February seems to be the perfect month to have a theme based upon feelings. Emotions can be difficult for kids to understand, so being able to have a sign for them can be helpful. Of course, along with the sign you really need to use your face to convey the meaning; the face is a very important part of American Sign Language.
With my playgroup I was excited the first time I did this theme to find a bunch of signs for feelings. After doing the playgroup I realized that I probably covered more signs than small kids could handle, especially since they are signs for non-concrete things. This time around I will focus more on the basic emotions and just give a handout with extras for families that are interested in learning more.
Above you can see my oldest daughter’s craft from last year’s playgroup. Even the excess glue shows up in the photo. I asked the kids to give the ASL I love you Valentine to someone special to show love for someone else. My kids were kind enough to give theirs to me so I still have them. For this craft I used a hand print template and cut them all out ahead of time. (At the time I had a hard time finding that hand, so I wanted to be sure you had the link.) This time I will use my Cricut to cut out hand shapes with the My Community or Learning Curve cartridge, which will save me a bunch of time. I also used the Cricut to cut out the hearts, although that would be easy enough to cut out on your own.
My three year old daughter loves this one. I bought it from a Scholastic book order last year after realizing I did not have enough books for this theme. It has the following feelings: silly*, scared*, disappointed, happy*, sad*, angry*, thankful, frustrated, shy, bored, excited*, jealous, and proud*. The starred ones are covered during my playgroups.
How I Feel Scared, How I Feel Happy, How I Feel Silly
I found this series at a used book store. My youngest daughter decided to be scared of everything in the book about that emotion after several readings, so be forewarned.
How Do You Feel? by Mandy Stanley
I just found this one randomly in the library in the board books section. It has a good range of emotions in it, along with lots of animals that can be signed as well.
When You Are Happy by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Geraldo Valerio
This is a great find that I mentioned last week in my entry about going to the library. This one is a little long for the very young, so we will see how it goes at our playgroup; I would tend to use it with the group if it was mostly preschoolers, as opposed to toddlers.
The perennial favorite, If You’re Happy And You Know It can have as many verses as you want. I usually put in things like, “If you’re mad and you know it, stomp your feet.” Sometimes, I put in an emotion and ask for suggestions from the kids for the action to go with it.
Signing Time! has a feelings song called, Feelings, from volume four of the first season.
For the sign “proud,” the song Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee could be used. This is a short song that can be found in a variety of places, including Wee Sing Silly Songs.