Baby Sign Language Games and Activities

Baby Sign Language is fun! Especially when we make a game (or two) of it! If we don’t laugh a little, we’d go insane! Here are some games that my children and I have test driven for you.

Sign and Sing

I’m the first to admit that I am kind of a dork and my favorite way to teach signs was to sing them to my children. I would make up completely ridiculous songs with equally ridiculous tunes and I would sing them, signing as I sang. I truly believe that the “dirty diaper song” taught my son to ask for a new diaper. And remember, you never have to do this one in public! (Unless you want to!)

Hide, Sign, and Seek

Babies love to play peek-a-boo, right? Why not incorporate some signs? I used to “hide” a banana under my daughter’s blanket and ask, “Where’s the banana?” while making the sign for banana. Then I would reveal the banana, much to her delight. And you could do this with just about anything that fits under a blanket: shoe, blanket, hat, ball …

Grab Bag

I used to fill a shopping bag with objects that corresponded to signs we were learning: diaper, banana, crackers, dog (a plastic toy dog – not a real one), ball, book, shoe … you get the drift. I would shake the bag, make a big production of it, and say, “What’s in this bag?” Then I would pull something out and act crazy-excited and say, “Wow! A shoe! Awesome, I found a shoe! Who put that shoe in there? Did you put your shoe in the bag? Silly boy!” Of course, every time I made the sign for shoe, I would say the word. It might sound silly, but my son thought it was hilarious, and never tired of it. I would always quit before he wanted me to, which would prompt him to use his sign for “more.”

Vegetable Collage!

This one is a bit labor intensive, but you get a final product that you can keep in your baby book forever! I did this activity with my daughter when she was about 19 months old. While we learned the sign for vegetable, I printed out a picture of a woman making the sign from Baby Sign Language Dictionary for vegtable . Using a glue stick, my daughter and I glued the diagram to a large piece of paper. Then we got out some old magazines and started hunting. I let her spot pictures of vegetables and resisted the urge to point one out when she missed it. When she did find a picture of a vegetable, I would cut it out and then let her help me glue it to the page. The whole time I kept saying the word vegetable and making the sign. She lost interest before the page was full, but was very excited to finish the project the next day. We hung the finished collage on the refrigerator. I like to think that this project helped her learn to like vegetables, but you could make a collage out of many different signs. If you have dog magazines, use them to teach the sign for dog! You could even use the inserts of the Sunday paper and make a collage for diaper! (Just don’t get glue on any valuable coupons!)

Karla Urwitz
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7 thoughts on “Baby Sign Language Games and Activities

  1. Thanks for sharing and I am a Certified Instructor with Baby Signs Program and I will share this with my moms who take my classes. 🙂
    I agree! It is so important to make signing fun when you are signing with your baby. Also individualize your signs and choose signs that your baby needs help saying, keep him or her safe and that you can incorporate in your daily routines with baby.

  2. Hi Karla,
    This is such a wonderful idea to be able to communicate through sign language with babies. Absolutely love it. My kids are older now but will definitely be using this for my grandbabies someday 😉
    All the best,
    Eren Mckay´s last blog post ..Monkey Baby Shower Favors

  3. There wasn’t a lot of information available about signing when my kids were young. My oldest spoke early, but it would have been really helpful for my youngest.

    I have some friends who love using signing with their babies. Thanks for the tips.
    Debbie Lattuga´s last blog post ..What is Your Business Avatar

  4. Those are definitely some great games! I’m starting a Sign Language class for parents and their children ages 6 months – 3yrs. but I feel stumped on some things. Such as games and other things to do during the class to reinforce the signs. Also, which first 50 signs I should teach????? Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!

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