Sign language DVDs - for babies
November 4, 2010 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for instructional sign language DVDs for babies.

I'm looking for an instructional sign language DVD for pre-verbal babies, but I'm perplexed by the range of DVDs available. My preference is for a DVD that shows ASL signs, not someone's personally invented "baby signs". It would be cool if the signs were demonstrated by a range of people (adult, infant, hearing, Deaf). Other than that, I'd just like something that's well-done. (I guess by "well-done" I mean: as non-hideous as possible. I have no illusions as to the arthouse nature of children's videos or anything.)

Any recommendations?
posted by thehmsbeagle to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The Baby Einstein one actually uses ASL iirc, demonstrated by kids and a deaf person. Non-hideous. Though Baby Einstein is potentially baby crack. ;-)
posted by pootler at 10:30 AM on November 4, 2010

Best answer: The "Signing Time" series is superb.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:38 AM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Signing Time is well regarded as "the best," according to the various parenting forums and blogs that I read.

But FWIW, everyone that I know and everything that I've read says that pre-verbal kids don't learn from videos. My own signing son learned everything from daycare. (I'm not a children and media expert, but I'm in an academic department of them.)

I wonder if I had my 2-year-old watch them now if he might pick more signs up. hmmm....
posted by k8t at 10:46 AM on November 4, 2010

Best answer: Definitely Signing Time - it's the standard. Your instinct to stick with ASL is a very good one.

Other good resources are and the Baby See & Sign series.
posted by susanvance at 10:48 AM on November 4, 2010

Response by poster: K8t- totally. I'm not so much looking for a program that will teach him signs, as much as something we can all check out together that will help the adults: we do some signs already, but I'm not that confident that I'm doing them correctly, or that I recognize his own attempts (I just figured out that he's been signing "nurse" and I didn't really know it, because it looked so different.)

Thanks, everyone! I'll check out the Signing Time series.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:53 AM on November 4, 2010

Your child's versions of signs will likely always be a bit "different" (mostly consistent, but not necessarily canonical), no matter how consistent and perfect your signing is.

I agree that seeing a sign done on video makes it a lot easier for the adult to decode/learn than those little doodles in books, but recognize that the important thing is to recognize your child's intent, not the mechanics of the sign. (content, not delivery).
posted by misterbrandt at 11:20 AM on November 4, 2010

One of the great things about Signing Time is that after the nice lady demonstrated the sign they show an array of babies and children doing the sign too, so you get to see how different little kids sign and your child gets to see other kids doing the signing too.

Make sure you continue the signing after your little one is verbal. Not only will he have experience with another language, it's really handy for 'speaking' with your kids across a playground or a noisy, crowded room. My kids can ask for a drink or a snack through the sliding door or while I'm on the phone. It's pretty cool.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:45 PM on November 4, 2010

FWIW, we just used a standard ASL dictionary - no need for videos, and it was more versatile as their vocabularies expanded.
posted by richyoung at 12:53 PM on November 4, 2010

Not only do pre-verbal kids learn from the signing times videos, they only need to watch it once and they generally have it down. My friend was using those dvd's when her kid was a baby. After a while she would put in a new dvd and while he watched it she tried to get some housework/computer work done and she didn't watch it. Then the baby started signing all of this stuff and she and her husband had no idea what he was saying so they had to go back and watch all of the videos themselves.
I found this hilarious.
posted by 8dot3 at 1:27 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

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