The product featured was provided free of cost to me for the sole purpose of product testing and review. Please note that any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own and have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.
The Deluxe Baby Sign Language Kit, bundles together everything you need to get started with signing in one box, at a steep discount. The kit includes: Baby Sign Language Guide Book; Baby Sign Language Dictionary; Baby Sign Language Flash Cards; and Baby Sign Language Wall Chart.
I will start off by saying that I’m not a fan of sign language becoming a trend for babies as it seems to in the past several years. I do think it is a very useful tool in helping babies and toddlers develop language skills, but I find it very inappropriate to use as a mimicking monkey teaching tool – in other words, parents who want their child to communicate so badly that they teach them signs without really teaching the meaning behind the communication. I have had these feelings since baby sign language became very trendy around the year my 8 year old was born. Now that I have a deaf 14-month-old son, my feelings have become even stronger.
With that being said, I truly believe in the Deluxe Baby Sign Language Kit as a necessary tool for parents who are serious about building a sign language vocabulary with an emotional connection behind it. Let’s start with one of my favorite aspects of the kit: the Baby Sign Language Guide Book. This kit gives both the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of teaching sign language to babies. I love that it explains the parent-child relationship as one of teaching, and how teaching sign language is an amazing opportunity to build that teaching and coaching relationship. The book also specifically making signs memorable for baby. It explains the importance of using signs that are significant to baby and his life, rather than simply having him learn and mimic signs. As parents, we need to teach the emotional connection between words and our environment. This is as true for sign language as it is for spoken language. It was refreshing to see the book emphasize this. I have made my rounds through many, many baby sign language kits and have yet to see one mention this important aspect of signing.
I personally don’t have much use for the Baby Sign Language Wall Chart, since A. it’s pretty big and we don’t have much wall space to use it, and B. we already know all of the signs on it. However, I’m sure it could be useful for a beginning family just learning to sign, which is who this kit is essentially made for. I can see the wall chart being a perfect addition to a family room or play room where it will easily be seen by all members of the family. It features the key signs for beginners to learn, such as Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, book, and ball.
The Baby Sign Language Official Reference Dictionary is a wonderful addition to the library of any family learning sign language with a baby. I love that the most important signs you will need to teach your beginning signer are featured, but also more advanced signs are included, such as ‘don’t like’ or ‘don’t want’, so it grows with you and baby. It’s also alphabetized so you can quickly flip back and forth between signs you are trying to find!
My only complaint with the dictionary is that some of the signs are very hard to distinguish from the illustrations. ‘Sink’ and ‘triplet’, for example, are definitely not clear to me from these illustrations. For the more complex signs, it might have been helpful to show photos of an actual person completing each step of the sign rather than an illustration. However, most of the signs are clear and easy to understand.
I did run into this problem with a few of the Baby Sign Language Flash Cards as well because they use the same illustrations. Overall, though, this set of flash cards is by far the best I’ve found for signing with babies and toddlers. It can be difficult finding a set of flash cards with a simple photo or illustration and no backgrounds or busy coloring, let alone simple flash cards with the sign on the back! This is the first set I’ve found that fits both aspects. With babies and toddlers, you want to pull them in to focus on the object you’re signing. These flash cards have a plain, white background with a simple photo of each one on the front and the word spelled out. On the back is the sign, so you don’t have to worry about flipping through the dictionary to find out the sign. These flash cards make it about as easy as it can possibly be to first connect your baby with the sign for an object, allowing you to build on this connection with different pictures of the same object once he becomes more advanced.
I highly recommend the Deluxe Baby Sign Language Kit to both beginner and intermediate signing families who truly want to teach their babies the language of signing. The kit has so much to offer both parent and child. The kit can currently be bought for $39.95 on BabySignLanguage.com!