Spooky Treats Toddlers & Children will Love

With Halloween right around the corner, and seasonal festivities picking up steam across the country, the pressure is on to plan a perfect (and mostly healthy) holiday bash your kiddos will love. We searched the internet high and low for the trendiest fall snacks of 2020 and we created a list of our top 5.

See who made the list below, and check out the recipes on their blogs by clicking through the hyperlink in each description.

Bon Appétit!

Mesmerizing Mango Halloween Platter

Aside from the noteworthy visual appeal of this platter, it actually packs a lot of Vitamins A & C. So whether you or your kid picks up the bat tortilla chips with mango salsa, or the apple monsters with mango, you’re sure to enjoy the sweet zing of the mangos that have been strategically incorporated throughout this platter. We spotted this on Foxes Love Lemons. Go check it out.

MONSTER RICE KRISPIES TREATS

We would be remiss if we crafted this list and left off good old fashioned rice crispy treats. And since these ones have a fun twist, we couldn’t leave them off our list. We spotted these over at Chelsea’s Messy Apron. She did a blog on different 3 ingredient Halloween treats and we loved this one the most. Head over to her blog to see this, and other recipes.

Whole Food Healthy Halloween Platter

We spotted this tray of treats over at Fork & Beans. We added this to the list because it gives parents more options. Obviously you can go candy crazy on Halloween (and no one would blame you), but liked this because they built a pretty platter with easy Halloween snack ideas that you can actually feel good about feeding to your family.

Harvest Chex Mix

This Harvest mix is the ultimate fall treat! Not only is it easy to make, but your little one can easily keep it in a cup in their stroller, or you can store it in a galloon zip lock bag while you’re out and about. This should take you no more than 15 minutes to make. We spotted this recipe over at the Made to be a Momma blog.

HALLOWEEN CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS

We spotted these delectable treats over at Garnish and Glaze. Chocolate Covered Pretzels are a longstanding holiday snack, but their creative spin on this ghoulish snack makes them irresistible to look at, and even harder to deny. Their recipe requires 17 ingredients that you can use to create bats, mummies, pumpkins, monsters, or all!

Conquering Fears Through Mindfulness with Zen Pig author Mark Brown

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we spoke to Dad and Creator of the best-selling children’s book series “Zen Pig,” Mark Brown about mindfulness, compassion, gratitude, and much more.

Mark Brown is writer and speaker passionately helping others awaken to a life of purpose, presence and intention. Born in Hampton Roads, VA over 30 years ago Mark Brown now resides in booming Nashville, TN with his wife Amy and son Noble.

Learn more about the book series at https://www.facebook.com/ZenPigBook/

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.

October Book Recommendations

Whether it’s standing up to the monsters under the bed, or learning how to be stronger today than we were the day before, both parents and children have to learn how to overcome their biggest fears. In a month that is known for spooky celebrations and ghost stories galore, we’ve decided to focus on overcoming our fears, and learning how to live more bravely and courageously. 

Our recommendation list features a few seasonal favorites for children, as well as some tried and true titles for parents. And as a special treat, we’ve invited authors Mark Brown and Amy Morin to join us on The Parent Pod this month, so be sure to look for our updates for the podcast release dates.

Recommendations for Children

Zen Pig : Feelings are Clouds

By Mark Brown and Anastasia Khmelevska

In the 6th book from Mark Brown’s “Zen Pig” series, Zen Pig helps his niece understand, accept and welcome her feelings. This story is the perfect tool to help teach your older toddler or preschooler how to manage overwhelming emotions or feelings of uncertainty.

Eek Halloween!

By Sandra Boynton

Uh-oh – the chickens are nervous! Strange things are happening! Babies and toddlers love Sandra Boynton board books, and they’ll love discovering what’s gotten these chickens so riled up! Relax, silly chickens – it’s only Halloween!

Go Away, Big Green Monster

By Ed Emberley

Babies, toddlers and even older children will get a kick out of this cleverly illustrated book. With each turn of the page, we see another feature added to the Big Green Monster. But once we’re ready to show this monster who’s boss, we can turn the pages to make him disappear! Toddlers and older children will love helping you turn the pages to face their fears, while babies will love the colorful visual experience.

Boo Bunny

By Kathryn O Galbraith

Your toddler will love the rhythmic rhyming text in this adorable Halloween-themes book. Halloween night can be spooky… especially for a timid little bunny! But when one bunny meets another, they join together to face their fears and celebrate the best Halloween ever!

The Dark

By Lemony Snicket & Jon Klassen

Like many preschoolers, Lazlo is afraid of the dark. The dark usually spends most of its time in the basement, where Lazlo visits it once in a while. But one night, the dark makes its way to Lazlo’s room. After spending some time with the dark, Lazlo discovers it may not be so bad after all.  Help your preschooler feel more comfortable in the dark with this  poetic and empowering story.

Recommendations for Parents

13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do

by Amy Morin

As a foster parent, psychotherapist, and expert in family and teen therapy, Amy has witnessed first-hand what works. When children have the skills they need to deal with challenges in their everyday lives, they can flourish socially, emotionally, behaviorally, and academically. With appropriate support, encouragement, and guidance from adults, kids grow stronger and become better. Drawing on her experiences and insight, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do combines case studies, practical tips, specific strategies, and concrete and proven exercises to help children of all ages—from preschoolers to teenagers—build mental muscle and develop into healthy, strong adults.

The Conscious Parent

by Dr. Shefali Tsabary

Instead of being merely the receiver of the parents’ psychological and spiritual legacy, children function as ushers of the parents’ development. Parents unwittingly pass on an inheritance of psychological pain and emotional shallowness. To handle the behavior that results, traditional books on parenting abound with clever techniques for control and quick fixes for dysfunction. In Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s conscious approach to parenting, however, children serve as mirrors of their parents’ forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness.

