Stephanie Gerlich, MS, CCC-SLP, speech therapist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, has a specialty certification with Hanen Centre, an organization that provides numerous programs and treatment protocols for early intervention to help children develop expressive and receptive language skills.
Their programs are excellent, but Stephanie has know throughout her career that sometimes the simplest of strategies is the best. One great example is playing with bubbles. Bubbles are a number one go-to therapy tool in speech therapy. Why do we love them so much? Here are some of the many reasons:
- Bubbles are FUN for many different ages and levels of communication development.
- Bubbles are inexpensive and portable. Many children already play with bubbles at home, so the skills they learn while playing with them in therapy bridges between settings.
- Bubbles can be used to facilitate many different skills including:
o Joint attention and eye contact Build your child‚Äôs understanding of cause-effect and watch for anticipation and changes in facial expressions by pausing before you blow the bubbles.
o Requesting (e.g., more, please, bubbles, want, help). Requests can be modeled and adapted to fit the child‚Äôs level of communication. For example ‚Äúmore bubbles‚Äù may later become ‚Äú want more bubbles please‚Äù
o Vocabulary expansion and basic concepts (e.g., pop, blow, big, wet, catch, up, one, all). Sometimes I even work on body parts by popping the bubbles on a child‚Äôs hands, feet, or nose. They love it!
o Grammar use Depending on the child‚Äôs language skills, you may choose use your voice to highlight grammar markers (e.g., ‚ÄúI am popping the bubbles,‚Äù ‚ÄúI caught one,‚Äù ‚Äúyou popped it‚Äù).
o Turn taking It‚Äôs important to get face-to-face and play too. Even if your child can blow the bubbles by themselves, encourage your child to take turns with you, friends, or siblings. You can practice pronouns using ‚Äúmy turn‚Äù or ‚Äúyour turn.‚Äù If there is a third person in the play incorporate ‚Äúhe popped it‚Äù or ‚Äúshe did.‚Äù
o Oral motor skills such as lip rounding needed to produce ‚Äúooo‚Äù and ‚Äúw‚Äù sounds and backward tongue movements needed to produce ‚Äúk‚Äù and ‚Äúg‚Äù sounds.
o Articulation I often use bubbles to work on early lip sounds b/bubbles, p/pop, and m/more
- Bubbles are a great way to temp children to communicate and are typically highly motivating.
If you need more official proof, check out this article from Hanen:
Our team of 8 speech therapists are true bubble experts! They can show families how to transform everyday toys and activities into child development opportunities!