Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Baby Sign Language Aids

During the past few weeks, I've had the privilege of doing a couple of baby signs classes at the local library. I had a ton of fun teaching the signs, reading books, and singing songs. I'm hoping to do this again in the coming months. I've had a lot of parents ask me what sort of aids they should have at home to help them teach their babies to sign. I've decided to post and answer that question.

First of all, if possible, you should definitely attend a class. Here in Massachusetts, there's me. Lucky you. If however, you aren't located in Massachusetts or even in the US, don't despair. There are still a ton of great My Smart Hands instructors that would love to teach you and your babies. I promise. If you go to the My Smart Hands website, you'll find that there are instructors all of the US, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Croatia, et al. If somehow there isn't an instructor available near you, let me know, and I will do my darnedest to find one for you. 

As far as videos, there are tons out there. I've checked them all, I promise you. The best that I have found is Baby Signing Time. Each DVD has a different theme and goes through a different set of words, such as family: mama, dada, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa, etc. I just checked out their website, and they actually have a bunch of awesome deals going on right now. You can get Volume 1, plus two sing-a-long DVDs and a musical CD for $19.99. That really is a great deal. 

Now, for books for you as the parent. There are tons of ASL books out there as well. You don't have to specifically get ones that are for "baby signs", but you can. Whichever book you choose, make sure that it uses official sign language, such as American Sign Language (ASL) or British Sign Language (BSL). The ones that I used when I first started teaching myself ASL were:

Baby Signs : This one is a really good overview of the benefits of signing, introduces a ton of signs, and even has songs that you can use to teach your baby the signs.
Teach Your Baby To Sign : This one has really great illustrations that show you how to properly make the signs.
Learn Sign Language in a Hurry : This one isn't specifically geared for babies. This teaches a TON of different signs. It teaches you the 5 basic ASL hand shapes which is really useful, and the illustrations are really great. This one focuses more on conversation than grammar, so if you want to know the basics of conversation, definitely pick this one.
Learn to Sign the Fun Way : This one is geared more towards kids and young adults. Again, it teaches the basics of conversing in ASL with a bunch of games to help remember.

As far as books specifically for the baby, you don't special "Sign language" books. Most babies books are simple board books that focus on different topics. CJ's current favorite is Dear Zoo which is about a little kid who needs the zoo to send him a pet. It has lift the flaps which CJ loves. It's a great book to use to sign. As CJ lifts the flap, I just say "What is that?" and sometimes he'll sign back "frog" or "elephant". Then I say, that's right, it is an elephant, signing elephant as I say it. If he doesn't remember or know the sign, I just say "It's an elephant" and I sign elephant. 

You can do this with tons of children's books. You don't need to know all the words, or even a sign on every page. Just sign the words you do know. Chances are, you are going to be reading books with your child anyway, might as well use it to teach them some signs. :) Other great books we use to read and sign are I Spy a Sun in the SkyThe Very Hungry CaterpillarWho's in the Forest?The Sounds Around Town, and Alligator Alphabet. Check out the books you already have, chances are there's some great books for signing right there in your home library. 

We've just started using flashcards with CJ. I didn't think I would do this, but I had a set of our My Smart Hands flashcards and I found CJ on the floor reading them and signing. He'd dug them out of my purse. There are two different sets. There's Everyday Words and there's the ABCs set. Both are available to purchase here. Once you've got a few signs down, you can use the flashcards to review. They're really cute and have pictures of other babies signing on them. 

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or e-mail me.
Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! I will try my darnedest to reply to any and all comments. Please make sure they are family friendly. I welcome discussion, but please no rudeness.