Baby Sign Language: Baby Sign Language Video Resources & Books For Teaching Baby Sign Language

by Melanie on January 2, 2014

Teaching Rocket to use American Sign Language to communicate from the time he was a baby will forever be associated in my mind as the earliest language that we shared together. Needless to say, ASL has a very special spot in my heart. It allowed me to communicate with my baby for the first time when he was too young to verbalize his needs. By using baby sign language before he even turned 1, we were able to eliminate many frustrations while giving him an early head-start in cognitive language development. It’s a win-win!

By the time he was 18 months old, he knew and regularly used 150 signs. I want to make it clear that I do NOT think that my child is some kind of genius prodigy. In fact, there are many babies who are taught to sign from the time they’re born who can recognize and use far more signs than this at a much younger age. Through my research and experiences, I wholeheartedly believe that most babies and young toddlers have an immense capacity for learning, as long as they are exposed to the information. That’s where we caregivers come in. Baby sign language is a perfect platform for communicating with and building a baby’s brain when they are still in that pre-verbal infancy stage.

You are also teaching them a real language in the process.

There is so much to be said about baby sign language and its immense benefits for infants that I’ll be writing future posts devoted to the topic. In this post, I want to share some of the resources that have been invaluable in our own learning process. Please note: I said OUR. Unless you already know sign language, you are going to have to make a conscious decision to learn it yourself in order to teach it to your baby. Don’t be intimidated by this! It’s really not difficult at all and you’ll learn as you go based on what’s relevant in your life, using the same books and videos that you expose to your child.

Happy signing!

 

22 Books For Teaching Baby Sign Language

 

1. Sign Language For Babies & Toddlers By Christopher Brown

This was the very first baby sign language book that we owned. It was given to us as a gift when I was pregnant and has been a fantastic teaching tool with easy-to-understand illustrations that are simple for adults to interpret and fun for children to see.

 

2. All Day Long By Lora Heller

The Baby Fingers series has been one of my personal favorites for teaching Rocket ASL as a baby. They are durable board books with photographs of children using signs, complete with descriptions to explain the motions involved. This one in particular is full of useful signs that children would use in their daily routine such as “eat”, “drink”, “more”, “all done”, “thank you”, “play”, “book”, “toy”, “share”, “bath”, “water”, “bed”, “tired”, etc. A great set of beginner words for any signer!

3. Hello, Goodbye By Lora Heller

This is the 2nd Baby Fingers book that we used regularly in Rocket’s early signing life. It includes words and sentences that would be used in conversation such as “good morning,” “good afternoon,” “good night”, “hello”, “I love you,” etc. This one was important for teaching Rocket- and myself– basic ASL communication phrases.

 

4. I Want… By Lora Heller

This is the 3rd Baby Fingers book we read over and over again before Rocket turned 1 in order to teach him the more commonly used signs for babies. I Want… is the ideal book to begin baby sign language. It includes practical words that a baby may want to communicate with you like “juice,” “water,” “cereal”, “nap”, etc. Reading this book as often as we did when my son was a baby helped to eliminate many frustrations as he was able to let me know his needs and desires.

 

5. I’m Feeling By Lora Heller

This is the 4th of the Baby Fingers books that taught us basic baby sign language when Rocket was still too young to communicate his needs verbally. This one focuses on feeling words like “tired”, “hurt”, “happy”, “silly”, etc. It can be difficult for babies when they can’t express their emotions to grown-ups. This book certainly helped our relationship by supplying Rocket with a language he could use to speak with me before spoken language!

 

6. Teaching Your Baby To Sign By Lora Heller

This is another great beginner baby sign language book in the Baby Fingers series. This one teaches basics that babies would use regularly such as “dog”, “cat”, “home,” “sleep”, “music”, “hungry”, “milk,” and “banana.” Babies love studying the photos of other babies on these pages!

 

7. I Can Sign! Playtime By Linda Acredolo & Susan Goodwyn

I Can Sign! is one of Rocket’s favorite books to this day. It was a gift from his grandma and even though he already knew most of the words by the time he received it, it depicts fun characters with unique personalities and names as well as a corresponding DVD that engaged him in a new way.

 

8. Baby Signs By Joy Allen

This is another colorful book with basic signs that can especially appeal to children who prefer illustrations over photographs. A great resource that we found at our local library!

 

9. My First Baby Signs By Linda Acredolo & Susan Goodwyn

The next few books I’m listing on here are by 2 of our favorite authors specializing in baby sign language books- Dr. Linda Acredolo & Dr. Susan Goodwyn. Like the Baby Fingers books, their books are full of fun photographs that help babies learn sign. Anyone with a baby knows that they love seeing photos of other babies. These books are an excellent resource for teaching them ASL in a way that greatly appeals to their senses.

 

10. Baby Signs For Meal Time By Linda Acredolo & Susan Goodwyn

This book by Dr. Linda Acredolo & Dr. Susan Goodwyn specializes in signs that would be used at meal time. We turned to this book constantly during our first few baby months, reading it quite regularly at the dinner table.

 

11. Baby Signs For Bedtime By Linda Acredolo & Susan Goodwyn

This book focuses on words that would be used during bedtime.

 

12. My First Signs By Michelle Anthony & Reyna Lindert

The next 2 books I’ll list are from the Signing Smart brand and have been big hits with my son! I love the index on the far right, which depicts the signs so that you can turn straight to the one you’re trying to find. This book also has a touch-and-feel on each page and contains photographs of each sign being used by both an adult and a baby.

