Sign Language for Kids

“Learning another language is not only learning
different words for the same things,
but learning another way to think about things.”
~Flora Lewis

American Sign Language Mini- Unit

This unit is designed to be self led.  You may choose to do all of the ideas or just a few.  Creativity is key!
The goal is to learn all you can and then show what you know!  We made a notebook and added all kinds of pages (biographies, print out ASL alphabet, some of the activities we did, etc…) like a scrapbook.
I hope you have fun learning a little bit of sign language,  how to communicate in a new way, and about some amazing people in the deaf community !

*Day 1:  Deaf Awareness and
Intro to American Sign Language  (ASL)


+ Kid’s Q & A About Deafness and Hearing Loss 
+  Intro to ASL (video with audio/sign!)  or read Intro to ASL

  + The History of Sign Language
+ ASL Fun Facts 

– Activities:
+ Kid Quest:  Hearing Loss   (WebQuest)
+ Deaf Awareness Activities
+ Questions about Hearing     (PBS Activities)

– Videos:
+ Understanding Deafness
(short video for younger children…aimed at school children, but helpful in understanding what deafness is and how we are able communicate)
+ What it is like to be deaf  
(short video made by two deaf young people…it is very insightful as to how a deaf person feels in a hearing world…and especially WHY we might like to actually learn sign language !!)
+ Flinstones Hearing Loss Simulation

-Literature suggestions for this unit:  Below are several recommendations for books of varying reading levels you may enjoy using with this Unit.
> Note:  These are Amazon Affiliate  links.  I receive a small commission for any sales through my site (at NO extra charge to you).  This support helps me keep all my units FREE!  Thanks !

     american sign language unit

You can also WATCH
  ( online free)  “The Miracle Worker”
OR watch instantly/order from Amazon Prime !

*DOING: Showing What You Know –

+ Find out what “fingerspelling” is.
   HERE  and  HERE
+ Practice fingerspelling your name.  

+ Print out the alphabet and numbers if you’re keeping a notebook.
+ Print an extra copy and cut out the letters to spell your name or
something else!
+ Leave a message for someone in signed letters.  See if they can guess !

*Show what you’ve learned about Helen Keller and/or her teacher, Anne Sullivan.   BE CREATIVE !
– Fill out this Biography Planner from

– Make a Biography Poster like the one below (




*Day 2-  Learning to Sign

+ Continue reading in your selected books.
+ Read a short biography on Helen Keller  HERE and play some
of the games, and other fun activities on this site.
+ Take a virtual tour of  The Helen Keller Museum Online  !
+ Read all about Braille HERE

+ Activities-
+ Review and practice the alphabet from yesterday.
  Can you spell your name without looking at the chart ?
How about your dog’s name ?  How about the names of friends?
+ Watch THIS VIDEO .   You can review your alphabet and learn
an easy sign for each letter !!  Then practice singing and signing
it  HERE
+ Practice writing in Braille with the activity  HERE  

*DOING: Showing What You Know –

+ If you were given the task of teaching someone who didn’t speak the same language as you to communicate what would you do?  How could you communicate with them? 

Write  a list or an essay telling some of your ideas !

+ Think about how you might take what you’ve been learning and
show kindness to someone.
Here are some ideas:
– Do you know someone who is deaf ?
Make a list of simple greetings (Hello!  Have a good day!  Nice to
meet you! etc…).   Try to learn how to say those things in sign
from memory.  Next time you see them, be ready to say something
kind to them in the language they speak 🙂
– If you don’t know anyone who is deaf, learn some compliments in
sign language and share them with your family.  They will love trying to
guess what you’re saying to each of them!   (I love you!  I like your smile!
You make me happy !).

+ Use the biography organizer or poster ideas for Louis Braille.

* Make someone a card in Braille.  Explain what it says.

+ Copy some of the beautiful and inspiring quotes by Helen Keller.
You may like to add them to your notebook if you are keeping one for
this unit.   HERE are some to choose from.
You can find some Helen Keller journaling paper to write them on  HERE .
OR you might just like to color THIS  page with a quote from Helen. helen keller coloring page




*Day 3-  Babies and Signing

+ Continue reading in your selected books.

+ Many parents are teaching their babies sign language before they have learned to speak.  Read more about it in the articles below.
What do YOU think ?
Pro’s and Con’s of Teaching Babies Sign Language from Web MD
Pro’s and Con’s of Baby Sign Language 

+ Activities-
+ Review and practice the alphabet and your new words from yesterday.
  Can you sign your name and at least 5 words now from memory ?

+ Watch this VIDEO of babies communicating very early with sign language.  

*DOING: Showing What You Know –

+ Make your own list of the pros and cons of teaching babies sign language.
+ If you think it is a good idea to teach babies to sign, what are the words YOU would start with ?  Why?
Make a list and learn the signs.   Add this to your notebook.

+Try playing some of the free interactive Signing Games  HERE
+ Signing Coloring Pages to print (just for fun 🙂  )


*Day 4-  SignWriting


+ Continue reading in your selected books.

+ Another more recent written method of communicating without words is Sutton Signwriting, or simply, SignWriting.  It was first published in the mid 1970’s and has gained popularity world wide.  See what you think !

+ Read about “Sign Writing”     HERE 
   Learn more and see examples with the video  HERE

+ Learn more about HOW to sign write   HERE


+ Read ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and some other well known children’s stories
in sign writing !

* Make and play this sign Writing Bingo HERE .

* Think about the three types of signing you have learned about so far.
Make a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast them.

* Doing:  Show What You Know !

+Try writing a short story in sign writing using the help pages above.
If you don’t want to write your own story, you could try taking a
short children’s book and writing it in sign writing.
Be sure to add it to your notebook if you’re making one.

* Try this really cool art project  HERE  from  !  LOVE THIS !
ASL project


*Day 5-  The Deaf Community


+ Finish reading your chosen books for this mini-unit.

* Watch a short video HERE  explaining the deaf world to those of us in the hearing world.
* READ this Introduction to the Deaf Community.

+ Read HERE about some people who made a real difference in the world (and just happened to be deaf !).   Be sure to scroll to the bottom and check out some of the famous deaf musicians !  Incredible !
+ Read about 5 famous deaf people   HERE


+ Make a list of 10-20 things you do each day.
If you suddenly lost your hearing, how might that change the way you
do those activities ?

+ Lipreading Practice
You will need a friend to play this game.
Make a list of 15 simple words each on a piece of paper.
Don’t let each other see your words.  Take turns mouthing  your words to
the other person.  Keep track on who guesses the most words correctly.

* Doing:  Show What You Know !

+ Choose one of the people you read about today to add to your notebook.
You may simply like to fill out one of the biography pages
You can look  HERE at a super fun list of 10 creative ways to “write”
a biography .

Hope you’ve enjoyed learning just a little bit about American Sign Language and the deaf community !
introduction to sign language and deafness for kids

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