How We are Learning Sign Language

I hope you all had a chance to read the guest post recently by fellow Speech Pathologist Kristy from Hear My Hands. She shared some great info with us about the benefits of using sign language with (hearing) infants and toddlers. She will be joining us with another guest post soon, to give us all some tips on signing!

As I have mentioned before, I am a huge advocate of signing to infants and toddlers and wrote a research paper on this topic in grad school. I signed to my daughter and now have been signing more with my son. Right now he really only consistently signs “milk” but he is mesmerized by my hands when I sign to him, so I think he will be learning more quickly!

I wanted to share with you what we are doing over here to help learn sign and share some resources with you. One of my favorite resources is the First 100 Signs list at lifeprint. The pictures of signs within this post are all from Lifeprint.

How I am Teaching My Children Sign Language

We’re signing during mealtime
One of the best times to work on signing is mealtime. Food happens to be very motivating, so it is a great time to work on signing. Pick out a couple of your child’s favorite foods, find the sign, and start practicing the sign. I like to sign the name of the food, and then give my child a piece. For example, we have been working on this with goldfish crackers. For simplicity, we are just signing “fish” right now. So, I sign fish, and then give Ev a couple of the goldfish crackers. I also will sign fish, then show Ev how to make the sign (hand-over-hand) and then give him a few crackers.

Ev trying to sign FISH

My daughter has been super interested in signing too, but I am teaching her more signs and combining them. For example, E has to sign More Fish Please to get her goldfish cracker 😉





We’re signing during play
When we are playing, I often will throw in a few signs here and there related to play. For example, the other day the kids were playing with some cars, so I was showing them the sign for car. Recently, Ev has been really into baby dolls, so as I am labeling the toy verbally (Baby, Ev this is a Baby!) I also sign for baby at the same time. In fact today, while I was on a break from writing this post, Everett tried to sign baby! And he said “buh buh” too! 😀

sign for baby

We’re signing as we get dressed
I have also been signing shoes and socks as we get ready to leave the house. Everett really likes the sign for shoes and seems really fascinated when I hit my fists together to make the sign. He almost always will grab my hands and try to make them bang together again. Boys, they just LOVE it when things bang around right?

sign for SHOES

sign for SOCKS







We’re signing about the weather
It FINALLY started raining here in sunny California the past couple we have been talking about the signs for rain and also snow just for fun. In fact, Kristy over at Hear My Hands featured snow as her sign of the day yesterday! Check it out!

We’re signing about our family members
I have just started to use the signs for mom and dad. I plan to expand to brother and sister next.

sign for MOM

sign for DAD

We’re signing about what we see
I throw in signs here and there about what we see. We happen to have pets, and I have started using the signs for cat and dog as we see them all day long. Though we haven’t started yet, I also plan on introducing the signs for other animals we see (like squirrels and turkeys) and other things we come across that my children are interested in.

sign for CAT

We’re signing during reading
This is an area that I have JUST started on…signing during reading. I am hoping to focus on general vocabulary as well as on colors.

We are watching DVDs
I have to admit I am no sign language expert. I am not fluent, but I have taken classes in the past and I have used sign in my speech and language therapy…however I am R U S T Y! So to help give me a refresher, I ordered a set of videos from Signing Time. These have been fantastic to give me a refresher and my daughter, age three, is basically ADDICTED to them. Ha. She is learning all the signs in the video very quickly! And she is requesting them a lot! But, you can’t just teach your child sign language by sitting them in front of the TV. In fact, you shouldn’t rely on the TV to teach them anything, but rather use it as a tool to teach. The best thing you can do is sit down with your child and watch the movie. Sing and sign along with the videos..believe me after you see them a couple times you will easily have the songs memorized! You can even pause it and practice the signs, though you really don’t need to as these videos use a LOT of repetition. i really to recommend these videos, and I receive NO compensation for this recommendation!

Great Online Resources:
Hear My Hands-Check out her site daily for the sign of the day!
Baby Sign Language Dot Com
– FREE printable flashcards!
Lifeprint-American Sign Language University, AWESOME site! Video dictionary.
Signing Time-Signing videos and other educational products
Signing Time Blog-Great resource for all things signing
Sign2Me-More sign language learning materials

Are you signing? Tell me about it!



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  1. says

    Katie – loved your site! I just shared this on my FB page! Check out our site – we just awarded you the Versatile Award! Congrats! We enjoy checking your site out every day!

  2. says

    Katie, I am totally on board with teaching babies and little kids to sign! I use signs when working with kids in OT, so it was natural for me to start signing to my baby from the time he was young. Around 13 months (after nearly 7 months of modeling basic signs of more, milk, and all done), he finally started imitating and now he is picking up new signs every day! We kind of knew he would be a late talker given his genetics, but he has always been a very communicative child, so signing has empowered him to be able to communicate his needs and wants even though he can’t verbally express many of them yet (he’s 17 months right now). Much of our signing has revolved around food and requests, which is so practical. I know signing has decreased his frustration he would otherwise be experiencing because he is able to communicate many of his wants and needs, and I am so grateful for that. Thank you for the wonderful post!
    -Christie (MamaOT)
    Christie Kiley recently posted..An Appreciation of Occupational Therapists {Guest Post}My Profile