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No More Monkeys!

For me, this is the most fun song to sign. It took some practice, but I have it down. Stella is able to do the following signs:

  • Bed: Hands together under your head like a pillow
  • Hurt [head]: Index fingers point at each other next to the forehead; twist slightly
  • Monkey: Paw at your shoulders twice

Learning How to Sign with the iPad 2

Taking it all in:
Learning How to Sign with the iPad

Cry: “The babies on the bus go, ‘wha-wha-wha’…”
Signing

Spider: “The itsy-bitsy-spider climbed up the water spout…”
Signing

For more information about the SignShine app, read our review.

SignShine – Take 2

I know I already reviewed the SignShine app last month, but since purchasing additional songs, it has become one of her favorites, and I have an update to share. In the last few days, her signs have evolved to express emotions by using her facial expressions with her hands. (Note her furrowed brow and pouty lips for the “wha-wha-wha” part of the “Wheels on the Bus” song.) So cool!

Sing and Sign with SignShine

Someone suggested that I try this SignShine app with Stella to sign with music. The iPad app is free to download, and it includes one free song (Itsy Bitsy Spider). For $2.99, you can get a package of 10 additional children’s songs. The woman in the video is Etel Leit, whose gorgeous smile seems to extend right down to her hands. She is a great teacher.

Stella caught on very quickly, and I’m tempted to get the 10-pack. I’ve actually seen other moms/caregivers use similar actions while singing songs to Stella (even in Nursery last Sunday!), but Stella seemed to be more engaged in this video format. Then again, anything transmitting from her beloved iPad is gold.

(Dedicated to Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011)

Baby Sign Language App

I bought this Baby Sign Language app by EverydayASL.com a few months ago, but she hasn’t seemed ready for it until now. I know ASL pretty well, so I’ve been teaching her basic signs without the app since she was about 6 months old. Lately her attention span and level of interest in learning new words has jumped, so we gave this app a try today.

The app offers two very different experiences for horizontal or vertical modes. Each flash card includes a picture of a word, audio of the word, and a video of the word signed. I tend to draw more towards flash card apps that use more realistic pictures, but Stella seemed to understand the cartoon drawings just fine. My only complaint is that when you are in horizontal mode, the video for each sign skips really fast the first time you watch it, so you have to tap it again. (You’ll see it happen in the video.)

It’s not an app that Stella can run independently yet because you have to manually tap to hear the word or watch the video. When left alone with the app, Stella just wants to paw the screen to see the pictures move. By the time she’s old enough to use this app on her own, her speech will probably be advanced enough that she won’t need signs to communicate. But for $1.99, it’s still a neat app—even if you use it to teach vocabulary without the signs.

First Words

The other day while doing FaceTime, Grandma Ruder asked Stella if she was drinking JUICE. Stella got up, went into her room, and retrieved a pair of SHOES! Stella understands a lot of words—she can also touch her nose, ear, and belly on demand—but can still only articulate just a few verbally: uh-oh, mama, dada, Stella, and duttie (i.e. duckie). She can also sign a few words, too: more, all done, milk, and shoes!

As for the iPad, Stella seems to call it an “ah-poe” fairly consistently. When we’re playing without it, if I mimic counting like the lady in one of her iPad apps, she seems to recognize the pattern and starts looking around the room for the ah-poe. She has also learned to turn it on and unlock it all by herself.

Adopting the Digital A/V Adapter

The A/V Adapter allows us to output the iPad display onto our TV. It was expensive ($40 + HDMI cable), but it’s great for parents because it gives us the option to keep our child’s paws off the control and still share the output with her for movies, flashcard apps, and more:

  1. Netflix: We are able to stream Neflix through our Blue-ray Player or XBox (wow, are we spoiled), but there is something especially enchanting about resuming content in our queue at the exact spot where we left it.
  2. Videos: I feel like I got a 2-for-1 on my Yo Gabba Gabba downloads. And, no more storing DVDs!
  3. Kids App (Monkey Preschool Lunchbox): This is one of Stella’s favorite games, so it was fun to watch her use both the iPad and TV screen. The game incorporates colors, shapes, fruit, counting, puzzles, and matching—worth every 99 pennies. Bonus: Stella signs the word “more!”
  4. FaceTime: Grandpa is finally life-size!
  5. Web Browsing: Browsing the web as a family affair? Hello, Google DNS and parental controls.

And for those of you who are concerned about the amount of her daily screen time (more on this later), she also played with non-digital toys—and boys!—all day long.