Colors, Colors! My daughter tends to say that a lot these days because she LOVES to color…On EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE! She also loves signing with me and enjoys when I sign her favorite songs or parts of Frozen (That I could pretty much quote to you at this point) that she is rather fond of.
But I was thinking the other day, “What a great way to integrate sign language into our everyday life with coloring!” So I created these lovely coloring books of capital and lowercase letters and numbers along with the sign for each letter and number.
Your child will have fun coloring in all of the letters, while you show them the hand shapes for each letter! This is such an easy way to enforce the alphabet and get your little one signing at the same time!
A fun game that you can play while talking about the letter signs is to encourage your child to find something that starts with a certain letter such as doll, cat, dog, baby, etc. Show them the letter sign for that object or, for older children, have them show you the letter sign.
Children 0-2 Years
Have your child find an object such as a doll
Ask them to pick it up or point to it
Tell them what the object is, what letter it starts with, and sign that letter
Have your child find an object such as a doll
Ask them what letter the item starts with and to sign the letter
(the more you practice this, the easier it will be)
Have fun with this! Talk about what sound the letter makes or how many toys equal a certain number. You will be surprised how many of these concepts your little one picks up as you do these activities together.
I hope you enjoy these and if you have any other coloring book ideas or things you would like to see on the blog comment below!
As a parent helping your child learn is one of the most important things to you, and sensory play is a fun and engaging way for your child to excel in many different areas. Sensory play encourages scientific processes because problems are solved using the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. By stimulating your child’s senses, you are helping them develop creatively, socially and emotionally, cognitively, linguistically and physically through simply playing with them.
You have probably seen your child play with the most inexpensive “toys” like a paper towel roll, a pot and a spoon, or straws. Your child is using anything and everything to explore the world around them and encouraging this behavior will benefit you and your child by letting your child explore and create and giving you the opportunity to discuss what is happening in any given project.
By stimulating your child’s senses you are helping their brain develop because when a sense is engaged neural pathways are being created to assist with further learning in later years.
Sensory play is not only important for babies and toddlers, who often have the time to play and explore at home, but also for preschoolers and elementary children. When your child is allowed to use multiple senses to accomplish a task, they will learn more from the experience and retain more information. This ideal does not change as you get older, even adults retain more information when multiple senses are engaged! Even you are creating new neural pathways in your brain when engaging in sensory play, which can help negate Alzheimer’s(1), assist in creative thinking, problem solving, and time needed to respond to a catastrophic situation (2). Creating time for your child, of any age, to engage in sensory play is imperative for their long-time learning and health.Creating time for your child, of any age, to engage in sensory play is imperative for their long-time learning and health. Click To Tweet
So how do you start integrating sensory play into your everyday life? The good news is it is simple! By taking objects that you already have in the house you can create many fun experiences for you and your child. For example, take a colander and spaghetti noodles (or pipe cleaner) and challenge your child to put the noodles in the holes. They will be drawn to this experience and will start to develop basic motor skills as well as problem solving skills when they break the spaghetti noodles.
For older children play-doh and fondant are great ways to teach sensory play, as well as skills that your child can
use in the future such as baking a cake. Fondant can be used to make beautiful designs, but it takes time and patience to get the results wanted, both are needed skills in everyday decision-making and life.
Don’t be afraid to try something new and make a mess! This is a great time to bond with your child and create fun memories that will last a lifetime!
(1) How to Help the Ones We Love Symptoms and Strategies for:. (2016). Retrieved August 25,
2016, from http://www.alzheimershope.com/stop_delay.php
(2) Center for Brain Health. (2013, September 9). Retrieved August 25, 2016, from
Good Habits Make You Feel Like You’re Gonna Die. Published on May 31, 2012 by Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D. in Your Neurochemical Self
➺ Large Pom Poms or other soft baby toy
➺ Safe place to lie baby on back
Note: If using Pom Poms, remember to never leave small objects with a baby or to leave soft toys with a baby in their crib. These can become a suffocation hazard.
The thing that amazes me the most about newborns is the fact that they are a blank slate. They have no comprehension of object permanence and do not know how objects move about in the world around them.
This activity will focus on cognitive and visual development through moving a Pom Pom or other soft toy up and down, side to side, and touching baby’s tummy, hand, cheek, and/or nose.
First take your toy or Pom Pom and lift it about 10-12 inches above your baby. Slowly move the object from side to side as you baby tracks the object. This will be slow at first, so take your time before moving on. Continue by moving the object up and down touching baby on the tummy, hand, cheek, and/or nose. I like to make a cute little sound like “boop!” when the object touches to give the baby some noise to associate with the action.
As your baby gets a bit older this is a great activity to do using opposites such as left and right, up and down, as well as learning the different parts of the face.