Raising Good Humans

by Hunter Clarke-Fields MSAE and Carla Naumburg PhD

With this book, you’ll find powerful mindfulness skills for calming your own stress response when difficult emotions arise. You’ll also discover strategies for cultivating respectful communication, effective conflict resolution, and reflective listening. In the process, you’ll learn to examine your own unhelpful patterns and ingrained reactions that reflect the generational habits shaped by your parents, so you can break the cycle and respond to your children in more skillful ways.

The 5 Love Languages of Children

by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell 

Discover how to speak your child’s love language in a way that he or she understands. Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell help you:

  • Discover your child’s love language
  • Assist your child in successful learning
  • Use the love languages to correct and discipline more effectively
  • Build a foundation of unconditional love for your child

Discover your child’s primary language—then speak it—and you will be well on your way to a stronger relationship with your flourishing child.

The Self-Driven Child

by William Stixrud PhD and Ned Johnson 

The Self-Driven Child offers a combination of cutting-edge brain science, the latest discoveries in behavioral therapy, and case studies drawn from the thousands of kids and teens Bill and Ned have helped over the years to teach you how to set your child on the real road to success. As parents, we can only drive our kids so far. At some point, they will have to take the wheel and map out their own path. But there is a lot you can do before then to help them tackle the road ahead with resilience and imagination.

IVF, Adoption, & Surrogacy, One Mom’s Journey to a Family of 6 with Josephine Atluri

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we spoke to meditation expert and Responding to Life podcast host Josephine Atluri about her journey to motherhood.

Josephine is an expert in meditation and in overcoming adversity to find joy. Through her unique journey on her path to become a mom of five, Josephine weathered many ups and downs with IVF, international adoption and surrogacy. Channeling her experience to find calm and courage and to focus on perseverance, she now helps others navigate life’s curveballs, through group and individual online meditation training and her “Responding to Life” podcast.

She teaches weekly classes at Unplug in Santa Monica, CA, where she trained under the renowned guru davdji, former COO of the Deepak Chopra Center. She also does group meditation training for staffs of such prestigious entities as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Additionally, Josephine is a regularcontent contributor to Motherly, Red Tricycle, The IVF Warrior, The Fertility Circle and many other prestigious outlets.

Learn more about Josephine online at https://www.jatluri.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.

Non-Binary Parenting with Mike Reynolds of Everyday Girl Dad

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we spoke to dad influencer Mike Reynolds who is the creator of Everyday Girl Dad.

Everyday Girl Dad, is a social community and website that looks to empower people in positive discussions about masculinity, social issues, feminism, parenthood, body image, mental health, and more. As a writer and a speaker, Mike tells stories behind the relationships between dads and daughters, exploring how that bond is instrumental in helping both parent and child understand the impact they have on making change in the world.

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.

From Person to Parent: Navigating Your Identity as a First-Time Parent with Chasity Holcomb LPC

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we spoke to Chasity Holcomb LPC about finding her identity again after having her first child.

Chasity Holcomb is a mom and Licensed Professional Counselor in Lewisville, TX. In her online private practice, Redefining You PLLC, Chasity uses her specialized training in perinatal mental health to help moms in the state of Texas.

Her passion sparked with the experiences of loved ones but fully caught fire after her own transition into motherhood. Chasity has a mission to help moms feel seen, heard, and empowered to let go of societal expectations and mom fully and unapologetically as themselves.

Learn more about Chasity and her practice at http://www.redefiningyoupllc.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.

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.

Navigating Curveballs in Parenting with Funny Dad Greg Schwem

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we are talking to Funny Dad Greg Schwem about finding humor during the ups and downs of parenting.

A graduate of Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism, Greg never envisioned a career in laughter. Instead, he settled in Florida, becoming an award-winning reporter for NBC-owned WPTV in West Palm Beach. But the comedy bug bit Greg hard and he returned to his hometown of Chicago, where he honed his standup act in nightclubs. When he began inserting material about business and technology into his act, audience members approached him and said, “You really should come down to my office and tell those jokes.” Behold! A new approach to comedy was born.

Greg’s show provides a hilarious look at today’s corporate environment and the latest tools used to conduct business. Indeed, Greg’s client list includes such corporate heavyweights as McDonald’s, Microsoft, General Motors, IBM, Hyatt Hotels, United Airlines and Cisco Systems.

Learn more about Greg at https://www.gregschwem.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.

Transforming the Bedtime Sleep Routine with Dr. Sarah Mitchell

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we are talking to Dr. Sarah Mitchell of Helping Babies Sleep about all things sleep training, or as she would say “sleep teaching.”

Dr. Sarah Mitchell is a chiropractor by training but found her true calling as a sleep consultant when her first child just.would.not.sleep.  Since 2013 she’s empowered thousands of parents to teach their little ones to sleep and enjoy their parenting journey to the fullest.  

She’s the owner of Helping Babies Sleep.  She’s also on a mission to change the dialogue away from “sleep training” to “sleep teaching” to be more reflective of what’s happening when shaping behavior.

Dr. Sarah is a proud member of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.  She is currently contributing to research at San Jose State University on the efficacy of her sleep teaching coaching and the effect of sleep teaching on maternal anxiety.   Originally from Ottawa, Ontario Canada, Sarah resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, son and daughter.  She wants you to know you can be loving, attached and well-rested.

Learn more about Dr. Mitchell at https://www.helpingbabiessleep.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.

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!