Posts Tagged ‘Signing Time’

The video clip above is from the brand new Baby Signing Time called “A New Day.” I was very excited and pleased to be offered the opportunity to preview the upcoming videos. This clip gives a good idea what to expect from Baby Signing Time. It is filled with fun music that repeats the words being signed, Rachel shows how to sign a word, examples of the word are shown, and the written English form of the word is shown. In addition, children three and under are shown signing the words.

The use of songs to help practice the words is great since the words are repeated throughout the song. I have used many Signing Time songs in the past to help me practice new signs with my playgroup and they are generally a hit. I can definitely see using these as well.

Rachel always shows the correct way to sign a word, often describing what the sign is showing. This really helps me to remember some of the signs. On the same screen there is a graphical representation of the word, as well as the word written in English. So, children (and Moms and Dads) get lots of different representations of the word at once, to help cement it in our brains. I know my youngest daughter learned her ABCs from watching Signing Time.

Seeing small children doing the signs helps Moms and Dads see different beginning signer versions of signs. I remember my youngest daughter signed “apple” by hitting herself in the head. She was a baby and her arms were very short; she did not have the dexterity to do the sign correctly, but she did her version and repeated it when I gave her more apple sauce. Think of it being similar to beginning spoken words, like “Mama” or “Baba.”

The signs that are taught in “A New Day” are very useful in describing the world around a young child. In addition, there are the very useful signs for stop, go, wait, and again. I think Moms and Dads use stop and wait a bunch, but kids probably like using again and go.

I loved seeing the last song, with the video clips of Alex and Leah from the very first Signing Time and as they were when this was made. It is amazing how much they have grown. It was also cute to see Rachel as an astronaut in Starry Night and the bugs in I’m A Bug.

Interested in Signing Time? Please check out their website for lots of information and bunches of great videos. In addition, you can check out their website to see if Signing Time is on your local public television station. The newest Baby Signing Time videos will be released in October, along with cds of the music that you can use in your car (at least that is where we often find ours—-just be careful about signing along while you drive.)

Coming soon to my blog — a review of the next Baby Signing Time, volume 4.

Read Full Post »

I was recently asked to submit an article for consideration to be put in the Signing Time newsletter that goes out to parents. This evening I received the email newsletter with my article in it.

Please check it out:

Becoming the Very Resource I’d Wished For

Thanks so much to Signing Time, for all they have done to help families communicate with their children!

Read Full Post »

Teaching toddlers and preschoolers to recognize colors by name is a popular theme without even considering teaching the ASL signs to go with them. There are many resources available to teach colors that can be adapted to learning the ASL signs. I have compiled a few of my favorites here that I have used with toddlers and preschoolers.


I do not own as many books with colors as a theme as I do farm animals; however I do have a couple that we really enjoy. I have also discovered some at our local library while researching this theme.

1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, with illustrations by Eric Carle is a classic. There are two versions of this book. We happen to own both. I have one version that ends with a teacher and one that ends with a mother. I personally like the illustrations better in the mother one, but our teacher version is larger, so I may use that in a playgroup with several children to help with seeing the book. This book has lots of animals that you can sign as well.

2. Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh is another great colors book. In this one, some mice end up playing with paint. Children can learn about mixing colors with this book as well.

3. Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd involves a dog getting into different messes throughout the day that add colorful spots to his coat. The colors can be identified as well as counted.

4. My Crayons Talk by Patricia Hubbard, with illustrations by G. Brian Karas is a new find today at the library. It has a catchy rhyming quality to it and the illustrations look like they could have been done with crayons, at least in part.

5. Leon the Chameleon by Melanie Watt is the story of a chameleon who cannot turn the correct color. He always turns the opposite color. Since the whole page is one color and Leo is the opposite, it makes it easy for kids to find Leo and sign his color. You can also sign the color he should have turned.

6. Magpie Magic by April Wilson is an absolute delight to read, although there are no words.. The illustrations jump from the page as the story unfolds, just as the magpie in the story jumps from the page. This one might be hard for sharing with younger kids, but my three year old told me tonight that I needed to share it with the playgroup. I think the person sharing it would have to ask lots of questions of the kids as the pages were shown to get them to figure out the story.

