Welcome to my first Signing Saturday! I’ll be devoting a couple posts (or more if I have time) a month on Saturdays to signing with your little ones! Enjoy!
A couple days ago I posted about how I am taking part in a fitness challenge with some friends of mine and so I have started taking the kids on long walks to get some cardio in. As we were walking recently and counting all the lizards we saw, my daughter asked me “Mommy, what’s the sign for lizard?” It occurred to me that our walks can also double as some sign language time! I immediately started thinking of all the things we see on our walk that I could potentially teach my children the signs for. Here are some examples of things you may see when taking your littles on a walk (head over to Lifeprint.com’s ASL Dictionary to look up the ASL signs):
- stop signs
- construction workers
Obviously, exactly what you will see depends on where you live (city vs. country vs. suburbia). I recommend you go out for a walk one day and write down some of the things you see and choose a few of those signs to work on. You can introduce as many or as few signs as you would like. I know my daughter is constantly asking me “Mommy, what’s the sign for _____” so go with your child’s lead. Right now my son Ev seems most interested in animals so he has been picking those signs up the fastest!
There is no right or wrong, but I try to concentrate on maybe 4-5 signs per walk. My plan is to work on tree, lizard, butterfly, flower, and bug until he has learned them, and then move on to others.
Another tip: If you have an iPhone or iTouch download one of ASL apps I recommended in in my post about how to learn ASL and then you can look up signs on the road!
As far as “how” to introduce the signs…I would introduce them the same way you would any new verbal vocabulary: Get your child’s attention, point out the item you are talking about, and then show him the sign a few times as you say the name of the item as well. This will require you to stop the stroller here and there on your first few walks but soon you can just slow down a bit and lean over to model the sign (this is what I do once I know my son already knows the sign). For more general tips, read my post How to Teach Your Little Ones Sign Language.
What things do you see when you go for a walk?