HANDmade Father’s Day Craft Ideas! + Learn the #ASL sign for DADDY!

We at My Smart Hands love HANDS, clearly! And with Father’s Day coming up, we thought we would share some great Father’s Day craft idea’s we stumbled upon on Pinterest. If you are looking for something to make, we hope that these will give you some great idea’s to get crafty, and make something HANDmade!

1. King Of The Grill

2. Hooked On Daddy

3. Ten Little Fingers

4. Hands Down, Best Dad

5. Daddy’s Girls

And of course, last but not least, don’t forget to teach them the sign for DADDY!

Happy Father’s Day to all the incredible Dad’s out there!

Be Safe This Summer – Don’t Let Drowning Happen!

With the summer months upon us, and pools opening everywhere, we thought it would be a good time to talk about a very important topic – drowning. It’s something no parent wants to think about, but it can happen faster than you could ever imagine.

Two summers ago I was at a pool party with a group of parent friends and their children. After getting my own child dressed I came out of the house to hear someone hollering to call 911, and my instinct was to leave my child with another adult and make a run for it. A 3 year old girl had slipped in the pool after her mother had turned her back for a matter of seconds to put something away in their beach bag. No one saw her slip in, and there were people everyone, including in the pool. Luckily someone spotted her and she was pulled out, but blue and not breathing. Between three of us we got her breathing again, and the paramedics cleared her and everything was okay. Had another minute passed without being noticed, it may have not been as lucky an outcome.

Drowning is Silent – What many people don’t know is that drowning is silent. There is very rarely any noise involved with it at all. No splashing or shouting.

Time is Crucial – If your child goes missing, and you are around water, look there first! Timing is everything!

Secondary Drowning – If your child does have a near drowning experience, it’s still very important to have them checked out. Secondary Drowning is something many people have never heard about, including this mother who blogged about her recent experience with it.

When having your child around water, wether it be the beach or a pool, never take your eyes off of them. For younger children, having flotation devices on them at all times can help add that extra step in safety. For toddlers, they should always be at arms length in the water. Talk with your older children about pool safety as well, remind them that they should never enter the water without a parent present. Taking these extra steps can help save a life.

We hope that everyone has a wonderful summer, with lots of time spend cooling off in the water, and we hope that this post is a good reminder to stay SAFE.

Karen Hewko
My Smart Hands Hamilton

Cool Product Alert! ASL ‘I Love You’ hand teething toy!

When my son just started teething I hit the web to find somewhere to order a wooden teething toy similar to what I had seen friends use for their babies. I loved the idea of something more natural in his hands and mouth over something plastic. To my delight I was able to find this awesome ‘I Love You’ ASL hand-shape wooden teether on Etsy! Just the other day I came across it again and thought I’d share!

If you are looking for a great teething product, I recommend checking them out! We loved it!

Karen Hewko
My Smart Hands Hamilton

Photo Credit: Little Sapling Toys Etsy Page. Click the photo to be taken to the listing!

Signing Stories: An Update on a previous story!

We really do love hearing your signing stories, and we are so excited to share this update from Mom Jessica, and baby Madelene who we featured on the blog back in September! It’s so great to see the progress of babies and their signing. Thank you so much for sharing Jessica!

Hello again,

Just wanted to share an update on little Madelene who you featured on the MSH blog back in September.
I am happy to share this video with you and the rest of My Smart Hands. Thanks for your interest in our progress! Madelene (who will be 18 months in a few days) loves Laura’s ABC song and it has helped her recognize some of her letters already. Signing, in general, has done so much for us and for her. Lately, signing has even helped her learn several colors. It’s fun seeing her progress. She was just a day shy of a year old when she was first on your blog and knew about 8 signs. At almost 18 months now she has been taking in signs very quickly and uses about 70 different signs. As she’s starting to talk more, I’ve noticed that I show her fewer signs for things but I’m trying to routinely give her more signs because it’s just fun!  
Thank you!


I LOVE YOU hand Valentine’s Day Craft

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and we have a fun craft you can do with your toddler while teaching them the sign for ‘I Love You’.

