Wednesday’s Word – Play

Play helps a child to discover and explore their world. You can encourage language development and pre-literacy skills when signing and playing! Remember baby sign language is lots of FUN!

What are you playing and signing with today?

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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.

DSCN2650

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

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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

http://www.mysmarthandssaskatoon.com

http://www.facebook.com/MySmartHandsSaskatoonBabySignLanguage

When Can I Start Signing with My Baby?

Tanya with My Smart Hands Saskatoon is often asked the question, “When can I start signing with my child?” The answer is never the same for each family, as each parent has their own reasons for using American Sign Language with their child.

Most baby & toddler sign language instructors recommend waiting until your child is between the ages of 4 to 6 months of age. Children are meeting important milestones during this time including: eye contact, purposeful movement of arms/hands, and beginning to find new ways to engage with their parents such as squealing, smiling, cooing and babbling. Parents may decide to start signing earlier or later. In fact, we have had children as young as 2 months up to 2.5 years of age in her classes. Basically parents can start signing with their baby or toddler when ready!

Based on child development, babies are ready for signing when they start moving their eyes and head to track toys or their parents face. This shows they are interested in learning and ready to start communicating with you! When you start signing, your child may show you many new reactions. This could be a frustrated or confused face, an interested expression, moving their hands in different ways, or smiling. These are all good indications that your child is trying to figure out what you are saying with your hands. Keep using American Sign Language and soon your child will be signing back!

A key point about signing, is to be consistent! Start signing with 2-5 words, consistently during the day. However, add more in every week as your child is wanting to learn more. Finally, watch your child for signing approximations and when they start signing or moving their hands to approximate a sign, reward them with praise or what they were asking for!
Level 1 class picture (3)
Join My Smart Hands Saskatoon’s Facebook page for more information related to baby & toddler sign language, child development and upcoming classes.

Happy Signing,
Tanya Myrfield-Wolfe- BSW, RSW, Certified Baby Sign Language Instructor, & Parent Educator
My Smart Hands Saskatoon

Level I and II class schedule for Winter 2014

Winter 2014

This winter we are proud to bring 4 types of classes to you and your children! These include Level’s I and II, Sign & Sing classes though 3 community associations and a brand new monthly program!!

Level I at My Smart Hands Saskatoon’s Home Studio

Tuesdays: January 9 to March 6, 2014 (no classes on January 28, 2014):

2:00-2:45 PM
3:15-4:00PM

Thursdays: January 11 to March 8, 2014 (no classes on January 30, 2014)

12:15-1:00PM

Price (2014): $100 + $30 for coloured curriculum and exclusive song CD

Level II at My Smart Hands Saskatoon’s Home Studio

Thursdays: January 11 to March 8, 2014 (no classes on January 30, 2014)

11:00-11:45 AM

Price (2014): $85+$30 for the coloured curriculum (15% discount for returning families)

Level I and II at Ready Set Baby in Martensville

Fridays: Starting Mid-February, start date to be determined

Level I: 12:30-1:15

Level II: 1:30-2:15

Price (2014):

Level I- $120 + $30 for the coloured curriculum

Level II – $102 + $30 for the coloured curriculum (15% discount on 2014 prices for returning families)

Facebook Fan of The Week

Surprise!!
I am wanting this group to be more active and learn from each other about our infant & toddler signing adventure. To help promote this, for the month of October I will announce a Fan of the Week only on our facebook group (link below)!

What is a Fan of the Week?
The fan of the week is the most active signing friend- by sharing, liking, commenting on status updates or posting questions/comments/ideas for all to see!

When is the Fan of the Week determined?
Each Wednesday evening I will find out who was the most active on this site. From there you will be known as a Fan of the week. There will be 4 Fans of the Week in October (October 9, 16, 23 and 30)

Why do you want to be Fan of the Week?
Each of the Fan of the Week’s names will be placed into a bag and the winner will be picked by Elijah (On October 31)! The person who is picked will win a Sign & Sing Workshop for up to 5 friends!!! This will be held at My Smart Hands Saskatoon’s home studio. The date will be determined by what works for both our schedules!!

