Mealtimes are an exceptional time for teaching signing for several reasons. For one, highchairs bring you and your child to eye level. Second, they produce a captive audience who can’t easily squirm away, and after a while your baby becomes accustomed to sitting in one place. Third, there are plenty of nearby food items that serve as teaching aids which can be given to your baby as immediate rewards. Finally, highchairs keep a child busy, but not distracted, so they maintain their attention over longer spans giving you lots of time to show your baby signs.
If you have the luxury to have lunch or dinner outside or at the park you can provide even more learning opportunities. From our balcony we often see and or hear BIRDS, TREES, AIRPLANES, SQUIRRELS, BUGS, TRUCKS, DOGS and so on. We have fun labeling these things. Even on cloudy days when planes fly out of view we can still identify them from the sounds they make, as can we with BIRDS when they are chirping from a tree out of sight. If you eat outdoors plan to be amazed by how many different things a young toddler can recognize. The sounds you zone out as noise have real meaning to your baby. Often it is these little things that a baby finds fascinated.
Above: We invented this fun game by accident. It’s an entertaining way to teach letters and really brings them to life. We found that mealtimes was a great time teach just about anything and in the early years we spent such a huge amount of time eating, it made things more stimulating, and not just for Holden, but for us too. Don’t be discouraged if your child doesn’t enjoy this game, you might try to develop your own game yourself, might find that your child is more alert at other times of the day or other locations (bath time maybe)?