take a walk. Whether your little one is in a carrier, a stroller, or walking on their own, it’s always fun to get out into nature and look for leaves, interesting rocks, bugs, birds, and animals.  Make sure you pack snacks and water and take lots of breaks if your child is walking on their own.
  • Visit a pumpkin patch:  if you haven’t purchased your pumpkin yet, what are you waiting for?  Pumpkin patches offer great photo ops, and some offer hayrides!
  • Go apple picking: depending on where you are, it still may be apple picking season. It’s a fun outdoor activity, and you end up with tons of apples to make into delicious treats to share with friends and family.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, be sure to take lots of pictures. These times spent together when your children are young will be precision memories.

Gymboree Play & Music Franchisee Spotlight: Miami, FL


Coni Ensor Goudie has seen many changes over her years as a Gymboree Play & Music franchisee, including updates to the play equipment and face lifts for our mascot, Gymbo the Clown. But what hasn’t changed is her love and enthusiasm for the business.

Coni was a young mom with a toddler back in 1983 when she happened upon an article about a children’s program in Newsweek magazine. When she discovered that the only location on the East Coast was in New York, she decided that she had to bring the program to Miami. During her first year of owning the business, she had a second child, making the flexibility of owning her own business even more important for her family.

Coni expected to run the business until her children outgrew it but, 39 years later, she has the most seniority of all our owners and her “toddler” works in the business with her.

“Gymboree has meant many things to me over the years. It afforded me the independence I needed in being a divorced mom with two kids to make the special teacher meetings and school plays. But, as the business owner, the final responsibility fell on my shoulders if a teacher called out sick, which set an example for my children about work ethic. To this day I cannot go anywhere or meet anyone in the Miami area that does not know about Gymboree, and that is because of what I built. I am overwhelmed with the pride that gives me.”

Coni has made sure to give back to the community that supports her business, setting up charitable programs and working with area hospitals.

“Getting to meet the moms and children and help them interact with their children through the program is certainly rewarding, as well as watching them grow and develop through the different stages of the classes. Some of my best friends to this day I met at Gymboree.”

Our programs support early learning from birth to kindergarten, while creating friendships and community within our locations. Come see what you’ve been missing! Gymboree Play & Music

Gymboree Play & Music Franchisee Spotlight: Ocean Township, NJ

Did you know that our locations are locally-owned? Like many of our franchisees, Andrea Fazio had a successful career prior to purchasing her location in Ocean Township, NJ.

Andrea spent her 20’s and early 30’s in New York City, working in Marketing for upscale beauty brands. After having her first daughter, she knew that she wanted more flexibility to raise a family while still feeling fulfilled in a career that she loved. After joining her local Gymboree Play & Music location, she knew that she had found the perfect business to own!

Andrea loves being a part of the community, and experiencing many “firsts” with her members. Supporting families during their child’s important formative years of birth to five is something she never takes for granted.

“I always say that you can never have a bad day at Gymboree – as an owner, an employee, or a care-giver! No matter what may be going on in your life, you walk through the doors and see the bright colors, Gymbo the clown, and hear the happy music and immediately your mood is turned around! Seeing the pure joy on all the little faces when they walk through the door is just magic!”

What are you waiting for? Discover the magic for yourself at a location near you at: https://www.gymboreeclasses.com/

Gymboree Play & Music National Day Of Play: Our premiere event is returning!

In 2016, while planning our 40th Anniversary celebration, we created “National Day of Play” – an event where all the Gymboree Play & Music locations in the US and Canada opened their doors to the community for a day of fun activities.  It was such a success, that it became an annual event.

The COVID pandemic forced us to pause our celebration for two summers but, finally, we can bring it back this month!

On Saturday, August 13th, US and Canadian locations will once again be opening their doors in a celebration of childhood.  Families from across North America will enjoy exploring our playscapes, playing with friends (and making new ones!) and swim in a sea of bubbles during our signature Parachute Time featuring our world-famous Bubble Ooodles.

Don’t miss out on the fun this year!  Check your local Gymboree Play & Music location’s schedule for times and details and register your little one (birth to five) for this fabulously fun event.

FIND YOUR LOCATION

Play Is the Language of Childhood

From the first game of peek-a-boo to dressing up as a superhero, play is the first and most enduring form of communication and self-expression for children. It is a universal “language” that is hard-wired in your child’s DNA.