ASL I Love You Valentines Day Craft

What you’ll need:
-Red craft paper
-Glue Stick

What do do:
-Trace your child’s hand on the craft paper, and cut out around the fingers. (Or you can cut out hand shapes as shown here).
-Have your child decorate the hand with drawings or stickers
-Glue down both the Middle and Ring fingers to form the ‘I Love You’ hand shape.
-Help them address the Valentine to whomever they’d like to give it to!

Fun Fact: Did you know, the ‘I Love You’ sign is made using the ‘I’, ‘L’ and the ‘Y’ ASL alphabet signs?

Have fun!!

Signing Stories: Extra love for Daddy!

We love hearing your Signing Stories, and this one brought a tear to my eye! If you have a signing story to share, please send it to rcdirector(at) and you could be featured!

My daughter Bailey did her first sign, ‘milk’, at 7.5 months old. We had been working on that, along with Mommy, Daddy and eat. By 9 months she didn’t show much interested in the other signs at all, or so we thought! Her Daddy often goes away on business, and had a flight cancellation the last time he left. I had Bailey sitting beside me playing with her toys happily when I placed a video call to chat with him. As soon as she heard his voice she looked right at him and started signing ‘Daddy’ and saying ‘Dada’ with a huge smile on her face! It was the first time we even saw her attempt it. Daddy was so moved he actually had tears in his eyes! Thank you so much My Smart Hands for your great videos and encouraging us to sign with our daughter!

Thank you so much for sharing Clara!!

Signing Stories: Grandfather learns signs to communicate with granddaughter!

We love hearing Signing Stories, and recently had one of our instructors, Melody from Calgary, share this with us. Heartwarming!

I have a little story to share that is just so amazing!! A few years back
when I started teaching for MSH, I had a man contact me who was interested
in learning ASL. He had a granddaughter (in Toronto!!) who was having some
developmental delays. His son and daughter-in-law had begun signing with
her and when he went to visit, he wanted to be prepared to communicate
with his new granddaughter. Amazing, right? He wasn’t even living in the
same city!! What a great Granddad! Well I often wondered what happened
after he finished both my Level 1 and Level 2 classes…I just got an
email and with his permission I would like to share:

Hi Melody,

I moved to Toronto last December near my son’s house.  I hope your signing
classes are still running and going well.  My older granddaughter is five
now but still has very little fine motor control so a lot of her signs
look much the same. But her parents and the teachers at her school are
using picture cards a lot now – she has good understanding and will
usually point clearly at one card if there are not more than three
choices, sometimes four.

This is supplemented with yes-no questions which she answers by pointing
to “yes” and “no” cards since she can’t sign yes or no or even nod or
shake her head clearly. This gets like the old parlour game of “Twenty
Questions” but her Mom especially is getting good at zeroing in on what’s
wrong or what she wants to do. But she does still use signing and has
correctly notified her Mom the last three times she had a bladder
infection, by signing “hurt” and pointing.  We keep signing to her to help
her with understanding her classmates – deaf or non-verbal – who are
signing to her.

My younger granddaughter is a “typical” child and has taken to signing
like a duck to water – starting when she was six months old. She’s 15
months old now and we find ourselves having little conversations with her
– e.g. playing with Granddad in the backyard; Mom comes out on the deck:
She signs “eat”.  Granddad: no, it’s not time for lunch yet. She signs
“banana” Mom: no, you had a banana for breakfast.  Etc.

Both the girls also sign to each other and seem to interpret better than
the adults.  One will make a sign then they will both hoot and laugh but
the adult didn’t get the joke. Also both at one time or another have
alerted her parents that her sister has a problem they hadn’t noticed.

Thanks for my great start to baby-signing and I can verify with my
grand-kids it is bringing all the advantages My Smart Hands claims for it
and it’s made my older granddaughter’s hard wee life a whole lot easier
for her and us.

WOW!! I literally had tears while reading this!

Thank you so much for sharing Melody! What an amazing story, and Grandfather!