Art and Signing
As a Master Signing Time Instructor, I find myself signing silly songs during circle time, introducing fun ASL vocabulary during story times, and encouraging everyone to practice their signs during our class game time. I love every second of it and truly believe that signing in a class environment is exceptionally beneficial for tots and their parents. But the classroom is really just the tip of the signing iceberg. As a mom, I find myself signing all day long and one of the most beneficial times that I find myself signing with my son is when we are exploring and creating art together.
I have been very intentional about creating space and time for my little ones to create art at home. Art is a fantastic way to tap into your little one's ideas, connect with their emotions, and focus all of that toddler energy. One of my favorite books, “Young at Art,” by Susan Striker, gives some great and useful tools to guide you and your child on the road to creating wonderful art together. When we create art at my house, I simply offer a medium, various tools, and let my little’s imagination run wild. As a result, art time at my house is typically messy, conceptual, and wild. I love it!!
So how does sign language fit into all of that? It’s simple, visual, and in your hands. So when you are painting blue or green or red, it’s easy to quickly show the sign without inhibiting creativity. But, what I love the most is when my little one is painting and he moves beyond signing his colors and starts signing what he is thinking or feeling. One of the first times I experienced this, my son had just mixed blue and yellow together on his paper and naturally the paint turned green. He laughed, looked at his paper, then looked at me said, “gween!” and signed frog. I said “Wow, you made green just like a frog!” He laughed, clapped, and said and signed “EXCITED!” So, yes; signing did, in fact, mean a little extra time in the wash room! Along with his hands being covered in paint, he had it underneath his chin and all over his shirt. But, hey, that’s why they make washable paints and memories are priceless!! J