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Sign Language Reasoning

Book: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Science Activities for Children 3 to 6
Center:

Science/Discovery/Nature

Topic:

Letters/Sounds/Words

Content:

Science

Area:

Fine Motor

Age:

3 through 4 Years Old

Interaction:

Individual Child

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Materials:

Sign language book with clear illustrations or videotape of sign language demonstration
Note: If possible, consult with someone who is fluent in sign language.



Instructions:

1. In advance, select and practice simple signs that are easily related to the object or action
they represent. Suggestions include signs for eat, stand, girl, boy, love, butterfly, soup, bowl,
cup, drink, dance, fall, sit, swing, hat, coat, smile, tears, cry, hug, smell, hear, look, house,
telephone, baseball, ball, time, toothbrush, horse, dog, cat and caterpillar.
2. Introduce the children to the concept of sign language. Explain that sign language is used by
people who cannot hear and that it is entirely a visual language. Point out that hearing
people learn sign language to communicate with non-hearing people, but they can also use
sign language as a kind of secret code with friends who understand it or to communicate
across a crowded room or while eating.
3. Demonstrate a few simple signs and ask children if they can guess why these signs were
created to represent the spoken word. For example, ask them if they can see the movement
of a butterfly in the fluttering of your hands as you sign it.
4. Now play a game to see if the children can guess the meaning of other signed words. This
could be played like charades, but instead of pointing at the first child to correctly identify the
sign, simply acknowledge that you heard the correct word and repeat it.
More to do
More science: Continue teaching signs as you do things throughout the day. Say, "You sign that
this way. Can you guess why?" * Teach children to sign their names using signs for letters of the
alphabet.

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