 

13. What Do You See? By Michelle Anthony & Reyna Lindert

What Do You See? is probably one of Rocket’s all-time favorite ASL books. It’s just so fun and interactive for little ones! Like My First Signs, the signs are modeled by an adult AND a baby and the pages each have a touch-and-feel, which babies absolutely love.

 

14. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star By Annie Kubler

The next 3 baby sign language books I have on this list are from the Sign & Singalong series. Each book is a children’s song and teaches key words in the lyrics. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star was Rocket’s favorite of these Sign & Singalong books.

 

15. Itsy Bitsy Spider By Annie Kubler

The Itsy Bitsy Spider is another great book in this series.

 

16. Baa Baa, Black Sheep By Annie Kubler

The Sign & Singalong books will be especially engaging for children who LOVE music! Don’t just read these books… sing them, with animated hand motions to go along!

 

17. Meal Time By Anthony Lewis

Sign About is another brand that publishes many amazing signing books we have read. We don’t own any of this particular group of books, but we have borrowed many from the library! This one is all about meal time.

 

 18. Play Time By Anthony Lewis

This Sign About book specializes in words your baby/toddler can use for play time.

 

 19. Getting Ready By Anthony Lewis

This has been our favorite Sign About book. The signs in Getting Ready have been words related to getting dressed that we couldn’t find in any other children’s ASL dictionaries. Rocket, my husband, and I have all learned a tremendous amount of words from this book alone!

 

20. Going Out By Anthony Lewis

This is the last Sign About book we’ve had the pleasure of reading. These words are all about going out!

 

 

21. My First Animal Signs By Anthony Lewis

My First Animal Signs has been one of my personal favorites because it teaches signs for a multitude of animals that I can’t find in other books. Our whole family has learned a lot by reading this book- and it has enhanced our zoo-going experience!

22. My First Signs By Annie Kubler

My First Signs is another great beginner book with colorful illustrations for teaching basic baby sign language words.

 

2 Baby Sign Language Book Sets

 

1. Baby Signing Time Board Books 1-4 By Rachel Coleman

We are ENORMOUS fans of the Baby Signing Time DVDs around here! These books are a great resource to accompany the DVD set (described below).

 

2. Baby Signing Board Books (Set of 4) By Annie Kubler

This board book set would make a great gift for ASL-learning babies and toddlers who love music.

 

4 Baby Sign Language Video Resources

 

1. Baby Einstein: My First Signs

While Baby Einstein is not my absolute favorite resource for babies and toddlers, this particular DVD is a nice tool for teaching baby sign language. I’d definitely check it out at the library if available, but personally would rather purchase Baby Signing Time (described below).

 

2. Baby Signing Time DVD Collection

If there is only ONE resource you should put your money towards in an effort to teach baby sign language, this is it! The Baby Signing Time DVD Collection comes with 4 DVDs that teach everyday signs relateable to your baby. If you know me in real life, you’ve probably heard me rant on and on about how wonderful this series is!

The creator of Baby Signing Time, Rachel Coleman, performs amazing music that helps babies to memorize common signs and develop a positive association with learning ASL.  The words are official ASL signs and the cause is very passionate to Rachel Coleman, whose daughter was born deaf.

I have found no other resource quite as ideal for teaching baby sign language as this one. Your local library may have these DVDs, but trust me. It is worth buying. Rocket couldn’t get enough of it and it taught him so many signs!  The fun songs will get stuck in your head all day, a small price to pay to be able to communicate better with your baby.

 

This collection includes the following DVDs:

 


Baby Signing Time 1: It’s Baby Signing Time

Teaches the basic ASL necessities a baby would use in everyday communication.

 

Baby Signing Time 2: Here I Go

Teaches signs related to getting ready, transportation, and manners.

 


Baby Signing Time 3: A New Day

Teaches words a baby would use in daily routine, including signs about going outside, nature, taking a walk, and winding down for the night.

 

Baby Signing Time 4: Let’s Be Friends

Teaches words regarding friendships, emotions, opposites, and more.

 

The streaming versions of these DVDs can be found here: Baby Signing Time: Amazon Instant Videos

 

3. Signing Time: Amazon Instant Videos

After your baby has exhausted the DVDs from Baby Signing Time, Rachel Coleman goes on to make Signing Time DVDs geared towards toddlers and children. Rocket loves Signing Time! They come in various themes and are great for the child who has graduated beyond baby signs. Amazon has streaming instant videos for these DVDs, so you can rent them instead of making a full purchase.

 

4. Free Online Baby Signing Videos

There are numerous free baby signing videos that we have utilized in our home. The following are our favorites!

 

Baby Einstein – Baby’s Favorite Places: First Words – Around Town

This video teaches a host of words to use all around town!

 

Signing Time YouTube Playlist

Rachel Coleman’s free YouTube playlist of Signing Time videos.

 

Baby Signing Time YouTube Playlist

The amazing Baby Signing Time series has an excellent collection of free videos on YouTube.

 

Sign Language Songs By Patty Shukla Playlist

Patty Shukla is one of Rocket’s new favorites! Check out her rockin’ baby sign language video songs here.

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I hope this list of baby sign language resources has been helpful in getting you started with teaching your baby to sign. As important as books and videos are for equipping us with the information to teach our little ones, don’t forget that the most valuable resource of all is you.  Without you making the decision to use ASL in the home with your child, the language they learn will have no practical use on its own.

Read the books listed above with your child. Watch the videos, engaging your baby/toddler in relevant conversations as you do. And most importantly, consistently communicate with your baby by signing during real-life situations away from any learning resources at all. Put what you learn into practice. This is where real language acquisition is put to the test. I know you will find the experience of teaching baby sign language just as rewarding as we have.

Feel free to comment below with any additional baby sign language video or book resources that you’d like to share!

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