Increase Early Language Through Play with These Signs & Activities - Little Hands Pediatric Therapy

Increase Early Language Through Play with These Signs & Activities

Try these fun activities with your baby or toddler to use signs all throughout your day!

What’s in the box?

Ages: 8 months-3 years
Materials:  Box, Desired toys
Vocabulary: OPEN, BALL/Object

Begin by placing a highly desirable object or food in a sealed container or bag.  Let’s pretend that we have a ball hidden in a box.  Entice the child, “look what I have! It’s a ball. Do you want the BALL?”  Then model the sign, OPEN for opening a box to get the ball out. “We can OPEN the box!” Encourage your child to use the sign OPEN to request this action. If they don’t sign it, give them hand-over-hand assistance to be successful. Once they sign or say it (either the actual sign or word or an approximation of either) praise them and let them open the box immediately to make the connection. Allow the child to play with the object for about 20 seconds, then playfully return it to the box to hide. This should be fun and rewarding for the child and not frustrating.


Ball: fingers form the shape of the ball and bounce

Open/Close: mimic opening or closing



Ages: walkers -3 years
Materials: slide
Vocabulary: GO, MY-TURN

When your child climbs up the stairs, model “up, up, up the stairs!” Playfully obstruct the slide to and cue your child by asking asking her, “Whose turn is it?” and model MY-TURN. Give hand over hand assistance to the child to approximate the sign MY-TURN. If MY TURN is too difficult, try using predictive language, “ready, set, _____” (GO) with the sign for GO!




Join us each month on Facebook Live for free basic sign language class for infants through preschoolers and their caregivers. No experience is required. We will learn basic signs, discuss speech and language development and learn how to support your child’s language development from birth to age five.

Frequently asked questions about baby sign language and teaching sign language to hearing babies and toddlers can be found here.

Interested in learning ASL?  Start here!