In my son’s second year, I had him every second day during the week plus every other Friday while my wife was at work part-time. I made it into a rule that I would take him outside for at least an hour for a walk despite the weather. I think this is a great way to keep kids exposed to the real world and away from the television, and now-a-days computers – screen time as it were.
Naturally, this exposes us to all sorts of elements, wind, rain, snow, hot and cold. I think this makes for more adaptable children and therefore adaptable and resourceful adults. While your community might not be conducive to this, mine is and so we made various forays around our city blocks. One of the things I noticed after doing this for well over a year is that during several months in the winter, I pretty much owned my entire neighbourhood. In fact, I rarely saw anyone on foot. It’s just that most people will not venture outside unless it’s the most ideal weather conditions. If there’s snow on the ground, you might never see anyone but for them cooped up inside cars.
Of course, none of this has anything to do with signing, but I’m getting there! Going outside gives you a chance to see first-hand things your baby has only just seen in books or television. This makes memories more vivid and makes language progress much faster because it writes experiences with many more details. This gives your baby more neural connections helping to solidify any signs you might do. While outside you’ll find all sorts of animals, even within the city. Birds, cats, dogs, squirrels, as well as trees, flowers, snow, rain and so forth are present in all communities.
Any moment is a good time to teach signs, but make the extra effort to teach signs first hand by involving as many senses as possible. In other words, when you teach FLOWER, take the time to stop and smell them!