Fall is a lovely season. It is a time of change and discovery lending all of us opportunities for learning and engaging with our little ones outdoors and indoors. If you are fortunate enough to have a toddler who is transitioning from non-verbal to verbal communication join us as we explore a few games, activities and signs that capture the very heart of the season.
Dressing Up For Fall
Say goodbye to swimming trunks, sunglasses & shorts and get ready to teach your baby new and wonderful signs that will empower her to seek comfort and warmth as needed. When you are ready to show your toddler new clothing suitable for the season make sure you prioritize comfort and fit. I remember our little one using the sign for hurt the first time she tried on a pair of hand-me-down boots.
If your toddler is ready this is a great time to work on motor skills teaching him tasks such as zipper up and zipper down, button up and button down as well as put on and take off with clothing items such as jackets, scarfs and hats. This is also the perfect season to learn to wipe our boots or shoes before going inside. Learning this skill early will set the stage for a neat and successful winter.
Among others, here are a few signs we can learn as we explore warmer clothing for the season.
To sign sweater hands move down from chest to waist at the same time as if in putting on a sweater.
To make the baby sign for coat take both hands and make them into fists with thumbs up. Move the two fists up and down in front of the chest.
To sign scarf your hands will make the motion that mimics tying a scarf around your neck with a single knot.
To sign gloves brush your fingers on your dominant hand, over your non-dominant hand. Then do the reverse, running the fingers of your non-dominant hand over the fingers of your dominant hand. The sign resembles someone putting on a pair of gloves.
To sign boots you start by doing the sign for shoes, taking two closed fists and bumping them together. Then you open your strong hand and touch it on the inside of your weak arm’s elbow – as if to show that the boots come up high on your arm.
Discovering the Great Outdoors
This is perhaps the most beautiful part of the season. Observing change, learning about nature and discovering celebrations that will be the foundation of cherished memories.
Our favorite toddler-friendly activity is also the simplest and most accessible to all of us. Walk outdoors and collect the gifts of nature. You can use leaves and seeds to create simple crafts and take the opportunity to teach your baby how to sign and say words relevant to the season. We love to make little collages using glue, paper and bits of nature.
The leaf sign looks a lot like a leaf hanging from a branch, waving in a gentle breeze. Your weak hand acts like the branch. You point the index finger on your weak hand and make your other fingers into a fist.
To sign seed use your dominant hand with all fingers pointed downward. Grab an imaginary seed and open and close your hand as in dropping seeds.
To sign rain, open up both hands, and starting with your hands above your head and bring them down. Your fingers are like the raindrops drifting down.
To sign stick both hands meet together at the center making two circles with thumb and index as if in holding a stick. Pull your hands out and away from your body.
The sign for park is achieved by combining the sign for grass with the sign for area or space.
Celebrating The Holidays
This season lends us two magical opportunities for family and fun. Thanksgiving and Halloween are among the most memorable childhood holidays. Embrace the season and get busy teaching your little one family traditions and games that will stay in their hearts forever.
There are so many seasonal activities related to the holidays we would not know where to start. We love making homemade candy and cookies and allowing our toddlers to do simple sprinkle-based decorations. We also set time aside to make turkey or pilgrim and native hats.
The sign for Turkey looks like outlining the wattles on a turkey. Taking the index finger and thumb pointing down, move your hand from your chin down to your chest.
To sign pumpkin your non-dominant hand goes into a fist and flicking it with your forefinger on your dominant hand. The sign is like you are testing the surface of pumpkin to make sure it is good.
To sign candy take your index finger and touching it to the back of your jaw. Twist the finger back-and-forth.
To sign halloween cover your face with both hands palms slightly curved and uncover your face right away as in playing peek-a-boo.
To sign ghost have both hands meet with index and thumb, move the upper or dominant hand upwards while waving slightly as if a genie was coming out of a bottle. Your non-dominant hand remains still.
If you are new to signing we encourage you to explore all the wonderful products we have compiled aimed at helping your baby communicate from birth to his preschool years. Our favorite is the Ultra Baby Sign Language Kit. This awesome kit contains twelve resources aimed at engaging in learning using all your senses. The kit contains Baby Signing Time DVDs, audio recordings with popular songs, flash cards, chart and teaching guides. An absolute value for less than $120