Tag: sign language

FREE (or nearly-free) pumpkin activity ideas

FREE (or nearly-free) pumpkin activity ideas

Fall is officially here! Pumpkins are everywhere, which is the perfect opportunity to learn about the life cycle of plants with your little ones. I want to share some of our favorite FREE (or almost-free) pumpkin activity ideas with all of you today. I’d love to see/hear about your pumpkin fun, too–tag me on Instagram (@theplayschoolclub) so I can see what your little ones are learning!

pumpkin books and seeds with text overlay: "nine free (or nearly-free) pumpkin activity ideas"

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

Hands-On Science Pumpkin Activity Ideas:

We bought a pie pumpkin from our grocery store (almost free!) and planted the seeds in cups with a little bit of soil, lots of sunlight, and some water. In just a few days, our seeds have sprouted, giving the girls a front-row seat at real-life, hands-on science! We’ll roast our leftover seeds and bake up a tasty treat this weekend, too.

Printable Pumpkin Activity Ideas:

We use printables from TeachersPayTeachers.com for many of our seasonal lessons, and we found some of the cutest activities that are absolutely FREE! You will need to set up an account at TpT, but I promise you’ll be back frequently.

Pumpkin Investigation Sheet
I See a Pumpkin Emergent Reader (counting & colors)

These activities are no longer free, but are really affordable!
Life Cycle of a Pumpkin CROWNS for boys and girls
Life Cycle of a Pumpkin cut & paste

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Pumpkin Book Ideas:

We checked out books about pumpkins from our local library (also FREE!). Our favorites are:

STEM and Sign Language Pumpkin Activity Ideas:

Finally, we are watching the Rachel and the Treeschoolers Plants & Flowers episode, which covers how a seed grows, what it needs to thrive, and the process of photosynthesis–all while singing and learning American Sign Language! Learn more about the episode here and download the FREE Activity Guide here.

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Pumpkin Activity Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers | free pumpkin learning for kids, recommended pumpkin picture books, pumpkin printables, crafts


Benefits of Baby Sign Language

Benefits of Baby Sign Language

After using sign language with both of our daughters and teaching ASL vocabulary to more than 100 babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, I have witnessed countless benefits!

Parents love knowing exactly what their little ones are thinking about and the child’s self-esteem is strengthened.

5 Benefits of Baby Sign Language

Here are five more benefits of baby sign language:

  1. Sign language is helpful for all learning types, especially visual, tactile, and kinesthetic!
  2. Signing often reduces tantrums and increases the bond between child and caregiver.
  3. Signing allows preverbal children to initiate conversations with the adults in their lives.
  4. Isolating hand movements for each sign builds fine motor and gross motor skills.
  5. One study showed that a group of children who signed when they were preverbal had higher IQ scores as second graders than the group of children who did not sign.

More about sign language:

What is YOUR favorite benefit of signing with your child?


Potty Training and American Sign Language

Potty Training and American Sign Language

Our younger daughter is 34 months old today*! As she nears the exciting age of three, we’ve been crossing major milestones off the list. We recently turned her carseat forward, and she’s been asking for a “big girl” bed for about a month.

When we returned from our family vacation at the end of June, I knew it was time to begin our BIG potty training adventure!

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

We offered Kate several opportunities to use the toilet over the past six months, but she would happily sit there for several minutes at a time…with no results. We watched our Potty Time DVD multiple times and downloaded the Potty Time app (FREE!)–the perfect fit for our Signing Time/Rachel Coleman fan!

About Potty Time from Signing Time on Vimeo.

I wanted potty-training to be a positive experience for both of us, so I picked up necessary supplies and cleared our calendar for a week. I knew that Kate needed to learn her body’s cues, and that meant a lot of time near the potty chair.

Potty Training and American Sign Language | child development, milestones, potty training tips, toddler, Baby Signing Time, sign language, life skills, parenting

Our potty training supplies:

Our potty training strategy:

Week 1–we stayed home and Kate spent her days in underwear. I quickly realized that she could stay dry for hours at a time, so setting the timer for every 30 minutes was incredibly frustrating for both of us. I lightened up considerably by Wednesday afternoon, handling accidents with a smile and reassurance. By Friday, she had figured out the feeling and was making it to the potty chair with plenty of time to spare!

Our trick? Cumulative Smarties! The first success of the day earned her ONE piece of candy, the second earned her TWO, and so on! One roll of candy lasted all day long.

Week 2–we had some setbacks over the weekend, so we both had to relax and re-learn the routine. It was clear that the Potty Time app was great incentive for Kate. She LOVED putting a digital Hopkins sticker on her chart and “calling” Rachel when she had a success. (Note: she did NOT like calling Rachel for the accidents. I think it embarrassed her, so we focused on the positive.)

Week 3–we were able to leave the house IN UNDERWEAR for errands! She successfully used the public restroom on three different occasions and no longer had accidents during the day at home. She found her routine–stopping during play, pulling shorts up and down, and washing her hands in the bathroom with the step-stool!

We’ve promised our sweet girl her own “big girl bed” as her potty training reward–and I am thrilled with fewer laundry loads after three years of cloth diapers. I know that we still have a few more milestones to go when it comes to toilet training, but I am very proud of her quick progress over these past few weeks!

I’m so thankful for the role that Rachel Coleman and Potty Time played in Kate’s potty training success. Using ASL signs allowed Kate to communicate her needs quietly and gave us the opportunity to celebrate with her every success!

Have you used ASL with potty training? Any other helpful tips that worked for your little ones?

* Note: This post was originally written and published on our previous blog (lonestarsigners.com) in July 2014. 

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