I’m an animated speaker. If you tied my hands, I’d probably be tongue-tied. It’s not a nerves thing. It’s a West Indian thing. Although even my Trinidadian friends tease about my hand-talking. When my kids were born I used my hands when speaking to them. I didn’t attend a formal baby sign course, I just used what felt natural to me. I thought it would help me and my babies understand each other better. Baby sign is the act of using ‘sign language with a hearing child enable to communicate before they can talk’. While they didn’t use their hands, they responded by nodding or shaking their head when they could do so. Naturally, I was delighted to try Child’s Play baby sign board-books and cards. I thought it would be fun for us to learn together. My children and I trialled Big Day Out (First Time series) along with matching sign cards (Set to Sign series) and Getting Ready (Sign About series)
I began my trial with Valentina because she’s the youngest. She has very good language skills but she’s still learning to speak. I thought she would enjoy it and she did! First I read the picture board book Big Day Out. It was perfect for her age. Big Day Out is beautifully illustrated board-book. The characters are not much older than her and they are racially diverse. The story is told using simple short sentences. It’s more about the images than the text. Valentina could relate to the story. She even understood why the main character was distressed at one point, without me telling her. It just goes to show what good illustration can do for a book. After reading the book I picked out four cards from the coordinating Set to Sign pack and we practised the signs. We also tried a few from the Getting Ready board-book. The book shows little children of different races making signs for simple words from a child’s life such as ‘nappy’ ‘awake’ ‘brushing’ etc Both the book and the cards gave clear directions how to make the signs. We tried eight signs in total during our morning story time. She remembered three and was able to demonstrate to her dad around 6 pm later on the day.
A few days later I trialled Big Day Out Set to Sign cards with Angelo. At first he thought it was a game. He wanted to stockpile the cards as we went through them. He’s in the phase of wanting to collect things. However, he also enjoyed practising sign. I explained it was like talking with hands like Mr. Tumble (the Cbeebies character). I tried about eight signs with him. He remembered about four. In time we can make a game of it, using the cards on our own days out. They can be used with the board-book Big Day Out or on its own. The signs are every day words such as ‘amazed’ ‘cutlery’ ‘delicious’ ‘crying’ ‘choose’ and so on.
Recently, I went through a few night time signs from Getting Ready Both children are under the age of five years. They are unable to recreate the signs to perfection. Their finger dexterity and hand coordination have not fully developed. However, signing is a fun new learning activity for them. We have not completed all the signs. We are talking it one day at a time, at ten minutes intervals. I’m sure with time it will help them with major and minor motor skills, as well as give them an added skill. I would certainly recommend the Sign About and Set to Sign range for little ones. They use British Sing Language. I’d say they are suitable up to age six. After six children would be inclined to think it’s for a baby/toddler, if a baby or toddler is on the cover. Sign About board-books start at £3.99 and the Set to Sign start at 5.99 for a pack of 32 cards. They can be bought on the Child’s Play website. Sometimes their are online sales. It’s definitely worth checking out. From what I saw at the London Book Fair, Child’s Play books and toys are well made and durable. You get value for your money. Why not check out my review of Off To The Park, a sensory board-book published by Child’s Play
Please note: This is not a sponsored post, although I received the products from the publisher for a free trial for the purpose of this review. They do not exercise any editorial control over my review or anything else on this site.