We have all heard that children learn through play. But how, exactly, does play contribute to early-childhood development?

Whether playing independently building with blocks or interacting with other children at a playground or in a class, your child is learning. Their earliest “play” interactions are simple give-and-take activities with trusted adults, but they are teaching your child about the world around them. Those early games of peek-a-boo teach them about object permanence: something can still be there, even if you can’t see it. Rolling a ball back and forth and the ever popular “drop things from my highchair” activity both teach them about cause and effect!

As they get older, their play becomes more complex, and begins to include other children: starting with parallel play where they watch and, perhaps, mirror each other and, later, through cooperative play. Their imaginations begin to expand, and they start making up and acting out stories. Their grasp and use of language explodes. By exploring their world, and challenging themselves to try new things, they are gaining confidence and building their self-esteem.  They gain independence by testing their limits, exploring their boundaries, and making choices. Even making mistakes or the wrong decision – as painful as it can be – is a learning experience. 

As your child’s social circle expands, they learn patience, understanding and begin to develop empathy. They begin to recognize and respond appropriately to social cues. The more opportunities they are given to socialize with a variety of other children, and adults, the more open-minded they will become. And they will begin to develop a sense of community and long-lasting friendships.  These first friendships may fall away over time, but will be replaced by new and, perhaps, closer friendships that can last a lifetime.

Giving your child a variety of play-based activities – at home, at classes, at the playground – is their most important early learning experience.

Our play-based learning programs are here to support your child’s development, from birth to kindergarten. Visit us at www.gymboreeclasses.com for information on our programs.

5 Must-Have Books Every Family Should Have This February

The winter traditionally brings snow, hot cocoa and warm sweaters. But this year, it also bought a ton of titles that are pushing the limits to the ways children explore their environment and even learn to love themselves.

It was hard to pick just 5 books that would resonate with all of our families, but we did our best. See the books that made the list below.

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s First Winter

by Eric Carle 

There are so many ways to spend a chilly winter day. Join The Very Hungry Caterpillar and explore everything winter has to offer!

Welcome winter with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his friends in this sensory exploration of the season. Discover the very best of this time of year: snowy days full of play, the sounds of birds chirping atop a snowman, the smell of cookies fresh from the oven, and so much more!

Hello, World! Garden Time

by Jill McDonald 

Hello, World! is a series designed to introduce first nonfiction concepts to babies and toddlers. Told in clear and easy terms (“Roots spread into the soil below, and then a shoot pushes up out of the earth”) and featuring bright, cheerful illustrations, Hello, World! makes learning fun for young children. And each sturdy page offers helpful prompts for engaging with your child. It’s a perfect way to bring science and nature into the busy world of a toddler, where learning never stops.

Friendship Is Forever 

by Patricia Hegarty  Macon, Summer 

Learning the importance of friendship is easy with this sweet board book that fosters social-emotional development..

The precious gift of friendship
is a thing to treasure.
Closeness, love, and loyalty
are things that we can’t measure.  

Learn new words while appreciating the value of quality time with this irresistibly illustrated board book that’s perfect for holidays and all year round!

Wonderful Babies

by Emily Winfield Martin 

Celebrate all kinds of babies with this original board book by Emily Winfield Martin–perfect for baby showers and fans of the New York Times Bestseller, The Wonderful Things You Will Be!

From sweet baby to wild baby, from snuggly baby to grumpy baby, this book captures the adorableness of a diverse cast of babies in all their moods. With simple text and irresistible art, this book will capture the hearts of parents and the youngest readers alike.

I Am Golden

by Eva ChenSophie Diao 

This joyful and lyrical picture book from New York Times bestselling author Eva Chen and illustrator Sophie Diao is a moving ode to the immigrant experience, as well as a manifesto of self-love for Chinese American children.

What do you see when you look in the mirror, Mei? Do you see beauty?

We see eyes that point toward the sun, that give us the warmth and joy of a thousand rays when you smile. We see hair as inky black and smooth as a peaceful night sky. We see skin brushed with gold.

Learn the Power of Play with our January Book Recommendations

Welcome to 2022! As we kick off a new year, we’re exploring the thing that makes Gymboree Play & Music unique, our commitment to Play. This month our brand channels will highlight the many ways play and imagination have a purpose in our lives.

Our booklist reflects titles that teach children how to push the limits of their mind, and explore the world unseen through play. See the books that made the list below.

