Happy Earth Day! ASL and Activities

Signing Time: HAPPY

EARTH, as signed by Dr. Bill Vicars from lifeprint.com

EARTH, as signed by Dr. Bill Vicars from lifeprint.com

Signing Time: DAY

Happy Earth Day from Lone Star Signers!

We have been spending a lot of time outdoors this month: taking nature walks around our neighborhood, walking to and from the town library, and exploring the nearby lake. Both girls have been making daily entries in a nature journal (4-year-old draws a picture, 7-year-old draws a picture and writes a paragraph) and watching spring slowly blossom here in the Midwest.

Teaching our Children to Love the Earth from lonestarsigners.com

We are learning about local birds, trees, and flowers that share our space and participating in a Nature Pal Exchange with another family in Minnesota.

The girls and I look forward to our daily walks; we have a great opportunity for real conversation while looking for small changes in our natural environment. We’re also growing sunflowers in indoor pots, so the girls get to take ownership and learn about taking care of living things.

Of course, we’ll be doing a few fun activities to celebrate Earth Day (check out our Pinterest board), but I want my daughters to love the Earth every day!

And now, some of our favorite Earth-related resources (affiliate links, natch…thanks for supporting us!):

RTS-Extraordinary Earth

Explorer's Set 2

Kidnoculars

Happy Earth Day! ASL and Activities

Want to win a FREE digital copy of the Rachel & the Treeschoolers: Extraordinary Earth music album?*
Leave a comment below:

How are YOU celebrating Earth Day this year?

* Quick casual giveaway ends on 4/22/2016 at midnight (Central time).
Winner will be notified by e-mail.

April Tot School Unit: CAMPING

Every month on the 15th, we release a new pre-planned Tot School Unit for our friends who are either homeschooling their preschoolers or looking for fun, hands-on activities to supplement the preschool program that they love!

My own preschooler is a sensory-driven little girl who prefers inquiry-based learning and exploration over a curriculum with lots of printables, so you won’t find those around here. (If you are looking for amazing printables, check out The Moffatt Girls on teacherspayteachers.com. We love her!)

Camping-Themed Tot School Unit from lonestarsigners.com

We kicked off the camping unit with our own two girls this week by setting up our tent in the backyard, grilling hot dogs, and making s’mores. We talked about what camping together might be like and building anticipation for our “real” camping trip at a local campground later this spring. Once we were done with dinner, we packed the tent back up and went inside!

The next day, I had our camping books all set out for the girls to explore, and we whipped up a couple batches of homemade playdough. We used our leftover marshmallows for some building & fine-motor activities before spending the afternoon learning more about the birds building a nest in our backyard.

We have a whole month of fun planned–lots of active outdoor math, science, and literacy activities and several lessons about fire safety! If you’d like a copy of our PDF plans, including a list of recommended songs and books to round out the unit, you can

SIGN UP HERE.

And just for fun, enjoy a little mood music from The Okee Dokee Brothers. 🙂

Preschool at Home: Spring

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, so we are moving on to celebrating the arrival of spring! We’ve heard it’s already in the 90s in San Antonio, but here in Iowa…well, let’s just say that it snowed at our Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday morning. 🙂

Our adorable little town has a thing for tulips, so we’re starting to see them peek up  all around town, from the library to the main square! (We even have a few coming up in the flower bed in our front yard…)

Every day, we take a nature walk around our neighborhood to see what’s changing. The trees and shrubs are still mostly bare, but a few of our neighbors have small buds appearing on their trees. After experiencing our first real winter (and snow on March 19th!), anticipating spring’s arrival seems extra-fun this year!

Preschool-Activities-Easter-Eggs

The girls and I are planning a handful of “preschool at home” activities for the next few weeks. Plastic Easter eggs are a MUST! 🙂

Your little one can match up tops and bottoms (upper/lowercase letters or numerals & dots), unscramble letter tiles to build words, or practice counting to 12 using an empty egg-carton!

This year, we even took our eggs outside for some gross-motor practice! Both girls enjoyed chucking them at a plastic bowl in the driveway. 🙂

Rainbow-Playdough-Invitation (3 of 4)

Of course, my girls love it when we make homemade playdough. This rainbow playdough invitation is one of their favorites!

We have a lot more Spring Fun planned for the next few weeks! You can download our $5 Spring Tot School Unit with more than 40 simple learning activities, available now through April 14th.

Little Learners Spring Unit March 2016-Available

 

Our favorite toys, books, and videos for talking about spring:
(Click on the image for a direct link–keep in mind that Lone Star Signers does use affiliate links at no additional cost to you.)

  • Spring Joy by Liesbet Slegers
  • Mouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson

  • Magnetic fishing puzzles from Melissa & Doug

  • Sidewalk chalk

  • Life Cycle of a Butterfly Puzzle from Discovery Toys

Monarch Butterfly-300

  • Baby Signing Time, Volume 3: It’s a New Day

BST3(300)

  • Rachel and the Treeschoolers: Plants & Flowers

RTS-Plants and Flowers(300)

You may also enjoy these posts:

What are your favorite activities to celebrate spring with your little ones?

I want to start signing with my kids; now what?

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.

Resources to help you get started learning American Sign Language (ASL) with your children from Lone Star Signers!

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.

Melissa Droegemueller of Lone Star Signers, San Antonio, TX

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!

Signing Success Story #11

Signing Success StoryToday’s signing story is about a pair of brothers who have been part of our Lone Star Signers community for about a year. I LOVE having sibling sets attend class together because each child learns differently. I think sometimes it’s easier for parents to be consistent in signing with their younger children when there’s an older child (or two) to help. Watching these two boys grow, learn, and giggle together has been a real treat!

* Child’s name and age:

Baker (4 years old) and Brady (22 months)

When and why did you start signing with your child?

We started signing with Baker so we could communicate with him before he started talking.  Brady ended up learning so much in the class!!  He has been one of the biggest influences on Baker’s learning since he loves to watch Big Brother.

Signing Success Story #11 | Lone Star Signers

Baker signs BLUE!

* How has signing made a difference in your family?

Baker can easily communicate his needs without knowing how to say the actual words yet.  Attending classes also created a special time of fun for my boys and I to laugh and play completely uninterrupted.  I also made some new friends along the way!!

* What would you tell a friend interested in signing with their child?

It might seem like signing isn’t working with them, but give each child time and you will be surprised by the results.  If nothing else, everyone has fun, which is really what childhood is all about.

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Thank you, Katie, for sharing a bit of your family’s story with us. We love having you and the boys in our community!

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We are always happy to have NEW families join us, too! Join us for our next Sign & Stroll event on September 24th.

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Previous Signing Success Stories: