If you could see us in person right now, we’d be using sign language to tell you how cool these classes are. As babies, children often develop their motor-skills quicker than they develop speech skills, making sign language a more natural way for them to communicate.

But, even if you don’t have a kid who has been signing “please” and “more” since before they could walk doesn’t mean that you can’t get them started on sign language classes now that they’re older – kids who learn sign language at a later age still pick up on this second language quite quickly and it opens their brains to be responsive to other new languages as well. (Pretend we’re signing again)

Check out these sign language classes for babies, kids, parents and families in the Seattle area.

Hop to Signaroo
Location: Swedish Medical Center campuses in Ballard, Issaquah and on First Hill and Evergreen Medical Center in Kirkland, plus the availability to arrange for private or group classes in your home or location of choice. Summer classes will also be available at Birth and Beyond in Madison Park.

Ages: Hop to Signaroo classes are intended for parents of babies. Please inquire for details about creating custom classes for older children.

Classes: Based on American Sign Language, Hop to Signaroo was a 2011 Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Award finalist for their baby sign language classes. Public classes are in four-week sessions and you can choose whether or not to bring your baby to class each week.

Cost: $128 for a standard session, which includes instruction two people, plus a $19 materials fee

Phone: 206-789-SIGN (7446)
Online: www.hoptosignaroo.com

My Smart Hands
Location: Based out of Bothell, Washington, with classes and workshops available on the North side of Seattle

Ages: My Smart Hands focuses on sign language classes for babies.

Classes: Various classes are available from My Smart Hands, including more advanced levels for families who are ready to move past mastering the basics of sign language in their home. Parent-only workshops are also available, as well as sign language sign-a-longs (like sing-a-longs!).

Cost: A typical four-week session is $100 per family and includes all materials

Phone: 425-345-2345
Online: www.mysmarthandswithjenniferb.wordpress.com

Visually Speaking
Location: Various class locations around Seattle, including the Seattle Children’s Museum, the Microsoft Campus and the North Kirkland Community Center, amongst others. Or, they will come to your home!

Ages: From babies to middle schoolers – they have classes for every age!

Classes: Visually Speaking offers sign language programs for hearing children and their parents – there are one-time workshops for parents to learn how to effective teach their infants and toddlers to sign, interactive weekly classes for children of all ages and six-week long courses for families who really want to dig into this new language together.

Cost: Varies based on the classes you choose – one session is as low as $7.50 per person

Phone: 206-282-7571
Online: www.visuallyspeaking.info

Musikal Magik
Location: Alki Community Center, Ballard Community Center and Northgate Community Center

Ages: From one month to three years

Classes: Musikal Magik takes unique approach to American Sign Language, teaching ASL through the magic of music. Kids sing along and sign, pound on drums to keep the time as they discover a whole new and fun way to communicate through live music, dance, and play. Taught by Seattle’s premier ASL instructors, Betsy Dischel and Pearl Jenkins (Voted “Best in the City” by Seattle Metropolitan magazine).

Cost: Varies based on the community center you choose. Private/ Group ASL lessons also available.

Phone: 206-328-7148
Online: www.musikalmagik.com

Has your family taken sign language classes in Seattle? Share your experience in the comments section below! But, not in sign language, if you don’t mind!

— Katie Kavulla