If you are looking for a baby toy that would work well with this activity a soft rattle would do well. Our favorite has always been the Jiggly Giraffe by Little Learners, but it is out of print as of this writing. I will continue to look for a better item or you may see the perfect fit coming to our store at the end of September 2016!
|Sensory Development Area||Is It Used?|
|Cognitive||Visual Stimulation and tracking objects as well as visual development|
|Social & Emotional|
|Physical||Tactile Stimulation through touching baby's face, hand, etc.|
When you first had your little bundle of joy I’m sure you talked about what it would be like when they started playing, walking, and talking. You will see, even in these very early stages, the look of curiosity and learning as your little one see colors, textures, and items that they have never seen. I highly suggest heading over to the Sensory Play section and trying out some sensory play with your child at each stage of development. This will be a fun way for you to play together and bond, but will also show your child the world around them in fun and new ways.
Children are such sponges for everything around them, even language. It is so natural for the brain to acquire language that we do not think much of it, as long as we are talking to our babies regularly.
But, what if you could start understanding your child before they could verbalize sounds to make words?
The answer is American Sign Language, which will benefit you and your child now through early communication and less frustration as well as later on with advanced vocabulary and communication skills. You can view all the benefits by age group here.
Now you are probably asking, “How do I get started? Won’t it be hard to teach myself and my child a new language?”
It is so easy to start to teach your little one basic signs starting as early as 3 months, however, don’t get discouraged if you do not see results right away. Just like it took time for you to learn how to ride a bike, swim, and cook your favorite dish, your child will need time to learn the signs you are presenting them as well. The more you practice together the faster you will see your little one start to manifest the signs you are using.
“The signs my baby is using are different in ways than the real sign! What should I do! Am I doing something wrong?!”
This is completely normal! I have parents concerned about this topic ALL THE TIME! Continue to encourage your child as they sign and keep showing them the correct sign. For example, let’s say you have been learning all of the animal signs and your child loves their teddy bear, but continues to sign bear like this:
(The way your child does the sign)
(The correct sign)
Acknowledge that they have signed Bear by saying something like, “Do you want your bear? (Correctly sign Bear) Good job telling me what you wanted! You love cuddling your Bear!” (Use correct sign again). Once you have done this multiple times with a sign your child will correct it all on their own.
Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and you will not be fluent in a few months and you may still sign things differently than some people. But, perfect practice makes perfect, so keep showing the correct sign and encouraging them as they continue to learn and develop more fine motor skills.
Learning a new language together will be an adventure and some days it will be hard, but you have support! Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form with any and all questions, comments, and concerns you may have!
I have heard over and over again that learning Sign Language will delay speech or can be detrimental to a child in so many ways, but we push to teach EVERY OTHER LANGUAGE to our sweet children to make them as smart as we can.
So I must ask, “Why is American Sign Language any different?” The answer, it’s not! Even as your child goes to school and enters adulthood ASL can be a great bridge for vocabulary, memory, and social skills. You may be asking, “What are these benefits you are talking about and where is the research?” I wanted to know the same thing when I had my daughter, so I combed through the real research to bring you a list of benefits for each age group. These benefits will depend on how often you are using signs with your child, however, if you are planning on teaching American Sign Language as a second, or even third, language you will be working on ASL at least an hour a day.
You can read more about how to start your child on ASL at any age here.
And guess what? There are even benefits for you as you learn this beautiful language with your child!
Benefits for Baby
Signing with your baby provides him/her with the ability to communicate earlier than speech
Earlier communication may decrease tantrum behavior
Teaching sign language to your child may increase your child’s reading and spelling skills, and even IQ! (1)
American Sign Language is the fastest-growing language offered at colleges nationwide. It has gained popularity and is now being taught for foreign language credit in American schools and colleges across the country. (2)
- Studies show that children who learn signs from an early age do not have a speech delay, but rather are more efficient in language skills than children who do not use signs and gestures. (3)
Benefits for Older Children
- For older children “benefits include enhanced bonding and communication, development of fine motor skills, and assistance with reading and comprehension well into the elementary school years.” (4)
- Builds a Better Vocabulary (5)
Benefits for Adults
- Visual Cognition
- Increased Phonological Awareness and Word Recognition (6)
- Want the full list of benefits for you and your child? Download it below!
(1) Yeh, K. (2012). Playing With Words 365. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.playingwithwords365.com/2012/05/9-reasons-to-teach-sign-language-to-your-hearing-infant-or-toddler/
(2) Academics – Onondaga Community College. (2015). Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://admission.sunyocc.edu/academics.aspx?nav=265&title=5967&id=29604
(3) Goodwyn, S., Acredolo, L., & Brown, C. (2000). Impact of Symbolic Gesturing on Early Language Development. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://faculty.washington.edu/sommej/Goodwynetal2000.pdf
(4) Jones, C. (2006). The Benefits of Sign Language for ALL Children. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.deaf-culture-online.com/sign-language-for-children.html
(5) O, C. (2013, July 29). 5 Ways Sign Language Benefits the Hearing: How ASL Improves Communication. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.speechbuddy.com/blog/language-development/5-ways-sign-language-benefits-the-hearing/
(6) Melvin, S. (2013). The Effects of Learning American Sign Language on College Students’ Spatial Cognition. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2047&context=etd_hon_theses