What’s New list

2020年4月8日
NEWS

Gymboree will be closed from 4/8(Wed) to 5/9(Sun)!

Thank you for your continued support of Gymboree Play & Music and Gymboree International School.
We (Gymboree Play & Music, Gymboree International School) have decided to close temporarily in accordance with the emergency measures declared by the Japanese Government to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Japan.
We hope we will overcome the pandemic quickly and pray for the safety and security of our members and staff and their families. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and ask for your understanding.

2020年4月8日
COLUMN

Do children get hay fever? How should parents handle them?

Many people feel that hay fever is more common among adults.
However, research shows that the incidence in children is not that different from that in adults. In this article we will talk about “hay fever in children”. Since it is difficult for children to deal with hay fever on their own, they will need their parents support.

The number of children with hay fever has been increasing in recent years

The increase in the amount of pollen emissions in Tokyo and other metropolitan areas has led to an increase in hay fever among children. According to certain data, 13.7% of children 5 to 9 years old and 31.4% of children 10 to 19 years old have hay fever. These numbers are not that different from the incidence rate in adults.

In addition, children are getting hay fever from a younger age. According to a survey conducted by Rohto Pharmaceuticals in the past, 41.8% of children with hay fever develop hay fever by the age of 0 to 5 years, and 78.6% of them develop hay fever by the age of 0 to 10 years. The age of onset was usually between the 3 and 6 years old.

Hay fever in children often resembles a cold and is difficult to distinguish. Most people think of hay fever if they are sneezing, have a runny nose without fever and itchy eyes or rough skin.

If you think your child may have hay fever, please visit a pediatrician and ask them to prescribe allergy medicine and eye drops.

What can parents do to support their child who has hay fever?

It is important that parents take the appropriate measures when dealing with their child’s hay fever. In addition to using the appropriate medication, parents should follow the below guidelines:

Avoid leaving the house on days where there is a lot of pollen

The amount of pollen tends to increase on sunny days, windy days and the day after a rainfall. On these days, it is recommended that you cut your playtime at the park and avoid spending too much time outdoors.

Refrain from drying the futon and clothes outside

During the pollen season, parents with children who have hay fever should avoid putting their futons and laundry out to dry outside. This is because the futons and clothing left outside will attract pollen. Instead, parents should use an inside dryer either at home or at the coin laundry.

Have them wear a mask and/or hay fever glasses

Wearing a mask and hay fever glasses will help prevent pollen from entering your child’s eyes, nose and mouth. If your child fights it, try find a mask in their favorite pattern and color. It is also a good idea to explain that wearing these items will prevent them from getting itchy eyes and a runny nose.

Remove pollen from inside the house

Pollen that is stuck on clothing and hair will fall to the ground and move around when windows and doors are open. Parents should make sure that children push off the pollen on them before they enter the house and use a vacuum to suck it up.

Parents should help children handle their hay fever

It is important for parents to take proper measures against hay fever in children. During the hay fever season, parents who want their child to get exercise and have lots of play opportunities but are worried about the pollen outside, should consider enrolling in a preschool or early childhood classes. In these programs, children will have the opportunity to learn new things and play with friends in an indoor environment.

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2020年3月30日
COLUMN

What are the advantages of art education for children?

The importance of art has been recognized in early childhood education, including the popularity of the Reggio Emilio learning approach which focuses on art exploration. In this article we will go over the effects of art education on young children and what types of art education are available.

What are the effects and benefits of art education for children?

Art requires children to use their imagination and creativity to create a final product. Therefore, in addition to painting and crafts, music (piano, songs, etc.), dance, and even cooking are considered art forms. Experiencing art from a young age can have the following benefits.

Art stimulates curiosity

When children are exposed to art, they become more curious and want to find out the answer to all their questions. Research proves that children who are curious will be better able to find solutions to the issues they experience and have a stronger academic ability in the future.

Art helps children improve their communication skills

Art has no age or language barriers. Even young children can express themselves and share their joy and excitement with those around them through art. Being exposed to art and learning how to express oneself through art will help children gain the communication skills they need to succeed as adults.

