Water Play is the Easy Way!

Children and water, it’s just a natural fit. Summer has ended and I’m thinking about how much the kids enjoyed various water play activities from filling up the water table, playing on the slip n’ slide, turning on the sprinkler, going to the pool, and splashing around at our favorite theme park, Legoland CA a bunch of times. It might be the sole reason we enjoy summer so much, well, that and the fact that there’s no homework to monitor.

Water is one of those signs that I encourage parents to add to their signing vocabulary early because it offers plenty of natural contexts to repeat and reinforce the sign. Just think for a moment all the points in the day that you or your child interacts with water. It’s quite a bit when you think about cooking, cleaning, drinking, washing hands, taking a bath or shower, then add in the summer fun activities and you’ve doubled your child’s exposure to the sign for water in context.

I’m going to ask you to run a mock scientific experiment in your mind’s eye, with the example of signing WATER in specific contexts.

Baby A is being shown the sign for WATER each time she drinks from a sippy cup.

Baby B is being shown the sign for WATER each time the faucet is turned on or a pitcher filled up or hands being washed or bath being drawn PLUS every time baby splashes, or goes to the pool, or plays in water in general.

Will Baby A or Baby B pick up the sign faster? The answer is easy. Baby B would certainly be the one inclined to begin signing WATER faster given everything else is equal.

Having fun is something we can easily forget as new parents, there certainly is plenty to do and care for and the rollercoaster ride of adding a family member can keep our mind pretty occupied. When kids are busy playing, they are having fun, but more importantly when kids are busy playing, they are also busy learning!

What signs do you have the most fun with in communicating with your baby?

Published on: October 04, 2011
About the Author
Photo of Joann Woolley

Joann Woolley is a Master Level Instructor in the Signing Time Academy. ASL is her first language (her mother is deaf) and her first sign was MILK. Both her fluency in ASL and understanding of ASL culture provide an insight to the language that opens the eyes of her students.

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