We have been making new Pawz Puppets! The children are so excited to have their own puppets to practice with. All these puppets were made from thrift store stuffed toys and shirts.  The gloves were bought in the winter section of a box store or dollar store. (If you ever need help finding gloves, send me a comment from the link section and include your email address).
 I will introduce you to our new friends, starting with'

Dawgy BrownPawz.

Dawgy BrownPawz is a handsome dog. He sleeps on the end of "Speed's" bed and today he had his portrait taken!
He likes to watch video's with Speed, especially Dr Wonder. He would like to live in a land that was all sign language, because then he could talk to everybody!
Paulina BunnyPawz

She is a Beautiful  Ballerina who likes to play Barbies with Dolly. She likes to go to the park and play on the slide and swings. She likes to sing as well, and hand signs so all her non hearing friends can enjoy it too!
Elliott MoosePawz

No, your eyes do not deceive you, this is the childrens book Character Elliott Moose with Pawz.  This is "Dino's" puppet with toddler size pawz, that let him join in  on the fun.  I suspect that in a few years, Elliott MoosePawz will need a new shirt and gloves to accommodate bigger hands but he's perfect for now!
Don't forget, you can make your own Pawz puppets  by following the link in this blog post!
How do you keep track of all the new signs you are learning? We made ourselves personal size  notebooks and glued in pictures of the signs printed from our internet sources such as DLTK or Lesson Tutor (see links page).  If you can draw (even stick figures), you may even be able to add your own diagrams in a way that you will understand them!
You can also use index cards attached together with small beaners .  This allows you to organize your signs into categories and add new signs.

Don't forget to use you sign language often, so you don't forget your signs. Dolly has, for example started filling in the sermon notes sheet during church.  She can't always read the screen fast enough, so I finger spell her the words to write in. ( I have also signed to the children from the platform if I see them miss behaving!)

We also use our signs when we are sick with colds, so we don't strain our sore throats! And we have used it to talk from a distance in a crowded room. There are many good reasons for learning and using hand signs.
I just posted a play mat tutorial on my personal blog which includes Alphabet games for learning phonics.  You can also use the same rules for practicing your hand signing!  If you don't have sewing skills or the time to sew a quilted mat, you can achieve the same games by printing out page sized alphabet letters to lay on the floor, and a couple of bean bags. (Small beanie babies work GREAT!)  If you use them a lot, you may choose to laminate the letters. Here are the instructions....

Alphabet Signing games
The floor is the pond, and on the pond place pieces of paper  with the letters of the Alphabet.  Use beanbags as "men" and borrow a dice from another game to roll for moves

Games to Play
Depending how old you are and how much you sign, you can play the alphabet game in so many ways.


If you are Learning your letters,
roll the die and jump the number of squares. Sign the letter you land on correctly! If you don’t name it correctly the first time, you miss a turn.

  If you are Learning Words,
roll the die and jump the number of squares.  Name a word that starts with that letter and sign it!

If you can spell,
roll the die and jump the number of squares.  Name a word that starts with that letter
  and finger spell   that word correctly. If you are wrong you miss a turn. At your next turn, spell the word correctly before you move the dice to move on.


The first person in any game to reach the letter “Z” wins the game!


  Beanbag Toss Game  

Decide how many tosses each person gets. Toss a doll, and which ever letter the doll lands on, follow the directions in one of the games above minus the die.

Make a point system if you wish:


1 point if you land in water but name a letter close by,

2 points for landing on a lily pad

3 points for landing on a flower


Keep score on a chalkboard or paper, and at the end of the tosses, add up the score to see who has the most points

Another "New" good reason for teaching your toddler sign!
After a discussion with  some friends we realized that even if you intend to teach your child a second language, signing is a valuable resource to have. Now you have a hand picture to reinforce the two languages together!

Let's say mom is English and dad is French....
If mom teaches the sign for apple and says "Mommy says apple" sign apple "Papa dit pomme! " while still signing apple.

Learning sign as you teach two languages means that if the child has a moment of confusion or misunderstands a word, they can still get the meaning across with their sign and you can correct them!

A childs mind is so open to information, and languages come so easy to toddlers!
NEW!  See the entire alphabet in picture hand sign in the dictionary. Click on "Alphabet" in the index to see them all in order.
Thank-you to 5 year old "Speed" for taking all the pictures of moms hands!
Some hand signs vary from region to region.The hand sign for pizza for example, is not always the same sign in California as it is in Florida, which is different than Ontario Canada. In our research we try to find 2 separate sources that agree on a sign before listing it.

 The hand signs on this site are based on ASL hand signs, but using them in the deaf community would be to them like what we hear as broken sentences from our children as they begin to talk in English.

So if you decide to move on with signing after you have your first 100 words, you need to decide if you want to go with ASL or SEE.  ASL (American Sign Language) or SEE (Signed Exact English) are both ways of communicating with your hands using similar signs, but are very different.

ASL belongs to the deaf community just as French belongs to a French community and Spanish to a Spanish community... you can always spot an English tourist in the crowd!  The customs and contexts and grammar are different than when we speak English.  They have there own slang, their own jokes and their own grammar, all of which barely resemble English.

SEE is Signed Exact English and means just that. It's a way of teaching a non hearing person about the English language and our rules to help them integrate into the hearing, English speaking world. You use the same ASL signs, but in English grammatical order. Here's an example:

SEE:    'The girl plays with the doll.'
ASL:     "Doll girl plays with"

ASL grammar is basically object, subject, verb. They use very few definite articles like "the" or "a" or "is".  And pronouns ("you" "he" "they" "I") aren't usually repeated while still on subject in the conversation.One sentence therefor could have many meanings, depending on context and facial expressions. And yet, as a community they have no trouble understanding what each person means.

Look at this sentence:
"Water me get" it could mean "Get me water?" (asking for some) or " I'll get water." (a purposed task) or "The water I get" (a statement, answer to a question)

Lot's to learn! If you only want sign to communicate within your own family, SEE is fine.  But if you wish to use it as a ministry tool within your church or community, you need to research and learn ASL rules of Grammar and lifestyle, from within your own region as well as nationally.

I hope to incorporate a child friendly Video Dictionary section for this site.
Here is the hand sign for boat, as demonstrated by Leopawz
                                 Meet our mascot Leopawz!

You can see him in our Web sites main image. He is sitting there patiently waiting for his turn to help you learn hand signs to help you communicate with the youngest members of the family.

He is a "hand" puppet who will help us learn hand signs and songs and activities. We will show you how to do the ASL (American Sign Language)  or SEE (Signed Exact English) hand signs. For signs that don't move  there will be a photograph in the Dictionary. For moving signs there will be video.

 If you like Leo, and would like to make your own "Hand" puppet, I have a fully diagrammed instruction tutorial on my personal blog which you can find by following this link:
ASL/Homeschool Hand Puppet
I made Leopawz from thrift store items for a total of $3, so he is an easy, worthwhile  and fun learning tool.

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