For those of us in the north, to say it’s been cold the last few days is an understatement! Here is a great hack I learned from a daycare teacher to help keep your kids’ wrists warm this winter season! It’s such a simple thing, I can’t believe I haven’t seen it before. My son loves it!
Do you have any special tricks to stay extra warm?
Tis the season for family, friends, celebrations and CRAFTING! We all love keepsakes that remind us of just how small our little ones were, and homemade keepsakes are always the best! Here are some great idea’s for Christmas crafts using your child’s HANDS!
My Smart Hands Saskatoon is a program that teaches parents how to communicate with their children by using American Sign Language (ASL) signs. Our classes use ASL signs, as the research studies indicate that using a true language has more benefits that making up signs or gestures. We also, believe that ASL is a true language, and why not borrow this language’s signs to communicate with your child? Technically, you are teaching two languages. How neat is that?
Each week in our classes we cover a new and exciting theme! One of my favorite themes is ‘toys and objects’ as this week we play, explore and play some more. However, in all of the weeks, parents and children will be introduced to child development activities. Whole child development is very important, and is a key focus in our baby sign classes.
The whole child activities that we include in our classes focus on: physical, intellectual, social, emotional and language development. Here are some examples of how we promote child development and whole child wellness while maintaining the premise of ASL signs.
Physical (fine and gross motor skills)
In our ‘opposite’ theme we will bring out sensory boards and bins. These boards help children explore their world through various textile items. Parents are encouraged to sign, ‘touch’, ‘feel’, ‘look’, ‘rough’, ‘soft’ and much more.
Gross motor skills:
In our “animal” theme we will be going to the zoo and move as animals. This song and activity is a wonderful way for parents and their babies to move around the room, dance together, act like specific animals, and sign to the sounds each animal makes! Movement and music do promote a special bond.
A child’s social skills are being strengthened and encouraged in our classes. My Smart Hands Saskatoon, has small class sizes which are between 3 to 6 families. We keep our classes small, to ensure families get to know one another and their children recognize familiar faces each week.
All the parents and their children are welcomed to sit together on a shared foam square. Toys and easy to sign books are places in the middle to encourage play and exploration while parents are sharing their stories, asking questions and learning signs to be used in the following activity. We experience many first in our classes- first time a child signs, first crawl, first roll over and even have had our first steps!
Babies and toddlers are learning about their emotions and are not able to self-regulate. However, in our classes, we often discuss ways to help a child learn to self-regulate. This is done though song, movement and bouncing activities. Parents will also learn various ‘emotion’ signs during our last week together! We sign and sing, “If You are Happy and Know it” as well as “Happy Face Happy Face What Do You See?”.
Intellectual (Cognitive) Development:
Using ASL signs strengths and connects neurological brain connection. This means the activities that we use in our classes, increases and promotes intellectual/cognitive development.
An example of an activity is our ‘shake’ bottles. These bottles are often filled with water, sparkles, soap and water. Together, the parent and their child, shake the bottle and watch the changes. The specific brain development concept that is being learn is called, cause and effect. This activity is completed in our “toy/object” theme.
One main reason we keep our class sizes small, is that the children are able to socialize with the other children. Various child activities, promote social skill development such as movement and music. We sign and sing a version of “open shut them”, when children need to move about, which includes the sign “stop” for the English word freeze. All the parents and children have to “stop” until the music starts again. This song is teaching the social development skill of turn taking!
In short, language development is occurring during all of our baby sign language classes. Research indicates that a child needs to hear a word 200 times before verbally saying the word.
In all of our baby sign language classes, we are promoting the use of two languages! These are our verbal English and American Sign Language signs. Children are able to comprehend a single work though both auditory and visional learning. We never replace our verbal English, rather we support language development though using ASL signs
Please join us for a baby sign language class, and learn many more ways to promote whole child development!
Looking for a fun game for your pre-reader? You’ll find your little one will love to play charades by trying to act out what’s on the pictures. It’s a fun game that encourages kids to use their imaginations! Watch as Fireese and Hartford teach you how to play charades!
We are excited to announce that our new signing DVD is now available for sale! It’s been a long, fun project in the making. Fireese and I had a blast working on this video project together. It’s been such an amazing experience seeing Fireese grow up into a very smart little girl from a cute signing baby. She has grown with my company and one of her favorite things to do is help me teach babies how to sign. Now in this new DVD Fireese is the star of the show, teaching me (mom) and your child how to sign key words in fun and engaging songs! To read more about the DVD please click on the ‘buy now’ button below.
Here is an example of a video you can find on the DVD:
Enter the wonderful world of ASL in this super entertaining video. My Smart Hands has created this DVD to teach young hearing children the beauty of American Sign Language. Kids around the globe will enjoy this mother/daughter take on learning ASL.
Developed by Baby Sign Language expert, Laura Berg and starring her daughter Fireese, this DVD was designed to be both captivating and educational for children. All five songs on the DVD teach key vocabulary words. You and your little one will learn to sign with friendly, seven year old Fireese and her mom.
Children will delight in learning key ASL signs from Fireese, a little kid just like them! Your child will be signing in a few short lessons and it won’t be long before they memorize the words to all five songs on the DVD.
Join us in this fun ASL journey and teach your child lifelong signing skills he or she won’t forget.
So often are we asked to pack a clean set of clothing for our children when they leave the house. Whether it be for school, an outing with friends, or summer camp it’s required. Now think to yourself, how often have you sent them off with clean clothes, and had them return with messy, wet and sometimes dirty clothing that wasn’t even used? Just from being tossed around in their backpack with everything else? Watch the below video for a great tip on how to keep those spare clothes clean and dry!
Do you remember those school albums your parents used to have, the ones where each year they put in all your information, dreams, pictures and only our BEST art projects? Do they even exist any more? In a digital age, things are definitely changing!
Depending on where you are, School is almost (or already) back in session! Browsing Pinterest we came across a ton of really fun ways to capture the excitement of Back To School in photos with your child and thought we would share. Do you do anything special for back to school?
I recently came across this great article spreading over Social Media on why a woman took her daughter to a Tattoo Shop to have her ears pierced, rather than taking her to the Mall or a Salon to have it done with a Piercing Gun. Not too long ago I took Fireese and did just that, getting mine done as well!
One of our Instructors, Karen from Hamilton, also works as a body piercer and explained that having them done in a Tattoo Shop with the proper equipment (a sterile hollow needle and jewellery) was a lot safer than having it done with a Piercing Gun which can’t actually be sterilized – who knew! Not only is it safer this way, but also less painful. This was definitely the route that we’d be taking!
While Tattoo Shops can seem imitating to some, finding the right one can make the experience a comfortable one. Karen explained the entire procedure as she went along, and opened all the sterile equipment right in front of us to see. Fireese was so brave and barely flinched. She was so happy with her newly pierced ears!
If you are looking to have your child’s ears pierced, I would highly recommend doing your research and going this route. Make sure to check out this article for more information on why making this choice is a good one!