Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

July 17, 2013

Why Speech Therapists Love to Play with Bubbles

bubble therapy speech therapyBubbles are a number one go-to therapy tool for many pediatric Speech Therapists. Why do we love them so much? Here are some of the many reasons.

  1. Bubbles are FUN for many different ages and levels of communication development.
  2. 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.
  3. Bubbles can be used to facilitate many different skills including:
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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!
    • Grammar use.  Depending on the child‚Äôs language skills, you may choose use your voice to highlight grammar markers (e.g., ‚Äú I am popping the bubbles,‚Äù ‚ÄúI caught one,‚Äù ‚Äúyou popped it‚Äù).
    • 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
    • Oral motor skills such as lip rounding to produce ‚Äúooo‚Äù and ‚Äúw‚Äù sounds
    • Articulation. I often use bubbles to work on early lip sounds b/bubbles, p/pop, and m/more
  4. Bubbles are a great way to temp children to communicate and are typically highly motivating.

Ask your speech therapist how you can use bubbles at home to promote your child’s communication development.

Also, check out this new article from the Hanen Centre for more specific information on using bubbles to facilitate language with children on the Autism Spectrum.