Sunday, September 28, 2008

Review: Baby Signing Time Volumes 3 and 4

As I mentioned earlier, the nice folks at Two Little Hands Productions left me a comment asking if I'd like to review a couple of the new Baby Signing TIme DVDs. Since Pumpkin watches her Signing Time DVDs with something akin to religious fervor, I of course said yes.

The screening DVD arrived about two weeks ago. I put it in the DVD player almost immediately, because Pumpkin usually gets to watch a Singing Time DVD when we get home (it gives me time to put away our stuff and start dinner). The two episodes on the DVD are "A New Day" and "Let's Be Friends". My immediate impression was that I liked the "regular" Signing Time series better- and I still think that they are a bit easier on the adults who are watching with the baby. The Baby Signing Time series consists mainly of songs, with "pauses" in the songs to introduce new signs. Most of the songs seem simpler than those in the original series , which I suppose makes sense given the younger target audience. Also, since Alex and Leah are much older than babies now, they are represented as cartoons. There are still plenty of other cute babies signing, though. And one of my favorite parts of any of the DVDs is during the song that ends Baby Signing Time volume 3. The song is about how quickly babies grow up, and they show Alex and Leah signing "baby" in the original series, followed by them signing "baby" now. That scene made me want to go hug Pumpkin! In general, I like the songs in the original series better, but this song ("Tiny Hands") is sweet, and the "Everyone Crawl Like a Bug" song is a lot of fun.

Regardless of what I though, Pumpkin was hooked right away. She now asks for "Bay-bee ee-ee!" ("Baby T.V.") and sometimes loudly says "Noooo!" and signs "baby" when I put one of the original DVDs on for her. It may be that she had just gotten bored with the original series, which she has watched many times over. Or it maybe that the higher ratio of singing time to non-signing time and the babies sitting in front of simple, boldly colored backgrounds appeals to her.

I was a bit disappointed that most of the signs in these two episodes are already covered in the episodes of the regular Signing Time that I have (I have volumes 1-4 and 6). However, there are still some useful new signs (like "again", although Pumpkin usually just signs "more" if she wants to do something again). Also, I think the repetition of signs in a new setting might help Pumpkin learn them- I am fairly certain that she learned "rain" from the Baby Signing Time DVDs, and not the original series. Of course, since we live in San Diego, she is unlikely to need to use that sign anytime soon. This is a shame, because she enjoys signing "rain" almost as much as she enjoyed signing "cold" in the early days.

Bottom line: these DVDs are good. So are the DVDs in the original series. I am so glad that a friend gave me the original DVDs and got us started on this. The number of tantrums Pumpkin threw went down sharply once she learned to sign "cracker" (her favorite food, but a word she doesn't even try to say yet- I think the hard C sounds are still too hard for her). Pumpkin is not a particularly early or good talker, but she is a great communicator. Before we started signing with her, she'd point and nod, trying to get us to understand what she wanted. Now she signs and talks, sometimes using both the sign and the word, sometimes only using the sign, sometimes only using the word. I think she has learned spoken words as well as signs from these DVDs.

When I mention that we are signing with Pumpkin to a parent of a younger baby, the other parent often says "oh, we're too lazy to do that" or "oh, that is too hard" in reply. That's what we originally thought, so we didn't start signing until Pumpkin was almost 14 months old. We only started because they were using some basic signs in day care, which she started using at home. We wanted to know what she was saying to us. But now I know that it is so much easier to sign than not to. We just put a DVD in and let her watch it. The signs are repeated so much that we learn them quickly, even if we don't always have the time to sit down and watch the DVD with her. Really, the hardest part was getting over the guilt about letting Pumpkin watch something on TV. (I'm completely over that now, thanks.)


  1. Congrats on making the top 10 review. :)

  2. Anonymous5:56 PM

    What is it with all the mommy guilt? I'm so tired of thinking, oops, has she watched too much TV? Am I spending enough time with her, etc.

    I decided early on not to feel guilty about time she spent watching Signing Time. That time was well spent improving the fun and communication we had at other times.

    Now, if only I could over the guilt of a dirty house!

  3. Good review! My little one really really prefers the Baby Signing Time series, and I am okay with it since I like most of the songs. But maybe I should try the Signing Time series again now that she's a bit older.

  4. Heather5:34 PM

    Thanks! We just purchased volume 3 and we have not seen the regular signing time DVD's. I noticed a lot of the original and baby singing times are mixed in what they teach so we decided to stick with the baby signing times. Our daughter will be 16 months tomorrow and knows 30+ words, it's amazing! Once she is a bit older we plan to switch to the Signing Time .


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