Spring Mom, Baby and Tot Classes

We have many spring classes available starting March 13!
Ready? Set? GO!!!!


My Smart Hands Baby Sign Classes (did you know that this is a Canadian Awarded Program and Little Hands  & Me Parenting Network was rated top of 5 Baby Sign Blogs world wide?!)

Tuesday March 13

10am -Level I

11am – Level II (1 spaces)

1pm – Level I (FULL)


Thursday March 15

1pm – Level II (1 space)


Salsa Babies Saskatoon

Thursday March 15

10am- Salsa Babies (Limtied Spaces)

11am – Salsa Tots


Positive Disciline Parenting: Understanding Your Child

Tuesday April 3 at 6:30pm

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Parenting Resolutions

Today is Day 2 of a brand new book.  Each year I find myself looking at new resolutions that I strive to meet.

Last year, my resolution was just one thing. I was going to write what we did each day. I made it! I cannot wait to continue this tradition and read about what we did the year before.


This year my resolution is to connect with our children. They are growing up so very fast. I swear I blinked and Miss K is already 8 months old.


Here are my reconnecting resolutions:

  1. Sign and Read every day!
  2. Remembering to slow down.
  3. Sign and Sign a song… this may include a dance party.
  4. Cuddling and chatting about Mr. E’s day.
  5. Create an new and exciting initiation to play each week. What this blog for the updates.
  6. Spend more time creating memories and messes.

What are your parenting resolutions this year?


Baby Sign Language uses American Sign Language signs!

Baby sign language is a tool of communication that you can give to your pre-verbal baby. Babies begin to gesture at a fairly early age; putting their hands in the air to be picked up, pointing at things they want etc. They quickly learn that these movements will elicit a reaction from his/her parents.

teaching 1

Taking that natural gesturing to the next level, parents have started to teach their children specific signs that they can use to communicate their needs.

Most people use signs taken from a real sign language such as ASL in North America. By using ASL signs with babies you are not teaching them the actual language, you are simply using the exact sign for the exact English word.



Tuesday’s Tip – What are Motivational Signs?

Motivational signs are what is important to your child. As parents, we never know what a child is wanting to say!

Therefore, in my level classes I encourage parents to start with 2-5 signs in the first week. These are usually related to everyday use such as: “more/all-done”, “milk”, “eat/food”, “change diaper” and “mom/dad”. Then the following weeks incorporate more 2-5 ASL signs based on our theme.

Other times parents will start incorporating what their child finds to be interesting! Some children love food, or animals. In fact, E’s second sign was “light” and third sign was “fan”. You just may be amazed at what their first signs may be!

What signs will you be using this week?

Using Baby Sign Language while Eating!

In this video, I am showing how a family can start to incorporate baby sign language as they feed their little. Kaila and I are practicing ASL signs for: “more”, “avocado”, and “all-done”.

Parents, often, find that using signs during meal time to be very motivational for their little. This is because soon their little will be able to use signs to communicate basic needs such as “all-done/finished”, “more”, “food” and even specify another food they want to “eat”! Most littles first few signs are often food related as these are very motivational!

Fun Friday

Fun Friday –

signing W

Elijah and I have been busy decorating for Halloween next week. Here we are putting stickies on the front door. What letter am I finger spelling?

Find ways to use baby sign language in your day to day life! This allows signing to become more natural, fun and provides learning and language opportunities for your little!

Does Signing with Children Delay Natural Speech and Language?

While at a trade show yesterday I met many families who have used sign language, were interested in taking sign language classes or my past signing families! I enjoy hearing stories about how signing has positively impacted a family and how they are able to communicate with their young children. The best feedback I received yesterday was how a family can see how their child feels empowered to be able to communicate with her parents!

However, there were parents who expressed concern that using #ASL signs with their children may delay natural speech and language. The short answer is no! I think the confusion is due to the fact there is often confusion between  speech and language. Here is a great link explaining the difference:

http://www.playingwithwords365.com/2012/01/what-is-the-difference-between-speech-and-language/  (this blogger is a Speech and Language Pathologist).

When a child is using baby sign language (ASL signs) they are using language, and bridging the gap to meaningful communication! How wonderful is is that a non-verbal baby or a late talking toddler is able to use a true language to communicate their needs and have a sense of empowerment over their environment?

The Mayo Clinic promotes the use of Baby Sign Language stating, “Baby sign language — when babies use modified gestures from American Sign Language — can be an effective communication tool. Teaching and practicing baby sign language also can be fun and give you and your child an opportunity to bond.”

