Signing Activities For Ages 3-7
Here are a variety of activities for you to try with children ages 3 to 7 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your first and last name. All submissions become property of Two Little Hands Productions.
Incorporating the Alphabet, Phonics, Letters….
Submitted by R. Lynn
(I started doing this because I got tired of just doing the alphabet over and over). My son likes for me to make each letter and their corresponding words a different color and he hands me the color that he wants me to use. Write “Aa” then sign the letter while saying the phonetic “a” sound. Next to the “Aa” write a word beginning with the letter a. Sign the word then finger spell the word. Each time you do the Alphabet you choose a different topic: People (family friends), Mammals, Amphibians or aquatic animals, vegetables, fruits etc. After a while instead of you thinking of a word that starts with the letter, your child will begin to sign a word and if possible, they will begin to attempt to mimic the phonetic pronunciation of the word. They will also learn the classification of items and the beginnings of reading. My son now understands uncles are men and makes jokes that I am Uncle Mommy and then tells me he is a funny boy!
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.
Submitted by M. Harrah
BINGO cards (I make my own with Words or Pictures from our lesson) Play like regular BINGO, but the leader signs, and the players find the matching word or picture. Whoever gets BINGO first, signs all of the words or pictures in the winning row.
Using Household Items to Teach!
Submitted by L. Rodgers
I watch the DVD’s with my 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 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 (age 5, nonverbal with Down Syndrome) 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 educ. 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!
You have many signs in your vocabulary now – enough to start forming sentences. Even simple sentences like these:
What other sentences can you form? Time to Exercise Your Memory
Submitted by M. Harrah
Concentration (or memory) cards (store-bought or you can make your own). We play concentration, but we have to sign our match before we can get our extra turn.
Memory for Little Tikes
Submitted by J. Frost
I line up memory cards, face up. Then, I make the sign for 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.
Find a Word, What’s its Sign?
Submitted by T. Costa
Works great with picture books or magazines, but in a pinch to entertain or distract I will use billboards, doctor signage, posters (you name it, I’ll use it) We play the “I know the sign” game. We look at the first page in the book and take turns saying “I know the sign for ___.” Then the next person goes and chooses something they know the sign for and they say “I know the sign for___.” We continue until we cannot name anymore signs for items on that page, and then we turn the page. It works great as a distraction in a boring doctor’s office also, because you can use the posters or magazines and even include the other children and teach them signs that your children know. I’ve done this quite a few times!!
GO! STOP! GO!
Submitted by K. Fry
My granddaughter and I like to play ‘Go, Stop, Wait’. It is played just like “red light, green light.” I line up at the end of the hallway and she signs ‘Go’ and I run until she signs ‘Stop’. I have to stop and wait while she signs ‘Wait’. Then she signs ‘Go’ and I run until she signs ‘Stop’ again and again I need to Wait. This is repeated until I reach her. At that point I am the signer and she is the runner. If the runner does not stop when the ‘Stop’ is signed – they must go back to the beginning. This can be played with multiple runners and in that case, the first runner reaching the signer gets to be the next signer.
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.
Invent Your Own Lyrics- The Sillier Pizza Song!
Submitted by Mindy, mom to Lilium
Sing the Silly Pizza Song from Everyday Signs (Vol 3) and Time to Eat (Vol 12) and substitute other food signs you know, like this:
I like peaches on my pizza…or
I like grapes on my pizza…
Watch My Favorite Things (Vol 6) and Time to Eat (Vol 12) to learn more signs for food, fruit, and veggies.
Or, substitute other fun signs you know, like this:
I like airplanes on my pizza…or
I like flowers on my pizza…or
I DON’T like socks on my pizza…
You can add on as many things as you’d like!
Other versions of the Silly Pizza Song (making up new lyrics to the same melody)
“I like babies while their sleeping, I like sleeping babies please!
Put the babies in their beds; don’t forget to kiss their cheek!”
‘Have we beaten this song to death? I still like it ;-)’
Additional Uses for the Silly Pizza Song Melody
Submitted by L. Lashway
“I like kisses on my baby, I like kissed babies please, put some kisses on my baby (then kiss your baby) don’t forget the extra please!”