 

The Year We Learned to Fly

by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López 

On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.

Ben and Emma’s Big Hit 

by Gavin Newsom , Ruby Shamir , Alexandra Thompson 


Ben loves baseball. He loves the lines of diamond-shaped field and the dome of the pitcher’s mound. What Ben doesn’t like is reading. Ben has dyslexia, which means letters and sounds get jumbled up in his brain, and then the words don’t make sense. But when Ben starts looking at reading like he likes to play baseball, he realizes that if he keeps trying, he can overcome any obstacle that comes his way.

See, Touch, Feel: A First Sensory Book

by Roger Priddy 

There’s lots for baby to explore in See, Touch, Feel: A First Sensory Book. This sturdy board book, with bright photographs of happy babies, is specially designed to stimulate curiosity through sensory play.

As your baby grows, See, Touch, Feel will help your child develop language recognition and motor skills, as they learn to interact with the book in new ways. With lots to explore together, See, Touch, Feel is an ideal first book to share with your baby.

We All Play

by Julie Flett 

 This wonderful book celebrates playtime and the connection between children and the natural world. Beautiful illustrations show:

  • birds who chase and chirp!
  • bears who wiggle and wobble!
  • whales who swim and squirt!
  • owls who peek and peep!
  • and a diverse group of kids who love to do the same, shouting: 

We play too! / kimêtawânaw mîna

At the end of the book, animals and children gently fall asleep after a fun day of playing outside, making this book a great bedtime story.

Let’s Play! A Book About Making Friends

by Amanda McCardie and Colleen Larmour 

When Sukie’s family moves and she has to start at a new school, she feels shy and lonely at first. But soon she learns that receiving small acts of kindness—someone saying hi, or saving a hoop for her—makes her feel braver, and that passing friendliness along is a good feeling, too. Before long, Sukie, Joe, Poppy, and Stan are all becoming friends! Young readers are invited to join them as they explore meeting new people, celebrating differences, being thoughtful, and standing up for one another.

10 Mom Influencers We’re Watching in 2022

As 2021 comes to a close, we’ve been reviewing every piece of content, every influencer suggestion, and every submission we’ve come across this year. As we move towards 2022, we wanted to share some of the top influencers we’ve seen doing amazing work in the parenting community! See who made our list below. 

 
 

1. Savannah Rose LaBrant (@sav.labrant)

Cole and Savannah are husband and wife from California. They have three adorable kids, thus, know a lot about parenting.

2. Anna Saccone (@annasaccone)

Being a wife of Jonathan and a mom of four, Anna Saccone is definitely busy raising kids. They also have 6 Maltese dogs in the family, making life that much more fun.

3. Jenna Kutcher (@jennakutcher)

Jenna Kutcher is a digital marketer, podcaster, educator, wife, and mother from Minnesota. As a woman of many talents, Jenna inspires thousands of people through her podcast  @goaldiggerpodcast in addition to being a mama.

4. Family Fizz (@familyfizz)

The Family Fizz entertains and inspires other families. Follow them if you want to laugh and share in the good vibes.

The Family Fizz entertains and inspires other families. Follow them if you want to laugh and share in the good vibes.

5. Naomi Davis (@taza)

Known as Taza, Naomi Davis is a wife to Josh and a mother of five kids. She is also the author of A Coat of Yellow Paint.

6. The Ohana Adventure (@theohanaadventure)

They are a crazy family of 8 from Hawaii. They believe in doing hard things, spontaneous adventures, laughing together and trying new things. You can catch them across social media and on IG and Youtube.

7. Jessica Shyba(@mommasgonecity)

Jessica Shyba has five kids and still manages to blog full time and still look beautiful! Her blog, Momma’s Gone City, is all about her chronicles of moving and being a parent of five in the big city of New York.

8. Bunmi Laditan(@honesttoddler)

Believer and author. Dear God: Honest Prayers to a God Who Listens (2021) Honest Toddler, Confessions of a Domestic Failure, Dear Moth

9. Elle Walker (@
whatsupelle
)

Elle Walker is the other half of the duo, “What’s Up Moms,” which is the top parenting YouTube channel. She’s a mom to to @presleyswalker (I0) @fordpwalker (7) @tessmarinwalker (5) and wife to @rosshw12.

