Activities for Teaching Handshape



  • Children must stand in a circle and take turns coming up with a sign based on the handshape elected by the teacher or leader Signs cannot be used more than once. 
  • This is a good opportunity to teach specific handshapes and assess student knowledge of HOLMEs for each sign.

FOR OLDER CHILDREN: If children are familiar with HOLMEs (Handshape, Orientation, Location, Movement, Expression), get students in a circle and challenge them to either copy the previous sign’s Handshape, Orientation, Location, Movement or Expression.

Example: If the first child signs PEOPLE, the next child may choose another sign with the same handshape, and sign THINK, BOY, or PINK.  Or they can choose to use the same location and sign  SISTER, or same orientation and sign GIRL.


  • Using handshape flashcards, give children 2 minutes to write as many signs as possible related to that sign. 
  • Winners will have the most words for that handshape