To read full article:


Our classes are also language rich as teach baby sign language through music, signing, movement, sensory activities. we encourage parents to constantly talk with their children while using baby sign language to support and encourage verbal English.

Please feel free to ask me any questions!

Tanya Myrfield-Wofe – BSW, RSW, Certified Baby Sign Instructor, and Parent Educator

My Smart Hands Saskatoon

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“It is vital when educating our children’s brains that we do not neglect their hearts” ~Dalai Lama

Invitations to Play and Signing to Support Learning

This past week’s classes we were discussing the importance of play and exploration. A conversation came up regarding a type of play called invitations to play, or invitations for learning, or play exploration. I thought that this would be a good topic for this week’s blog.

What is an Invitation to Play?

This is an intentional and planned collection of materials that a parent/caregiver prepares and sets up with which a child plays and explores. Invitation to play is an open invitation for a child to use as they desire. This can be a sensory basket, organized colour bins, paint daps, and much more.

How Children Learn?

Children are sensory learners. This means that children learn though: tasting, touching/feeling, seeing, hearing and smelling. Parents can encourage child’s learning by setting up an invitation to play, watch their child explore and then begin to talk and sign with their child.

How can you use American Sign Language signs during play?

There are three main ways to learn: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Using sign language with your child allows for all three types of learning. Your child is learning though their visual (sight) by seeing the sign. Auditory learnings see their parents use the American Sign Language signs while saying the English word. Kinesthetic learners move their hands to communicate before they are able to express themselves through language.

If you provide your child with an egg carton filled with 6 different coloured plastic eggs. You many watch your child explore “opening” and “shutting” the container, they may take the eggs “in” and “out”. A child’s learning is supported by their parents/caregivers. When you see a child begin to explore, act like a broadcaster saying what the child is doing while signing key words. For example “Elijah, you took the yellow egg out of the container and put in the blue egg”. (ASL signs that maybe used are in bold).

Another idea is a winter sensory basket. This can filled with “white” cotton balls, “blue” pom poms, snowflakes, snowmen. As a parent, you can have an idea of how your child will play with these times. You may want to have them practice fine motor skills and provide a shovel and pot or have them feel the different textures of the pom poms, cotton balls and the hard plastic snowflakes. An example of signing and talking: “Those soft balls are blue, the white balls feel like fluff. Can you put the ball in the pail? Oh, you took the ball out!

What to Remember About Invitations to Play?

All types of sensory play, invitations to play and play exploration is well supervised time. There can be many choking hazards in this type of play. This does not mean it is not safe, it means that parents have to be engaging in play with the child to ensure safety.

Examples of Invitations to Play!

20 months old

Sorting play. This invitation to play can be used as colour sorting or item sorting based on child’s need to explore and discover.

16 months old

Colour and shape recognition invitation to play.

14 months

Sensory bin focused on fine motor skills

Photo 5

This invitation to play was set up to show the difference between soft and hard toys. As everyone can see, climbing on the basket was much more fun.


Playing with hand crafted stones- focused on shape sorting from http://www.artinstones.com/


Pattern play with natural rocks from http://www.artinstones.com/

Please let me know your comments and thoughts on invitations to play and signing.

Happy Signing,

Tanya Myrfield-Wolfe- BSW, RSW, Certified Baby Sign Language Instructor, & Parent Educator

My Smart Hands Saskatoon



Why Sensory Play is Important

Sensory play is important for a child’s whole wellness and development. Sensory play allows a child to learn through their 5 senses (often taste is not included). However, children learn from touch, sight, hearing, sound and taste.

Often, when parents here sensory play they immediately think of messy, dirty, and hard to clean up activities. While, these types of bins are included in sensory play there are ways to incorporate this type of play without the added mess.

In one of our Tiny Tot Sensory classes, we placed red, yellow and/or blue paint into ziplock bags. As quiet and calming music played in the background, parents encouraged their children to squeeze, squish, mush and touch the closed ziplock bags of paint. This allowed the children to feel/touch the cool and squishy paint, see the original colours and then see a new colour being created before their eyes! Prior to this activity, we learned many American Sign Language signs to promote learning and exploration.

My Smart Hands Saskatoon brings in many whole child development activities in their classes to promote a learning, education, language rich environment that is fun for parents and their little ones.

Happy Signing,

Tanya Myrfield-Wolfe- BSW, RSW, Certified Baby Sign Language Instructor, & Parent Educator

My Smart Hands Saskatoon



Cell: 306-202-9345

“It is vital when educating our children’s brains that we don’t neglect to educate their hearts.” – Dalai Lama