As speech language pathologists who have worked with children for many years, there is one toy that, without fail, will always excite and engage a child…BUBBLES!
I don’t know what magical powers these are made with, but all the kids we work with, no matter what age, love bubbles.
Bubbles for Everyone!
We often use bubbles with our early intervention kids (birth to 3). BUT, as mentioned above, bubbles can also be used with school aged kiddos as well. When you are playing with your child, take out the bubbles and blow (or shoot) depending on the bubble toy you have. When you see the child is interested/engaged, this is how you can use them to promote speech and language…
Bubbles can encourage reciprocity, joint attention and many other great, important early language skills. Take turns blowing bubbles. Say things like, “mommy’s turn”, and “your turn”. Encourage the child to take turns and praise them when they do.
Point to the floating bubbles and have the child follow your point and gaze. You can say things like “big bubble is floating up!” or “look at the little bubble!”.
Encourage your child to say a word to get the bubbles, such as “open”, “more”, “again”, “out”, “blow”, and “bubbles”. If your child is at the 2-word phrase level with oral expression, have them attempt to put two words together such as “more bubble”, “open bubble”, “pop bubble”, and “open please”.
A great way to encourage a child to use words, signs, etc. is through communicative temptation. In this scenario, in order to communicate that they want the bubbles, place the bubbles out of reach or tighten the lid on the bubbles, so they can’t get any more without making a request.
If targeting articulation, you can have the child takes turns with bubbles while practicing speech sound productions or trials of a specific sound. If you’re using bubbles with a younger child, they work great to target the earliest developing consonant sounds, which are /b/, /p/, and /m/, or what we call bilabials (produced by putting your lips together). There are so many words we use while playing with bubbles that start with these sounds, such as “pop”, “more”, and “big”.
Blowing bubbles is an activity many speech language pathologists use to promote oral motor skills, which deal with the lips, tongue, and cheeks. Blowing bubbles develops these small muscles as they pucker their lips and blow bubbles. Strengthening these muscles is important for developing their ability to form clear sounds when speaking and to eat and swallow safely.
And, last, but certainly not least, you can use bubbles as an incentive or reward, which you save for the end of the session. Creating a visual schedule and putting a picture of the bubbles at the end of the schedule so the child has something to work towards can be very motivating!
Thanks for tuning in to read about our favorite toys/games for promoting speech and language while at home with your little ones (or as a therapist in the home or clinic). At Sol we highly recommend this toy to all our families and fellow therapists! Also, check out our other toy spotlights like this one and this one.
If you live in the Austin area and have concerns about your child’s speech and/or language and would like to seek additional help beyond what your school based speech language pathologist may be able to provide, click here for more information on our speech and language evaluation and/or therapy services for children of all ages.
6448 E Hwy 290 Suite E-106,
Austin, TX 78723
Sol Speech & Language Therapy
555 Round Rock W Dr E-221,
Round Rock, TX 78681
Sol Speech & Language Therapy offers personalized skilled intervention to those struggling with their speech and language skills. Services offered include screening, consultation, and comprehensive evaluation. We also provide one-on-one and/or group therapy for speech sound disorders, receptive/expressive language delay/disorder, stuttering/cluttering, accent reduction, and much more.