To be part of this fun join our facebook group at:

.facebook.com/MySmartHandsSaskatoonBabySignLanguage

Baby Sign Language on Global News at 6PM

Baby Sign Language on Global News at 6PM

Thank you Wendy of Global News who delivered a great story about baby & toddler sign language. We were greatly impressed and even saw Elijah complete a few signs, parents having fun signing and children playing together! This is what #babysign is all about- bridging the gap to meaningful communication!!

http://globalnews.ca/video/864229/baby-sign-language

Bringing Signing Into Your Daily Activities!

My Smart Hands Saskatoon provides tips and ideas in their classes and workshops on how to incorporate signing into your day to day activities. Signing is meant to promote early and effective communication between a child (infant, toddler or preschooler) and their parent and/or caregiver. Baby and toddler sign language is fun, helps with routines and can help your day run more smoothly! Want to know more? We will provide a few ideas on how to bring signing into your day from the moment your little one wakes up to the time they close their eyes for bedtime.

Wake Up With Signing:

A great game to play when you first hear your little one waking up is ‘peak-a-boo’. From the hall way or your bed ask your little one “Where is mom?” Pop in from the hall way or poke your head out of the sheets and say “Here is ‘MOM’!” while signing mom. These small signing games will bring a smile to your little one as they will see you and begin to recognize then sign ‘MOM’ back. Plus, why not start the morning off with a fun game that teaches: words, signing and object permanence!

Signing can be used for your morning wake up routine. You can then decide that it is “Time to ‘CHANGE YOUR DIAPER’ as it is ‘WET”!”. Signing ‘CHANGE DIAPER’ has helped children to stay more still on the change table as they are watching and interacting with you and will try to sign back when ready.

‘BRUSH YOUR TEETH’ ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch, ‘BRUSH YOUR TEETH’. This Raffi song makes brushing teeth so much fun! Together you can ‘BRUSH TEETH’ while signing and bring music into your day.

Signing On The Go:

Stuck in Traffic? Are you hitting every light red? Are you traveling across the city to play group or baby sign class? This is a great time for signing and singing. Our favorite song to sign and sing in the car is the alphabet.  Dream English is a wonderful site that promotes early language development and has simple songs that all children love. Or even bring your exclusive My Smart Hands’ CD to sign and sing about airplanes, old McDonald, twinkle twinkle little star or play it again! What a great bonding experience when you are in a car signing and signing with your child. Make sure your always driving

Are you in the grocery store shopping for the? I love signing with Elijah when we are shopping. Elijah will see and sign to fruit and veggies! We love to combine words to sign such as we see ‘ORANGES’ and will sign ‘ORANGE JUICE’, or asking if he sees the ‘PURPLE GRAPES’. We will often sign what we are looking for such as we are going to look for “BEANS”, oh here is the can of “BEANS”. This provides a visual image, ASL sign and verbal language. Such a wonderful chance for learning and communicating!

 Play Time:

Follow your child’s lead. With which play are they playing? Are they playing with a big and small ball? Watch and start signing! Keep playtime fun with signing. Let your child know that they are playing with a ‘SMALL BLUE BALL’. If they are working with blocks, ask them to stack the ‘PINK BLOCK ON the PURPLE BLOCK’. Let them know that they are driving their ‘ORANGE BIKE FAST’. The signing that you can do during playtime is endless and so much fun!!

Bed Time Routine:

Signing is great to help with transitioning from meal time, to play time and finally bed time. Signing what your routine is every night will help your child to transition from playing to a more calm and relaxed state. We have signed our bedtime routine to Elijah since he was 4.5 months old. We would verbally say and support with signing that we will take a ‘BATH’, ‘BEDTIME SNACK’, ‘CHANGE DIAPER’, ‘MILK’, ‘READ A BOOK’ and ‘SING BEDTIME SONGS’. We have found when Elijah knows what is happening next the transition from one activity to the next is much easier (most nights)! Bring signing and singing into each of these transitions creates a fun and educational bedtime routine. Signing in the bath is so much fun. You can find foam alphabets and numbers, rubber toys and boats to make this time even more enjoyable and promoting learning and exploration. Also, when washing body parts, sign and sing “This is the way we wash your _______”!

We would love to hear from you other ways to bring signing into your day. Join My Smart Hands Saskatoon for a class and learn even more ideas and ways to bring signing into your daily activities. Remember the key is to be able to communicate with your child in meaningful ways!

Happy Signing!