Expert Post: Signing Games for Multiples

It isn’t exactly a secret that both Lani and I sign with our kids. I wouldn’t have it any other way honestly, it has prevented so many potential tantrums and has just been a great way to bond. I’ve always been curious about how to translate what they learn through videos into a fun game. Misty of Baby Sign Language was kind enough to pass on these great games that we can play with our multiples using sign language.

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Two Baby Sign Language Games for Twins

Baby Signs Grab Bag

Think about the signs that you want to teach and find corresponding objects or pictures to place in a bag. (You might need a big bag.) Let’s say you are learning the signs for: banana, apple, book, dog, and ball. (If you are at a loss for ideas, consult a Baby Sign Language Dictionary for some new signs!) You will need two corresponding objects or pictures for each item. So you might be able to fit two bananas, two apples, two books, and two balls in the bag, but you will probably need to use two pictures of your dog. (We don’t want to teach your babies to put their doggie in a bag.) Pictures also come in handy when you are playing with signs like “cupcake” – Baby Signs Grab Bag just isn’t meant to be that messy. Anyway, put your objects into the bag, two by two, just like the ark. Then, ask one of your babies to pull an object out of the “magic sign bag.” When they pull out the banana, you ask them, “What is that?” Then you say, “It’s a banana!” and you make the sign for banana. Then ask your other baby to reach into the bag (you might want to let her peek) and try to find the other banana. Babies have fun just reaching into the bag, and always seem to find whatever they pull out to be a surprising delight, but the real trick is that you will be signing constantly. Depending on your babies’ age and experience with signing, they may be signing constantly as well! Even if very little successful signing goes on, this is a great interactive game to play with your twins. Not only do they have fun, but the game makes them think!

Baby Sign Language Flash Cards Matching Game

Go to Baby Sign Language Flash Cards and print out two flash cards of each of the signs you are learning. Depending on the age and signing abilities of your babies, you might want to play with two words, three words … I’ve played with as many as six words. Once you have printed out the flash cards, arrange them face up on the floor. Ask your babies, “Who can find the diapers?” and encourage them to find the flash card with the picture of diapers. When one of them finds the diapers, praise her like she’s just brought home straight A’s. Then encourage your other baby to find the other diapers flash card. Of course, the whole time, you are signing to your babies, each and every time you say the word “diaper.” Eventually, they will sign with you as you play. One of my friends made the wise choice to laminate her flash cards, so she didn’t have to print them out multiple times like I did. A variation of this game that you can play with older, more advanced signers, is to turn the flash cards upside down and play a memory game.

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Don’t those games sound fun? Which one are you going to try first?
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5 comments

  1. Marcia (123 blog)

    The grab bag, of course. Grabbing is huge fun at the moment, esp for the boy 🙂

    I LOVE baby sign language – gosh, it just makes it so much fun communicating with the babies.

    My hubby said to me yesterday, "what's going to happen when they're with other people who don't know what they're doing?" I said, "I don't care – it's for US to bond with our kids" LOL

  2. We'll be doing the grab bag game as well, as long as my kids don't decide to eat the objects.

    Signing is so important in our house because the girls have an aunt who is deaf. We've been signing with them since they were born. We've seen a little sign explosion lately. It amazes me just how many signs they understand on top of the ones they use every day.

  3. MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs)

    I'm a big proponent of baby sign language, but I have a question about the evolution of it as children grow older. At 21 months, our girls are saying the majority of the words that they can sign. We use sign language to play games (especially great for waiting in the doctor's office, for example), but it no longer seems like the critical tool it once was.

    I would love to hear others' experiences with older children…should we continue to focus on new signs (maybe more abstract concepts, like "share", "help", "sad")? Or when did you find you stopped signing?

    Thanks!

  4. MandyE- We still love signing and we are almost three. The girls LOVE looking up new words. It has slowed down a bit, but now they are interested in learning spanish too. It's fun they will tell me, "This is how you say Red in English, This is how you say Red (rojo) in Spanish and this is how you say Red (pointer finger from the lips pulled down to the chin) in Sign!" They are so proud of themselves!

  5. I never thought about playing games with signs … thanks for the ideas! My kids are almost 2 and have a good grasp on lots of signs, so since I would like the kids to be bilingual, I am starting to use this as a base to teach them the words in Spanish (kind of like the commenter above). It helps that I can set their signing DVDs to "Spanish"!

    Keep up with me, Ted, and our Fab Four at four-by-two.blogspot.com

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