Kate reading her Baby Signing Time flashcards at the San Antonio Botanical Garden last fall.
Join us at the San Antonio Botanical Garden on October 22nd!
Fall is finally here, which means the leaves are changing color and pumpkins are everywhere. One of our favorite places to be in autumn is the San Antonio Botanical Garden, so we’re planning a Lone Star Signers FIELD TRIP!
The new exhibit “BIG GARDEN Little Me” opens on October 3rd and we’ll also do a few laps around the East Texas Pineywoods “pond” and look at all the scarecrows. Bring your camera–there are a ton of great photo opportunities!
Pre-registration preferred, but drop-ins are also welcome! ($5/family) PLEASE NOTE that registering for the field trip does NOT cover your entry fee to the garden.
Congratulations–signing with your children is a GREAT decision! (See a great list of benefits here and here!) However, unless you grew up signing or you took American Sign Language classes in high school or college, it can be a tricky language to start learning.
Please note that Lone Star Signers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. I only recommend items that we have personally used and loved.
My favorite resource to start is the Baby Signing Time and Signing Time DVDs. I am a visual learner, so seeing the sign (versus reading a written description) is the best way for me to learn! You can check out these DVDs for free from your library or stream them digitally on your TV/tablet/phone with a monthly subscription to SigningTime.TV. (Tip: use the code sign99 at checkout to get your first month for just 99¢!)
Signing Time also sells books, flashcards, and posters on their website!
Another great resource for learning new signs is the Internet! We love to use lifeprint.com and signingsavvy.com to look up new signs. Signing Time has a great dictionary available on their website AND on their free app.
We would also love to have your family join us for weekly signing classes and extra events! Our focus at Lone Star Signers is on families with young children, birth-5 years old.
If you are looking for more advanced ASL resources for children older than age 5, stay tuned for the release of the NEW Signing Time Sentences coming later this fall! Several San Antonio area high schools and colleges also offer American Sign Language courses–I recommend you contact the department head for information about private lessons/tutoring.
Related: Signing Resources from the San Antonio Public Library and Signing Resources, Part 2
Please let me know how I can assist your family get started signing today!
Our family recently took a weekend trip to Houston–my husband had a singing competition, and I knew the girls and I would be spending a lot of time in our hotel room. (It was raining, the hotel was located in an industrial area surrounded by a construction zone, and we wanted to be available to spend time with our favorite tenor during his breaks–so we didn’t “day-trip” much on this getaway.)
Before we left, I packed a tote bag full of our (current) favorite Discovery Toys. Each item had to meet the following criteria:
- Open-ended, with multiple ways to play for both our preschooler and our 1st grader.
- Compact and easily contained.
- Easy to share.
There were times throughout the weekend when each girl needed to bring ONE activity with her down to the conference center (attached to the hotel) for one of the competition’s public shows. It was important to me that all loose pieces could quickly be picked up and moved to another location–something that my girls are already pretty good at!
Here’s what we brought:
(Note: I am a Discovery Toys Educational Consultant, so this post does include direct links to my online shop. Please let me know if you need specific recommendations; I’d love to help!)
Exact Change (all ages)
Exact Change combines an excellent teaching lesson with fun, fast paced action that the entire family will love. The goal is to play all of your cards first. You can discard cards by matching the color of the last card played, by matching the currency value (eg. play a penny on a penny), or by making EXACT CHANGE. Making exact change allows you to discard multiple cards that add up to the value of the last card played. For example, if the last card played shows a quarter, you can make exact change by playing two dimes and a nickel- allowing you to discard three cards in one play! (Our littlest girl matches the color or number without worrying about making change.)
Giant Pegboard & rubber band ball (19 months and up)
Side one features a pegboard for sorting, stacking, counting, and matching the 25 easy-to-grasp pegs of various sizes and colors; the flip side features a raised peg geoboard for creating geometric designs. Updated set includes 12 two-sided pattern cards, with activities for both sides of the board! (Both girls had a great time making designs and letters on the pegboard side all weekend long. Our colorful rubber bands (purchased separately) added an extra layer of patterning fun!)
It’s a Match! Deluxe Set (recommended for ages 3+)
Self-checking learning system designed exclusively for preschoolers. Snap the colored frames onto the answers, then pull down the tray to check the results. If the color of the frame and square are the same, it’s a match! (Our preschooler LOVES this one!)
Playful Patterns (recommended for ages 4+)
An early childhood pre-math and pre-reading learning center in an heirloom wooden box, made of durable eco-friendly materials. Logic and spatial thinking will blossom with the 132 wooden geometric shapes and 34 progressively challenging designs. Match the design cards or create your own open-ended patterns and images.
Box can double as self-contained work space. More activities included. Box and shapes made of beechwood and water-based paints. Labels and pattern cards printed with soy based inks. (We recently purchased this beautiful wooden set–our previous set contained foam pieces. I love all the discussion about colors and shapes that develops while doing this activity together. Plus, more than one child can build a design at the same time!)
Tac-Tiles (recommended for ages 3+)
Touch & guess: Is it a star, a submarine, a koala bear, or perhaps a guitar? Boost visual AND tactile skills, critical thinking and memory with this hands-on set of wood tile frames and matching shapes. This versatile set features 32 fun, familiar shapes, 32 matching tiles with the shape punched out, and a canvas draw-string bag. Have a blast identifying objects by touch alone, sorting by feature, or tracing. Play alone or with friends. (This incredible toy fits all of my trip criteria–it’s our go-to traveling activity!)
What toys do you like to take on a trip?