How many of you have previously travelled with a baby, toddler or young child? How many of you have travelled with more than one child? With school holidays fast approaching, many families have already booked their holidays. Whether it’s a long or short journey, kids need to be entertained. Have you ever thought about using baby sign language to entertain your kids while travelling?
Over the past 6 months I have travelled both domestically and internationally and witnessed parents using different tactics to entertain their children while travelling. Some used portable dvd players, some had toys, some had books and some had timed the travel so it coincided with sleep time but no one seemed to be using baby sign language. So I thought I would use this opportunity to highlight how you can use baby sign language for a less stressful journey.
So why would you use baby sign language over any of the above methods mentioned? Baby sign language is a fun, educational interaction which when used while travelling can expose you to the many benefits of baby sign language.
One benefit which is great if you are travelling on public transport such as buses, planes and trains is how quiet but fun it can be. On all modes of transport you will have an assigned seat where you need to stay until you have reached your destination. The problem is getting a toddler or young child to sit still can be quite a task. So here are some ideas for making travel a more peaceful, stressful, fun experience for you and your child.
Use Your Surroundings:
When travelling, you can use both the surroundings inside as well as outside to have fun with using baby sign language. Using the signs, “where”, “yes” and “no”, you can sign “where” and add a sign after it for whatever it is you want your child to point to. For example Mum signs “Where’s teddy?”.
You would then encourage your child to point to the teddy and sign teddy and you could sign back “yes teddy” or “no” if they point at the wrong thing. When they get it right, you can use the signed round of applause sign which is having both hands bent at the elbow, hands at shoulder height, palms facing out and rotate your hands from side to side by moving your wrists. This is a great way to do a round of applause silently.
Your surroundings could include some of the following: “bird”, “blanket”, “book”, “drink”, “house”, “milk”, “music”, “rain”, “sun”, “water”, “toilet”, “brother”, “mum”, “dad”, “sister”, “aunt”, “uncle”, “car”, “dog” etc. These are just a sample of word from the Baby Hands book & dvd to get you started.
You can also build on this vocabulary to include signs such as “up, down, clouds, plane” if you are travelling on a plane. If travelling on a train or bus, you can include signs such as “tree”, “animal”, “fast”, “slow”, “stop”.
As well as reading with your baby to try and entertain them on your journey, playing baby sign language games is a great way to keep them entertained. Using the illustrations, you can play the “where is” game mentioned above.
The ABC signs can be really fun for kids of all ages. Using your alphabet book from home, sign a letter and then have your child find the letter in the book. Use the “applause” sign to celebrate with your child when they are correct. This is a great game to play with siblings as both older and younger kids love to sign and it will also help encourage sibling signing.
This game could go on for quite some time if you are to go through all letters of the alphabet. If your child is a little older, they can sign to you and you can find the letter.
Once you are finished with the alphabet, there are always numbers to play with. Use a book and ask “how many” of a particular item they see. You can count for them or with them and sign along as you say the numbers. You will be amazed at how fast they will pick it up.
Finally, you cannot forget your animals and colours. For colours, sign “where” and ask your child where a certain colour is on your shirt, his shirt or in the book. You could also point to colours around the airplane and encourage your child to sign the colour.
For animals, many books consist of stories about animals. Again, sign “where” and have the child find the page on which that animal can be found. All kids love animals and animal signs. Once you have found all the animals in a book, you could then try singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and add the animals in the book. Its great fun and your kids will love it!
Another option is to read with your baby while signing which is a really is a great way to help your child learn the signs and feel engaged in the story.
So next time you go travelling, why not try some of the baby sign language travel games mentioned above and let me know what success you had.
Happy Travel Signing!