10. Latham Thomas(@glowmaven)

A Soulful #Doula, Yogini and Self-Care Diva, Latham is the founder @MamaGlow. Ranked to #Oprah’s Super Soul 100, as the proud mom of Fulano, she is also the author- OWN YOUR GLOW!

Celebrate the Holidays with Our December Book Recommendations


With 2021 coming to a close, we are focusing on the things that matter most during the holiday season – family, love, and traditions. Whether it’s the celebration of Diwali, Kwanza, Hanukkah or Christmas, we recognize that each family observes the holiday season in their own way and for that reason, our December theme is “Happiness Through the Holidays.” See which books made our December list below.

 
 

The Day the Holidays Blew Away

by Maureen Llewellyn , Olga Kutuzova and, Yip Jar Design 

Les the Leprechaun finds himself in the ultimate predicament when Calendar encounters a horrific wind that blows the months away! Les discovers St. Patrick’s Day is lost so he sets out find it but instead stumbles upon holiday after holiday that is not St. Patrick’s Day! Will the luck-o-the-Irish be on his side and lead him to his favorite holiday? Travel with him on this whirlwind journey through the holidays to find out!

Home for the Holidays: A Book for Kids About the Different Holidays That Bring Us Together

by Sesame Workshop and, Craig Manning 


No matter what holidays you celebrate during the most wonderful time of the year, love, family, togetherness, and giving are universal. In this diversity book for kids, share in the joy with Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, and more friends with festivities on Sesame Street! From Thanksgiving and Eid al-Fitr, to Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Christmas, and New Year’s, this special picture book is a heartfelt celebration of different cultures and holidays from around the world. Featuring new and international Sesame Street characters, this sweet story proves that the things everyone cherishes are the same…because there’s no place like home for the holidays.

Babushka

by Dawn Casey and Amanda Hall 

With beautiful illustrations evoking folk art traditions and sensitive storytelling, Babushka tenderly reminds us that nothing is more important during the holiday season than taking the time to show love for one another. This timeless Russian tale will warm your heart and fill you up with the joyful, generous spirit of Christmas.

How to Catch an Elf

by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton 

It’s Christmas Eve and an elf is on the loose… in YOUR house! Do you have what it takes to catch him? Follow along in this fun holiday story as a mischievous elf causes chaos Christmas Eve! Filled with zany traps, vibrant illustrations, STEAM concepts, and even Santa Claus himself, this Christmas picture book for kids is guaranteed to become a new holiday tradition!

The perfect elf book for kids, funny stocking stuffer or Christmas gift for ages 4-10, this festive read aloud is loved by children, parents, and educators alike.


 

All I Want for Christmas Is Ewe

by Rose Rossner and Gail Yerrill 

Wish your little sugarplum a beary Merry Christmas and jingle all the way with this heartwarming story for babies and toddlers! Combining beautiful illustrations, charming animal puns, and the evergreen message of love, All I Want for Christmas is Ewe is a moovelous way to celebrate the season and share your love for each otter.

For fans of I Love You Like No Otter, this cute holiday treat is the best book gift for kids and animal lovers ages 0-3—made just for their little hands! The perfect addition to any Christmas gift, holiday stocking stuffer, baby shower gift, or festive read aloud.

Special Episode with Sheryl Haft , Author of Goodnight Bubbala

Episode Information

In this episode of the Parent Pod, we spoke to Sheryl Haft the author of the children’s book, Goodnight Bubbala.
This zesty parody of Goodnight Moon, offers a very different bedtime routine: one that is full of family exuberance and love. Instead of whispers of “hush,” this bedtime includes dancing and kvelling, and of course, noshing—because this little bunny is a Jewish bunny, and this joyous book celebrates the Jewish values of cherishing your loved ones, expressing gratitude, and being generous.

It is filled with Yiddish words, and includes a phonetic glossary and even an easy latke recipe by beloved cookbook author Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, who calls the book “brilliant, beautiful, important, and so much fun!”

About Sheryl

Sheryl Haft Creates enriching, imaginative books for children. She is the author of four (4) books including Goodnight Bubbala—A Joyful Parody and the forthcoming Mazie’s Amazing Machines (Spring 2023.)
The founder of Kids Engineer!, Sheryl teaches design and invention-building to elementary school children in New York City and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Tag or find Sheryl on Instagram: @sherylhaft

Check her out online at www.SherylHaft.com.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.