Monday, April 1, 2019

A is for ASL

Welcome to my first post of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge for 2019! The A to Z Challenge is a blogging event held each April. Bloggers create posts from A to Z beginning on April 1st and ending on April 30th. There is a post scheduled for each day of the month (except for Sundays) with each day corresponding to a sequential letter of the alphabet.

I like having a theme for my challenge, and this year is no different. I'll be blogging from A to Z about different toddler activities. With two little boys running around our house, I need some ideas to keep their little hands and minds busy. We like variation around here, so finding new ways to play is always great. Hopefully, you can find some things along the way as well.

Before we get started...a little introduction for those of you who are new.

I'm Elle. My actual first name is Lynde, but no one can ever pronounce it correctly, so I have taken the first letter and used it as a moniker here on the blog and elsewhere for the last decade or so. I've blogged here for quite a while. The blog itself is a hodgepodge of topics, most recently focusing on books since my craft supplies are tucked away in boxes. We are in the midst of remodeling the house and I have yet to unpack things in a way that makes them readily useful.

I live on a small farmstead in northern Minnesota with my little family, consisting of myself, the Farmer, the Boy, and the Baby. The Boy recently turned 2 and the Baby is a bit over 9 months. We raise Belted Galloway beef cattle (Oreo cows) and Berkshire hogs (black pigs with white on their snouts, feet, and tails).

I spend my days at home with the boys since I retired from my actual profession a few years back due to an autoimmune disability. I can still function fairly well, but lack the hand strength and fine motor coordination needed to keep practicing as a dentist.

So now I'm Mama full-time and keeping these two entertained can make for a busy day. I'm always happy when I come across an activity that is fun and different and that can keep the attention of the Boy for longer than 5 minutes. So...I'm hoping that some of the ones I'm sharing over the next month will be just as helpful for some of you.

Now...let's get started!

Today, we're starting with the letter A. A is for ASL. ASL is American Sign Language. Communicating with a toddler is always challenging since they tend to have their own little language somewhere between babble and actual speech. Introducing some basic hand signs makes life a bit easier. It can alleviate a few of those fun toddler tantrums. Plus, I actually find it quite fun to learn.

With the Boy, we've found help for our daily activities by introducing a sign or two. He primarily uses the signs for please, more, and all done. It's not anything big, but it still reduces the stress in our lives and helps him communicate better with us. Lately, we've been using a YouTube playlist that I created based on songs presented in ASL in order to add words to his repertoire. Some are instructional, some are just for fun. But he loves to watch their hands and dance to the music.

Right now, his favorite is The Rainbow Song by Signing Time. We really enjoy their upbeat music and there are some simple signs for him to use. Since he is also really into colors right now, it grabs his attention quickly.

Though we initially learn these songs and activities on the television, it doesn't stop there. I'll sing him the songs while we're getting dressed, or in the bathtub, or driving somewhere. Sometimes we do them without the signs, but I try to sign as much of the wording as I can for him. The repetition helps. He doesn't mimic a lot right now, but he has started to move his hands along with the music. I'm pretty encouraged that he will be picking up more signs soon. And he's picking up the words to the songs as well, so it's a double bonus!

We try and keep all of our learning for the boys very play based. They don't realize that it's work that way, they just have a good time. And it's always really fun to see them randomly produce an action or word or sound that they have learned from playing. There's a huge sense of pride in seeing your little one learn something new.

Are you an A to Z Blogger too? Leave me a comment so I can repay the visit.
Not an A to Z Blogger, but love the idea? Go here to see what other fun you can find in the challenge.


  1. I am also blogging in the A-Z. I look forward to activity ideas I can do with my 3 yr. old great-niece.

    1. Thanks for visiting! I hope you'll find some good ones!

  2. Hi I'm Lael. I do the Elle thing too :)
    Happy A-Zing!

    1. Thank you for visiting, Lael! Your name is beautiful!

  3. My babies are not toddlers anymore but I remember when we taught my son the signs for "more" and "all done" and it was life changing.

    Happy A-Z month!


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