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Fun ways for siblings to focus on feelings

Photo: Strengthen sibling communication and relationships through play

As children best express themselves through play, explore the thoughts and feelings of your children and their deaf brother or sister with play activities.

Ann is mum to Daniel (15) who is profoundly deaf and uses sign language. Ann’s older children are hearing.
“Our older children became very quick to understand that they needed eye contact and how to get Daniel’s attention. They also became very good at letting me know when he had pulled out his hearing aids! Another positive was learning some signing together as a family; we were lucky to have a (deaf) language aide visit our home to teach us all basic signs and made it fun by using games to practise our BSL.”

Not only is it fun to play games, games can also strengthen communication and social skills, as well as develop family relationships. Some activities can be used to raise awareness and inform others about deafness, such as your children’s cousins and friends.

Here are a few of our favourites…

How well do you know your ear?

Resources needed: glue, Sellotape, balloons, toilet rolls, yogurt pots, paper, and scissors.
Instructions: Using the resources available, can your family make an ear? A picture of an ear could be used to give you an idea of what the ear should look like.

Fuzzy feelings

Resources needed: glue, Sellotape, shoe box, materials to decorate the shoe box, scissors.

  1. Take an old empty shoe box. Leaving the lid to one side, decorate the box using stickers, coloured paper, glitter, felt, coloured pens. Adult help will be needed with the next bit...
  2. Using scissors, make one slit in the lid so that paper can be put through. Place the lid on top of the shoe box and decorate.
  3. Next, children write/draw their question or thought and post them through the slit in the box lid.
  4. Parents will then need to open the box and answer the question or thought by writing/drawing on the paper or holding a family meeting.


Resources needed: BSL alphabet cards, score card, list of words.
Instructions: Ever played the game Pictionary, where you have to draw a picture of a word? Well, Fingernary is very similar but instead you have to spell out the letters of a word using sign language. This can be played with family members and friends.

  1. Divide the group into teams and select the games master who will take score and give out words.
  2. In your small groups for each round, one person will need to be selected to go up to the games master and be given a word.
  3. When the games master says start, these people will then go to their group and start spelling the word using fingerspelling. The team that guesses fastest gets the point.

High five

Resources needed: paint, paper, pens, pencils, and scissors.
Instructions: Here’s an activity that can be done by a group of family members and friends.

  1. Take a piece of paper and draw around one of your hands. Colour this in.
  2. For each of the fingers write something nice about each member of the group.
  3. In the middle of the hands, write a happy memory that the group has shared.
  4. Once these have been completed, stick it to a notice board.
  5. One at a time, stand in front of the group or in a circle and read aloud what either you, or another person (your choice), has written
  6. Once you have read a hand out loud, choose another person by high fiving them... Then it’s their turn to share their comments.

Activity booklets

We have activity booklets just for hearing siblings to to help them understand deafness and explore and express their emotions. You can download or order a copy: