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Play, Learn and Grow


Play, Learn and Grow
 Signing Games for Infants & Toddlers

There is no magic formula for teaching your baby/toddler to sign, the key is consistency and repetition.  Teaching signs at home is simple and easy; just incorporate the signs you want to teach into your daily routines by following three easy steps.

Step 1: SAY the word you want to teach (i.e. Eat)

Step 2: SHOW the sign for that word,

Step 3: REPEAT the word and show the sign often throughout the day.  

In our Sign, Say and Play® Class, we always want to teach the parents, grandparents and other caring adults in our class additional ways to incorporate signing. 

The following is a preview of some easy, fun games you can play with your infant/toddler at home.

  • What happened to the light?  Help baby turn the light switch on/off.  Each time the light turns on, sign light.  When the light turns off, you could add the sign “all gone/done”. 






  • The Animal Sign Game. This fun signing game is a great way to teach both infancts and toddlers the signs for different animals and it's also a great social activity between you and your child. For this game you will need some stuffed animals or large colorful pictures of animals. Sit on the floor with your child. Show the animal, and say the animal (i.e. monkey), make the animal's sound (eek-eek) and then sign the animal. Repeat.


Other animal signs that are easy for most toddlers to imitate include cat, dog, cow, and pig. For older toddlers, this can be accompanied by moving around the room like the animal.


In addition to games, songs and rhymes are also a great way to incorporate signing into your daily activities. There are rhymes and songs for all age levels such as, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Old MacDonald Had A Farm, Baby Bumble Bee and Pop Goes the Weasel.  You can even change the words around to make up your own songs and focus on the signs you want to teach your infant or toddler.   

A Bridge of Hands

A Bridge of Hands

Benefits of Sign Language in Preschool

  1. All learning styles are supported. When you use American Sign Language (ASL) in your curriculum you are reaching the whole child — every child — by having them hear, see, and move to express the concept or vocabulary you are teaching.

  2.  Building communication with preverbal babies.  When young children’s needs are met consistently and with ease the bonding process moves along with simplicity, both with families and caregivers.

  3. As a communication tool signing is an effective intervention model for developing pre-literacy skills since it is incorporated into all aspects of language development.

  4. Sign language bridges communication for children with special needs and children who are dual language learners. 

  5. Sign language is a communication tool that bridges communication with preverbal babies . When young children’s needs are met consistently and with ease the bonding process moves along with simplicity, both with families and caregivers.

  6. Children’s pre-reading skills during story time, free play, and music time through the use of ASL: vocabulary development, print awareness, print motivation, letter knowledge, and narrative skills.  

  7. ASL is not just a language boost for our children; it is also a brain boost. A child that has the opportunity to learn ASL benefits from increased brain development. ASL supports early brain development in the areas of: communication, attention, bonding, and visual learning.

Excerpt from
 Using Sign Language as a Communication Tool to
 Enhance Learning for Preschool Children
 Training Module


Express Yourself: Social Emotional

Express Yourself with Sign Language
(To express personal emotions, to show gratitude or to ask for help)

Introducing sign language early in the school year is a great way to to help pre-school children learn how to express their feelings and emotions appropriately.  Baby sign language is a very expressive language and easily understandable to children.  Using signs to express their emotions gives children another way to communicate and can help ease conflict and frustration.





Sometimes I’m Happy
(Tune of Farmer in the Dell)

Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m happy
When I feel happy I smile a smile
Sometimes I’m happy.

Sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m sad
When I’m sad my face looks down
Sometimes I’m sad

Note: To add verses, let the children choose different emotions and ask them how they would show this emotion.  Sign the feeling as you sing the song!












                           There are a variety of ways to provide children an opportunity to learn how to express their emotions appropriately.                                          One way is to begin with  a children’s book that has a lot of different feeling vocabulary.  


‘When You’re Happy and You Know It’, great for younger children.
 For older children a fun song is…’Sometimes I’m Happy’