While my children are very little it seems they can be easily amazed by the same things again year after year as the fall season brings exciting adventures with it. A number of family fall activities have become traditions that once were novelties, and both bring about a sense of joy and connection. Those fuzzy warm feelings have provided the perfect setting for signing opportunities. One of our favorites has been taking the kids to Julian, CA to go apple picking.
I remember quite clearly the first time we took my daughter who had just turned 2 years old and son who was just about 6 months old to go apple picking. Walking down rows of trees that bore a fruit she was quite familiar with was all a novelty to her. First she was pointing out the apples on the ground, and then I lifted her up to a branch with an apple ripe for the picking. She reached right out for it and harvested her very first apple. At that age they still put things in their mouth without much warning, especially if that item is food. We broke the rules and let her eat the apple right then and there; luckily this orchard is certified organic. At this age she was saying apple with great ease, but I wanted to see if she remembered the sign for APPLE, which she did! After apple picking we went to the Apple Days Festival where kids could dance, ride a tractor, bounce in a jumpy house and feast on apple treats. We next ventured into town to grab a slice of warm apple pie! One of the best parts about this playgroup excursion was watching them all experience a bench swing and tossing leaves up in the air over and over again. Two more great signing opportunities: SWING and LEAVES. Mom’s Pies Etc had given our family the perfect way to end the apple picking day. This past weekend the boys had their very first experience of picking apples at the very same orchard. It will certainly be an activity we look forward to again for years to come.
We’d missed the apple season a couple of years in a row, having 3 kids and planning an hour long drive up a windy highway can be fairly daunting. Leading up to this recent visit, my daughter retold parts of the story that I’ve just shared with you here. She literally had just turned two when we had been the last time, and now at six years old she could remember. I credit this to teaching her sign language. Memories are formed when children have language to articulate and store those memories. Sign language probably more so because it is then a visual imprint on the mind of their experience.
Does your family have a favorite fall activity? Have you created a signing opportunity out of seasonal activities or family traditions? Share them by leaving a comment below.