Many of our babies are quickly becoming active and inquisitive toddlers. As parents and educators we are to join our little ones side-by-side as they discover the world around them and learn new skills that will remain with them for a lifetime.
Both SAHM and working moms often find themselves in the kitchen preparing meals and snacks for the family. Keeping a toddler busy and engaged while taking care of food preparation can be challenging to say the least. Last week I received an email and photo from my friend Julie telling me how she has incorporated baby sign language to cooking time in her home. Here are Julie’s best tips. We hope they are helpful to you as we head into the holiday season and we are even more likely to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen.
Pick a Weekly Theme
Each week Julie picks a theme for her little girl. The theme is based around what Julie plans to cook or special occasions and holidays. To date they have worked on a unit focused on fruits, another one on snacks and most recently they are working on learning everything associated with a birthday.
Provide Hands-On Opportunities
This week Julie will be baking a cake. Her little girl will help and have several opportunities to taste and touch the ingredients. Because the focus is chocolate cake Julie has created a chocolate-themed scrapbook with wrappers from different brands of chocolate candy bars.
Create a Flashcard Wall
Julie prints full size flashcards from our free digital resources page relevant to her weekly theme and displays the flashcards on the refrigerator.
Use The Opportunity to Introduce Your Toddler to Letters
Julie keeps a magnetic alphabet handy and she is teaching her little girl the first letter for each of the words that they are learning how to sign together.
Practice Outside the Home
As part of using the kitchen experience as an opportunity to teach baby sign language Julie is also incorporating on-the-go contextual teaching. When Julie heads to the grocery store she is showing her little girl other instances related to the words of the week. They walk through the bakery and see different cakes or visit the baking goods section and Julie points to the boxed cake mix while signing cake.
If you are ready to up your game when it comes to teaching your baby how to sign go check our new Baby Sign Language Kits. We have added new books and interactive media inclusive of puppets and soft toys.