This is my second of a series of posts to show you how I use everyday toys to encourage speech and work on specific language targets. You can view the first here. Today I will focus on bubbles, one of my favourite speech therapy tools.
Nothing delights young children more than bubbles. There is something special about the way they put instant smiles on our young children’s faces, enticing them to interact and play. Here are some of my favourite ways to use bubbles to develop speech and language skills:
- To teach children to produce the sounds /oo/ and /w/
Some children find it difficult to achieve lip rounding impacting on their ability to articulate the sounds /oo/ and /w/. Practising blowing bubbles through a bubble wand can encourage the correct lip positioning for these sounds.
- To listen to and practise using the sounds /p/ /b/ and /m/, and encourage use of early words
Developmentally /p/ /b/ and /m/ are some of the first sounds that children learn to produce and use in words. Bubbles are great for encouraging early words containing these sounds. I use lots of repetition and target specific words such as “bubbles” “pop” “up” “more” “bye”.
- To develop use of two word phrases
During a game of bubbles, concentrate on demonstrating and repeating simple two word phrases e.g. “more bubbles”, “bubbles gone”, “bubbles up”, “bubbles down”, “big bubbles”, “little bubbles”.
- To develop skills in requesting
Bubbles are a perfect communication temptation and are a great way to develop skills in requesting. For example, after blowing and popping bubbles you can try putting the lid back on the bubbles, waiting and looking at your child expectantly. You are providing your child with an opportunity to request more.
- To encourage children to use the word “go”
Bubbles are great for encouraging your child to use the word “go”. After playing with the bubbles for a little while, change the game slightly. Before blowing the bubbles say “Ready, Steady…” and wait to give your child an opportunity to say “go”.
- Using a Ready, Steady, Go game to develop attention and listening skills
The above “Ready, Steady, Go” activity can also be used to develop your child’s attention and listening skills and/or encourage eye contact. After saying “Ready, Steady…” you can pause and look expectantly at your child to give them the opportunity to make eye contact with you, before saying “go”.
- To teach early concept words
When you are playing with bubbles you can talk about the bubbles and make comments using single words and simple language to teach your child early concept words.
E.g. Blowing big and little bubbles, moving the bubble wand in and out of the bubble pot, blowing the bubbles up and down.
- To encourage turn taking
Keep it simple and take turns to blow the bubbles. Use simple repetitive language e.g. “my turn” “your turn”. The quick ‘turns’ in bubbles make it a great activity for younger children who may find it more difficult to wait for their turn.