7. A printable book of colors is available at kiddyhouse. You may need to search under Lesson Plans and then Colors to find the page. You need a pdf reader to print the book.

I also made a book of colors using my Cricut cutting machine. I made the animals from Brown Bear, Brown Bear and just put the color word with the animal. I added the colors that were not in the story that I also wanted to teach.


There are several games for a variety of age groups available on the internet to print out with a color theme. I will try to compile the ones I have used here, although it is a year since I printed some of them out and I may not be able to find them all again.

1. Fishing Game: I cut out fish in each color that I was teaching with my Cricut machine, but you could easily draw a simple fish to cut out by hand. I then laminated the fish and attached magnets to them. For fishing poles, I use dowels with a string that has a nut tied to the end. As each child catches a fish, he or she must sign the color that was caught.
2. Memory/Matching Game: I found graphics of various items that were in each of the colors as well as drawings of each of the signs. Match the sign to the correct color graphic.
3. Board Game: I found a website that offered simple one page board games to print out. I printed out a couple on card stock and laminated them. I then used some more of the graphics as cards for the game. Kids pick a card, sign the color, and then roll the die to see how many spaces to go.
4. Parachute play: I have a parachute with the colors. Kids can be asked to go to their favorite color and then sign it. The instructor can sign a color and have kids go to the color. An object can be placed in the parachute and the group works together to make the object go to the color that is signed.
5. Go Fish Card Game: For preschoolers, the cards at this ESL site could be used. They also have a BINGO game on the site for colors. Many ESL sites have simple games that can be adapted for use in learning ASL.


1. Signing Time! has “Do You Know the Colors of the Rainbow?” as well as the “Box of Crayons” song.
2. There is also a “Colors” song on Games, Games, Games from Wee Sing.


For a craft for this playgroup theme, I found a book of colors, “My Itsy Bitsy Colors Book” at kidzone. They also have minibooks on individual colors available for printout.

Read Full Post »

Signing cow

When my youngest daughter was diagnosed with hearing loss, we knew right away we wanted to learn American Sign Language. Both my husband and I were interested in it before, but had not found the time to learn more than the handful of signs that new parents learn because that seems to be the thing to do. Unfortunately, there was not much help forthcoming from our local early childhood intervention office in this area. The only thing they suggested was to borrow Signing Time! videos from the public library.

Well, I had never heard of Signing Time! before then, so I immediately looked into it and purchased the first three videos. That may have been all that was available at that point. We began to watch them in the evenings as part of our bedtime routine. It was a great learning experience for us all. My oldest daughter learned very quickly; she was about three at the time we started. I can still remember being overwhelmed when the video would introduce more than one sign at a time.

Now, we wait anxiously for the new episodes to be available to buy or be on the local PBS station. (The PBS station puts them on in the wee hours of the morning so my TIVO has to catch them.) Thanks to TIVO, I have the next season’s episodes, ready for my dear husband to put on a dvd before I make the mistake of erasing them after watching.

In addition to Signing Time!, I have taken a couple “signing with babies” classes through a local center for the deaf and hard of hearing. I would also love to make it all the way through lifeprint’s site. I have started it a couple times, but need to commit myself to a certain amount each week in order to get through the whole class. I have also purchased several books and dictionaries; I will try to provide a list of those I found helpful later.

Since there was very little in the area for me when I discovered I had a child with a hearing loss, I decided to share what I have learned with others through an ASL playgroup for toddlers and preschoolers. Having been a teacher for seven years before “retiring” to have children of my own, it is nice to use those skills that I had not used in a while. For the last year and a half I have had two playgroup sessions a month, holding sessions first at the local library and now at a local church.

Each playgroup has a theme, like zoo animals, ABCs, feelings, things that go, and so forth. We read books, play games, do a craft, sing and sign songs, and sometimes watch a song from Signing Time! During all of the activities, we practice several signs that belong in the theme. I try to send home a page with drawings that remind the parents and kids of how to do the signs we have learned. I hope to put the plans for each playgroup up on my blog; I have already put a few ideas up on www.pwcasl.org and one clothing theme on my blog.

Read Full Post »