CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 14 . . . . March 7, 2008
The above paragraph expresses the interactive theme of the Gymboree Dance Play: Ideas to Move the Body and Stretch the Mind activity kit. The kit contains a sturdy 32 page board book, two "dance-inspiring" scarves and a pass which entitles the purchaser to a free Gymboree Play and Music class. Gymboree, which is a large corporation based in San Francisco, operates a North American chain of 600 retail stores that specialize in clothing for children from birth to 12 years of age. In 1976, a young mother created the Gymboree Play and Music program which is based on established principles of early childhood education. The Play and Music division of the company is dedicated to helping parents stimulate their children's emotional and intellectual development through interactive music, exercise and dance activities. With franchises in 30 countries around the world, Gymboree offers classes that are developmentally appropriate for children from newborn to five years of age.
The Gymboree Dance Play: Ideas to Move the Body and Stretch the Mind activity kit features 10 different dance activities for parents to share with their three to five-year-olds. For each movement idea, there is a double page spread with simple instructions and appealing photos of children engaged in the dance activity described. Included in the kit are two large sheer nylon scarves which the children use as props as they engage in silly walking, ring around the rosy, the limbo, the hula, the funky chicken and the dragon dance. Photographs of the pint-sized dancers, their faces shining with the joy of movement and imagination, are quite irresistible. The book ends by suggesting that parents help their child host an old-fashioned sock hop, and this section even includes decorating and refreshment ideas.
Musical sounds are all around us-songs on the radio, the chugging of a school bus, the chirping of birds, and the percussive sound of rain drumming on the roof. Like the Gymboree Dance Play activity kit, the Gymboree Music Play activity kit is based on interactive principles with a focus on sharing. The kit includes a glossy 32 page board book, two musical "props" (in the form of plastic maracas) and a free pass to a Gymboree class. Each double spread features a musical activity with endearing photos of children having a great time banging, blowing, stomping, marching, shaking, strumming, singing and clapping. Directions for making simple musical instruments, such as a tambourine, washboard or kazoo, are set out in the pages devoted to setting up a jug band jam. The book finishes with suggestions on how to host a "Shake, rattle and roll party" for the little wannabe rock stars.
The kits, which sell for $19.95 in Canada, are certainly filled with excellent ideas for the sharing of music and movement. The Dance Play kit, however, would be a good deal more useful for parents if it included a CD, since the activities included require a bit more in the way of musical resources (recorded or live!) than the average parent may have at her/his disposal. The kits might be tempting to buy for a day-care or pre-kindergarten resource collection, but for the price, either of Jane Cobb's marvelous collections of songs and stories and activities (CD included) for childhood educators (What'll I Do with the Baby-O or I'm a Little Teapot) would be a better choice. The kits might work well as a gift from a grandmother or older caregiver with an abundance of time and energy; however, the buyer needs to be willing to put in the aforementioned time and energy. Giving it to a busy mother of more than one is not recommended!
Recommended with reservations.
A former teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in St. Norbert, MB.
To comment on this
title or this review, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.