Have you seen any of this Signing Time with Alex and Leah stuff? It is a huge gigantic hit at my house. I'd never heard of it, but when I went on a trip back in June, I needed something for Edward to watch on the hotel TV in the morning while I was getting ready, and I turned it to old reliable PBS, and this show was on--and pretty soon I wasn't getting ready anymore, I was watching the TV with Edward.
I don't know what it is about this show, but it's so mesmerizing, and its characters so likable, that our entire family is now learning sign language signs. Elizabeth has a speech/articulation delay, and the signs have saved us from several difficult situations already. She doesn't say the "ck" sound in words (she can say it separately), nor does she say the "r" sound correctly, so a word like crackers comes out more like "ah-ahs." She was working up to a blue fit over it until she learned to knock on her elbow while saying "ah-ahs": now we understand her immediately.
But that's not really the main reason we're learning it. The main reason we're learning it is that it's fun. Paul and I once tried to learn sign language (long ago, before we had kids), but we got so bored, and we didn't retain the signs very well. This show is different, and we find we remember most of what we learn. Well, especially because the kids want to watch the DVDs a billion times.
The show isn't on all the PBS channels yet, but the Signing Time site has a link you can click to see if it's in your area. You can also order the DVDs, either on the Signing Time site or on Amazon.com. BE AWARE: the first three DVDs have been re-released to match the later DVDs, so make sure you get the "revised edition."
My mom has a set of the flash cards and she says they're GREAT: glossy and wonderful and easy to use. Our library has three of the board books and they're great too: large for board books. I like the DVDs best, though, because I think the show is magic (um, not to oversell it or anything). The books and flash cards are good for reviewing what you've learned on the show.
Edited to add: the show/cards/books all use ASL (American Sign Language). Many "baby sign" programs use made-up signs and aren't intended for use after the child is talking competently; the Signing Time stuff teaches real ASL, the kind a deaf person would actually use. Children can talk baby talk in sign language just as they do in spoken language, but the show teaches the real signs and then shows a bunch of kids and adults doing the sign various ways, from a babyish version to a kid version to a grown-up/master version.
Also, the show teaches mostly individual words, not sentences.
Shopping ideas for summer fun - Normally this time of year I’m buying a batch of Summer Survival Gear Treats. I like to buy a new CD for the driving back and forth to lessons and camp; a ...