Special Needs

Signing Activities for Children with Special Needs

Here are a variety of activities for children with special needs, to encourage and reinforce the use of sign language in everyday life. Submitted by Signing Time fans from all over the world, they show how easy it is to get in your “signing time” every day!

Got your own ideas, songs, games, or activities to share with us? Send an email to info@signingtime.com. Be sure to include your first and last name. All submissions become property of Two Little Hands Productions.

Bubbles…Bubbles…And More Bubbles!!!
Submitted by K. Stein

I love pulling out the bubbles to promote signing. To begin, I show my children the bubbles and they instantly sign ‘bubbles please.” Then, after we start blowing, out comes the “more” sign. It is also the perfect opportunity for reinforcing signs like “up,” “down,” “many and any object the bubbles land on (dog, flower, grass, and shoe). We often sing songs about the bubbles that we make up as we go along. We also use the signs “jump” and “catch” to see if we can jump up and catch the high bubbles. When it’s time to put the bubbles away, we sadly sign “finished.” This is the perfect activity for busy moms because you don’t need a lot of materials. It is also a great way to gather little ones to a “circle time activity” in a preschool environment.

 Just Playin’ And Learnin’
Submitted by B. Levatau

You will need as many objects that you will be signing. For example, Ball, Train, Doll, etc… What I like to do with my son is get as many objects together of the signs we’ve learned and just let him play…when he picks up an object we go over the sign. For example, if he picks up the ball, then I’ll sign “ball” and then I’ll incorporate some other signs such as, “play” or “your turn”, “my turn”….

Signing Time! Vocabulary Cards
Submitted by Colleen

Using large index cards and markers; I write the words from the Signing Time tapes on each card. We use them as flash cards and I show them to Erica (5 nonverbal with Downs) and she signs back to me what it is. We kept adding more words. She has learned to read 100 plus words and just started regular education kindergarten. You can imagine her teacher’s surprise. I highly sing and sign your praises……..thank you so much! Erica is able to show everyone how much she really knows!

Memory for Little Tikes
Submitted by J. Frost

I line up memory cards, face up. Then, I make the sign for a one of the pictures. My two year old finds the right card and hands it to me. This is a good quiet activity that we use in church.

Using Household Items To Teach!
Submitted by L. Rodgers

I watch the DVD’s with my 7 month old daughter and show her items (props you want to use) as they come up in the DVD and sign along. I think the look and excitement on her face makes it the best for me and it helps her associate the items in the DVD with things around the house.

Signing Stories
Submitted by B. Borrero

We use Sign Language to help our son Jacob (7) learn & understand more concepts along with helping him learn how to read. He loves song games & music so I taught myself how to sign the book “Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”. He signs some of the words and can now say a few of the words. Sign Language also helps with his attention and is a great motivator for him. He loves the videos and has learned so much from them. Thanks for providing such a great tool for our children to use.

Sign Names Create Comfort
Submitted by S.Gruber

I sign the first letter of names of people, especially kids, we meet. Then we can talk/sign about them at home and I can prepare my two year old speech delayed son for the people we are going to see. I have seen this make a big difference in helping him to adjust to social situations, i.e. playgroup, preschool. He includes them in his prayers and in songs (___ knows the colors of the rainbow….). It helps to give him a way to initiate conversation and gives me an idea who he is thinking about. Thank goodness for ASL!!!

Multi-lingual Momma:
Submitted by L. Lashway

We introduce Spanish through the ASL signs in Signing Time! First learn the sign, and then speak the word in English and Spanish. Then when we read a Spanish picture book for babies – we do the sign and speak the English – vice versa for our English picture books. This is how we practice all languages every day.

Have a Silly Pizza ‘Picnic’ (practice food signs)
Submitted by Teresa Linton

For Volume 3: Everyday Signs (with the Silly Pizza song), we spread out a picnic blanket on the floor, and took out several fake foods and proceeded to ‘eat’. The kids signed for what they wanted and then pretended to eat. I then printed off a coloring page with an empty picnic basket from crayola.com. I drew different food items in a printing program and copied & cut them out. The kids then pasted the foods onto the picture of the open picnic basket. We even made cookies and pizza and signed about it, while the portion of Volume 3 of Signing Time with all the food signs played in the background. It was successful both at home and at our playgroup.

The Silly Pizza Neighborhood Challenge (Practice Food Signs)
Submitted by L. Lashway

When hearing/mainstream kids come over and are bored, they want to watch DVDs. I explain that baby Jake (my son) is only allowed to watch Signing Time and Spanish DVDs, but we could have some fun with ASL. They usually agree – enter Silly Pizza Song. I teach them the sign for cheese and please and then put on the Silly Pizza Song. We, inclusive of parents, always end up laughing!

Sidewalk Chalk
Submitted by R. Lynn

You will need chalk and a big sidewalk or paved area. We do this activity so I can reinforce my signing skills and he can reinforce his signing and language skills and learn family relationships, names and nicknames. I sign who. He signs (example) Daddy. I sign Daddy then sign Ian’s Daddy’s name is Jim. I write on the sidewalk Daddy and next to it Jim. We do Aunts, Uncles, Friends, Grandparents and cousins. After, I will sign “Where is Daddy’s name”. Ian then runs and either jumps on Daddy’s name, or colors in chalk over the name.

Got your own ideas, songs, games, or activities to share with us? Send an email to info@signingtime.com. Be sure to include your first and last name. All submissions become property of Two Little Hands Productions.