Art helps children develop a sense of independence

Children who are curious are motivated to improve and share their ideas. Practicing and thinking about how to accomplish the task is the first step to becoming independent. The earlier children can practice these tasks the more independent they will be when they get older.

Art fosters flexible thinking and expands children’s imaginations

Through art education, children are encouraged to think about how they want to express themselves which helps improve their imagination and creativity. Having a good imagination and creativity will be helpful when working and studying in the future.

How should schools teach Art Education?

There are many types of [art education]. For example, children can use a brush or crayon for “coloring” or “painting”. Children between the age of 1 and 3 years old can use their hands, vegetable stamps and even flowers as stamps in their artwork. Art also stimulates the five senses through color, texture and smell and nurtures children’s sensibility. In addition to painting and drawing, crafts, cut-outs and using clay are also popular forms of art. Using one’s hands during art projects, such as kneading, tearing, sticking, and cutting, increases dexterity and has a positive effect on brain development. Did you know that playing instruments (like piano), dance and even “cooking” are also considered types of art?

Many people feel that [art education] is a limited category but the term includes a large variety of different forms of learning. Cutting paper, doing origami and playing music are all considered types of art. Most English preschools include art education in their curriculum. Doing art projects can be messy and are often difficult to do at home. Attending an English preschool will give your child the opportunity to learn and explore English through fun art projects.

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2020年3月27日
NEWS

Gymboree will be closed on 3/28(Sat) & 3/29(Sun)!

Based on the strong request from the Tokyo Government for residents to stay home this weekend, we have decided to close all of our sites in the Tokyo area this weekend. We are planning on opening as usual next week but we will announce any changes on this website so please continue to check this site regularly. 

2020年3月24日
COLUMN

Children are playing less outside nowadays! Let’s look at the importance of outside play

When we were children, we spent a lot of time outside playing tag, hide and seek and even soccer and baseball. However, nowadays, children are spending less time outside for a variety of reasons. Let’s look at why this is happening and what children can gain from outside play.

Why are children spending less time outside?

90% of parents with elementary school age children feel that their child has less opportunity to play outside. Some reasons are: “there are lots of TV games and card games to play with”, “the rules at the park have changed so there are fewer things to do there”, “they are too busy with after school activities”, etc. Also, cities nowadays have fewer open areas and parks for children to play in. Changes in local environment and communities strongly affect outside play among children.

The Benefits of Outside Play for Children

Outside play is very beneficial to children’s development. Let’s look at some of the benefits of outside play.

Improves physical fitness and athletic ability

Running around outside and playing on the play equipment at the park helps children stay fit and improves their athletic ability. In addition, games like tag and hide and seek allow children to practice moving in different directions which supports their “agility” and their ability to move quickly.

Allows them to make new friends

Through outside play, children can meet and socialize with new people the same age. Going to the same play area or park everyday will allow children to expand their friendships.

Children gain social skills through play

Playing outside with other children, helps them gain communication skills. Sometimes children have trouble taking turns on the play equipment or get into a fight with a friend. However, this helps them learn how to cooperate with their peers and gain social skills.

Helps boost immunity

Contact with foreign bacteria and viruses boosts one’s immunity. Outside play also improves children’s metabolism and strengthens their body and respiratory organs.

Improves one’s imagination

As children play, their brain is stimulated and their imagination grows. They use their brains to figure out how the world works around them and how they can succeed in their play activities.

In recent years, opportunities for outside play have decreased for various reasons. However, running around with friends and playing sports in the park is important for children. Parents should support their children and create opportunities for outside play as much as possible. Parents who are worried that their children are not getting enough exercise because they cannot play outside should send their children to preschools and after schools that incorporate sports and dance into the curriculum. Playing outside and doing P.E. activities will help your child’s mind and body grow while they make new friends.

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2020年3月19日
COLUMN

Why children don’t play with toys their parents buy them?

Most parents have experienced the situation where they bought their child a new toy but he/she never plays with it. Although the makes parents feel that their purchase was a waste, let’s look at the real reason why children don’t play with certain toys. In this article, we will introduce some reasons why children don’t play with toys they are given.

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Why do children not play with their toys?

Why do children sometimes show little or no interest in a toy that their parents or grandparents bought for them? The reason may differ depending on the child.