Use the silly pizza song while driving on a long trip and stating what you see along the highway. Like this:
“I like bridges on my pizza, I like silly bridges please…”
Submitted by K. Lee
To do this activity, you will need flash cards with alphabet & pictures on them, or any book with several of various pictures. I like to teach my boys how to recognize their alphabet using Flash Cards, and I find that while I am teaching them the alphabet one at a time, I teach them the sign for each letter of the alphabet. Sometimes, flash Cards have pictures along with the alphabet and I’d teach them the sign for the pictures as well. It has been very successful for my boys as we practice memorizing/ recognizing each letter of the alphabet by memorizing the signs as well. Sometimes we’d play a game and I’d ask them what was the sign for a particular letter of the alphabet? What about this picture? They’d have fun trying to remember the sign for it.
Adding Signing to Games You Already Know
Submitted by T. Linton
Add signing to the simple games you already know! It lets you practice your signs inside, outside, or in the car!
I spy with my little eye… sign what you see and everyone else has to point it out! Alphabet game – look for your ABCs in the world around you. Sign each letter as you see it in print, on a sign, or an object that starts with that letter. First person to get through the alphabet wins!
ABC Race – how fast can you sign your ABCs? Can you keep up Leah on Volume 5? Race each other!
Red Light, Green Light – use your color signs, or the signs for stop and go.
Have a Silly Pizza ‘Picnic’: (practice food signs)
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.
What else are you Really Good at?
Sing “I’m Really Good” from My Favorite Things (Vol 6) and substitute other activity signs you know, like this:
I’m really good at cleaning…or
I’m really good at playing…or
I’m really good at sharing…or
I’m really good at reading…
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. Brenda (Mom to Jacob- ASD 7/Erika- 5) who knows all of the signs on your videos and helps her brother with them.
Show Me A Sign
As you tell stories and read books to your child, look for words that correspond to signs you know. Say and sign the word(s) each time.
Many ‘Babies First Words’ –type books have pictures that correspond to the basic signs in My First Signs (Vol 1). They are great for practice.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears: sign Mom, Dad, Baby, Bear, Hot, Cold, Sleep…
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin: sign brown, bear, red, bird, yellow, blue, green, frog, purple, cat, white, dog, black, fish…
As you do this, make note of the signs you haven’t yet learned from Signing Time so you can know what you need to expand your ASL vocabulary.
Silly Pizza Matching & Stacking Game
Submitted by Jennifer Ackerson
We have play food items to match the foods in the song. When the song starts you have to sign the words and be able to keep up with Rachel. For every sign you can do correctly you get to keep that food item. When the song ends you can see who has the most food items and know which words you need to practice more.
We have a variation of this game where you have a tray, which is the pizza, and you stack the play food items on top of each other to see who can make the tallest stack. We had to substitute blocks with pictures of the food for things like apples because they won’t stack. You can stack them in order as they show up on the screen. At the end you have a huge stack of silly pizza just like on the show.
Sometimes one person stacks the food while the other person signs ‘I want _______ on my pizza’ You have to figure out what the sign is and stack the right food.
While we play these games the kids get lots of practice with signing and have lots of laughs!
Just Another One of Those Rainy Days: (Practice Wet/Dry)
Submitted by Teresa Linton
One day when it was lightly raining, I played the portion of Volume 3: Everyday Signs where the kids are talking about “Wet” and “Dry”. As the ‘Rainy Day’ song was playing, we went outside, stepped out from under the patio and signed “Wet!”, then back where under the porch where it was dry, and signed “Dry!” My two year old loved it. He still to this day signs and says “Wet!” whenever it’s raining and begs to go play outside.
Good Sharing! (Practice Your Magic Words)
Submitted by Teresa Linton
Volume 2: Playtime Signs talks about taking turns with the “Magic Words’ song. We get out one of the kids favorite toys and the two of them take turns. I tried to get them to use their signs while learning to share. This was somewhat difficult at first, but over time the kids started to enjoy the communication part enough that the sharing wasn’t as difficult.
Look Who’s Signing
Submitted by L. Lashway
To advance his language skills and reinforce the meaning of a sign, We take short movies (.avi) of Jake doing a sign, and play it for him. For example, film him signing ball, use the Signing Time DVD sign review feature to show him the sign for ball, then play ball with him and sign ball ourselves. He really likes to see himself signing and the kids in Signing Time doing the same thing.
Take Rachel With You
Submitted by L. Lashway
When your 10 mo. old has to spend a week in a hotel room, he can get pretty bored. I put the Signing Time Music CD on my iPod and played it for him over the cheesy FM radio in the hotel. He thought Rachel was going to come out of the radio and would not take his eyes off it.