Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sign of the Week: Blanket | Creative Talk

Every Wednesday or Thursday I plan on sharing the Sign of the Week with you, which is taken from the Signing Time Blog.
I'll post a:
1) Sign description
2) Link to Rachel signing the word (and the flaschard pdf to save or print!)
3) Baby activity
4) Toddler activity

This week's sign is... BLANKET!  (from Baby Signing Time Vol 2: Here I Go)
Quite appropriate as I sit here all snuggled up with my heater on (a rare and cozy joy for us Southern Californians).

1) How to sign BLANKET:
Pretend to hold a blanket (picture the sign for the letter A) in your dominant hand (which is your right if you're right handed, left if you're a lefty), and slide it up your other arm all the way up to your shoulder.  It's like you're drawing your blanket up and around you.

2) Watch Rachel sign BLANKET & print the flashcard here.

3) Signing Activities: Birth-Toddlers

Peekaboo Variations:
-Grab a blanket (something big and lightweight like these Aden+Anais swaddlers works great), and toss it over your head.  Then let little one pull it off.  "Good job, you found Mommy under the BLANKET!"
-Hold the top of a blanket and let it hang like a wall between you and baby.  Bring it down slowly, then quickly, then hurry and lift it up again!  Laugh together as your play and peer from around the blanket.  "Wheeeere's Mommy?  Behind the blanket!  Peekaboo!  I see you!"  

Blanket Exploration: 
-Grab a blanket, and show it to your little one (again, love those Aden+Anais swaddlers)
-Say and Sign BLANKET
(Notice how you're more intentional with how you're saying and repeating "blanket?"  This repetition, emphasis, and your enunciation will play a large role in your little one's language development and vocabulary.)
-Let little one feel the blanket.
-Put your hand under the blanket and pretend it's "alive" by tickling your baby with it.
-Use Creative Talk as you explore, while continuing to sign BLANKET each time you say it whenever possible.  Vocalize the discoveries your little one makes as you explore together.

Here is an excerpt about Creative Talk that was taken from the "Baby Signing Time Talk Sign & Read Parent Guide." (Families receive this handbook free in my class!)

Creative Talk | How to do it:
1. Use your child’s name.
2. Show your child an object he is interested in (a toy, an apple, a pet).
3. Ask questions and talk about the object.  **Remember that these questions will most likely be entirely rhetorical.  You're just exposing your little one to this kind of language. :)  Give pauses after your questions as you would in a normal conversation to model this kind of interaction.**
4. Invite your child to explore the object using the five senses whenever possible.
5. Emphasize key words with your voice, facial expressions, body language, and signs/gestures.
6. Support learning by offering either-or choices: “Is this ball red or blue?” **Again, this is great to do even though your eight month old will have no idea! :) **

touch | Your blanket is soft, isn’t it? It feels so good!
sight | What colors are on your blanket? This color is blue.
sight | Can you find another part that is blue? Yes, this is blue, too!
smell | Your blanket just came out of the dryer. Let’s smell it. Mmm. It smells clean.
sound | What’s that under your blanket? A rattle! Let’s shake it. Can you hear it?
creativity | How can we make a house with this blanket?  What else can we make?

4) Signing Activity: Toddler-Preschooler

Build a Fort:
-Say and Sign BLANKET as you play (you can even sign and call this your BLANKET HOUSE)
-Talk about the blankets using Creative Talk (see above)  More examples: What happens when we pull the BLANKET like this? (cause and effect)  What does being in this fort remind you of?  Is it darker or lighter under here?
-Incorporate signs for COLORS as you play.
-Have a snack or read a book in your fort.  Bring a flashlight in as it gets darker and have fun with making shadows.

Imaginative Play:
-Engage with your little one in pretend play with a doll or stuffed animal.
-Is teddy bear sleepy?  Which BLANKET do you think the teddy bear would like?
-Which BLANKET is your little one's favorite?  Ask, "Why?"  (Give an either or choice)
-Talk about the purposes a blanket has--to keep us warm, to bring us comfort, etc.  **Again, it's great to expose your little one to this kind of dialog, even when (s)he doesn't know what to say!**

Happy signing!

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