They don’t know how to play with it

For example, it is not unusual for a 1-year-old to receive a toy meant for his/her older sibling and not know what to do with it. When a child does not know how to play with a toy, he/she is likely to show little interest in it.

It is not age-appropriate

Children’s bodies and hands develop as they get older. If they receive a toy that is not age-appropriate it will be hard for them to use it properly and they will not be interested in playing with it.

They are not interested to begin with

Some children are just not interested in toys and objects. So even if you give them a new toy they will get tired of it quickly.

They do not like playing with toys

Many children enjoy drawing and origami or playing sports or games and are not interested in playing with toys.

Tips for Playing with Toys

When your child does not play with a toy you gave him/her, please consider how you acted when you gave it to him/her and how many toys he/she had out at the time.

When you buy a new toy, it is a good idea to use it with your child first

If you think your child may be too young for the toy or unsure of how to play with it, it is a good idea for you to play with it together first. As he/she watches you play with the toy, he/she will learn how to use it and eventually be able to play with it by him/herself. Please also make sure to praise your child if he/she can use the toy successfully. This will give him/her confidence and help them gain interest in toys.

Try reducing the number of toys available at once

Some children are not interested in playing with toys because they have too many to choose from. Parents and grandparents often feel that if their child or grandchild has lots of toys, he/she will choose one of them to play with. However, children with lots of toys often have trouble choosing one to play with for an extended period or handling each toy carefully. When you find a toy or toys your child is not interested in, it is a good idea to hide it for a while or possibly even get rid of it.

If you find that your child is not interested in playing with toys at home, it may be a good idea to take him/her to classes where he/she can use toys with other children. Your child will discover toys that he/she has not seen before and experience how much fun it is to play with his/her peers. Once they learn how to play with toys, parents can enjoy the fun with them at home.

2020年3月12日
COLUMN

【From Germany】Top 4 Games Among Children Abroad

In Germany, most parents and educators believe that children learn how to live through play. As a result, children participate in many play activities. Here will introduce 4 popular games played in Germany. Some of them can be enjoyed in Japan as well.

Germany, where they value the importance of play

In Germany, once every two years, for one month during the summer vacation, an event to create a “Children’s Town” is held at the Olympic stadium. During this event, the city hall, libraries, restaurants, factories, department stores and other facilities are all operated exclusively by children. Children can gain skills that will help them in real life by pretending to work, get married, open a business and buy and sell products. This type of event is unique to Germany where adults value play in everyday life.

What games are popular among German children?

German children enjoy a variety of games and fun activities, but we have chosen 4 of the most popular activities. Please enjoy.

Spielplatz(Play Areas, Parks)

Spielplatz refers to parks or play areas that have play equipment. Outside parks are the most popular areas to play among German children. They enjoy using the slide, jungle gym and other play equipment just like Japanese children. Unlike Japan, sand is spread all around the playground equipment, so you can play in the sandbox anywhere.

Armer schwarzer Kater(Pathetic Black Cat)

In this game, one child is chosen to play the cat and the other children sit around this child. The child playing the cat stops in front of a child and that child strokes the head of the child who is playing the cat and says “Armer Schwarzer Kater”. If the child playing the cat makes a funny face and the other child laughs, they switch places and the child who laughs becomes the cat. Children enjoy watching everyone’s funny faces during this game.

Topfschlagen(Pot tapping)

Topfschlagen is like the “watermelon split” game in Japan. At the beginning, the game leader hides a pot containing sweets in the room. The players take turns covering their eyes and using a wooden spoon to find the hiding pot. Players who are not covering their eyes help the player find the pot by shouting “cold” and “warm” as they get closer and farther away from the pot. They also shout out “very hot” when the player is right near the pot. Children who find the pot can eat one of the sweets in the pot.

Board Games

Board games are popular amongst a wide range of age groups in Germany. Children play board games with their families and with friends. Children play board games from a young age which helps expand the board game culture.

German children, like Japanese children, learn social rules and about human relationships through play at a very young age. Allowing children to attend early child classes from a young age, will give them the opportunity to make new friends, learn social rules and foster cooperation and compassion for others. Let’s learn from the German culture and expose our children to learning through play.