Go on a Sign Hunt

Language Arts Activity

Children become aware of signs long before they begin to read. The colors, symbols, and shapes become familiar to them if they see them often enough and can relate them to an activity. You can take advantage of that familiarity to encourage children to read and use the signs in their neighborhood and school.


Examples of many different kinds of signs


  1. Ask children to describe signs they've seen in their community. To start the discussion, mention familiar places, such as markets, gas stations, or restaurants.

  2. Help children to develop a definition of a sign. (Example: A sign tells you something you might want to know.) Write the definition on the chalkboard.

  3. Explain to children that they are going on a "sign hunt." During the "hunt," as they study each sign, they should test their definition to see if it is a good explanation of what a sign is.

  4. Take children for a walk around the school and in the immediate neighborhood. Ask children to raise their hands whenever they see a sign. Help them to read the sign. Then ask why they think the sign is there. Encourage children to look up (above eye level) to find signs such as those with street names or on store fronts.

  5. Back in the classroom, ask children to discuss the signs they saw. Ask them if the definition fits all the different types of signs they saw. Encourage suggestions for changing or adding to the definition.


Encourage children to create their own signs. In its simplest form, making a sign might involve drawing or labeling objects and areas of the classroom. Use the signs to play a game of "Follow the Signs." Give simple oral directions that involve following a route by reading two or more signs. Once they are accustomed to the game, children can make up their own directions and try them on classmates.

After a discussion about safety in the playground, children can write simple cautionary sentences about different situations. (Example: Don't go head-first down the slide.) Children can decorate or illustrate their signs.

Have children create their own "license plate" signs. They can write favorite numbers, a picture, and the name of their state on a sheet of construction paper pre-cut in the shape of a license plate.

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