All children love bubbles. There are so many ways to support development of speech, language and communication with them. Here are our top tips of the best ways to use them!

Turn Taking:

First, you can blow bubbles for your child to pop. Encourage them to look towards you by using exaggerated facial expression and tone of voice to gain their attention. You might say ‘bubbles!’ as you hold the bubble pot up near to your face. Build anticipation of the bubbles being blown by saying ‘ready….steady….go!’. Use an excited tone of voice to comment e.g. ‘wow, bubbles!’, ‘pop the bubbles!’ and show them how to pop or catch the bubbles. Use repetitive language for your child to learn what the words and actions mean e.g. ‘bubbles, more bubbles, pop the bubbles’ and ‘pop pop pop’ as you do this.

Next, encourage your child to take a turn at blowing the bubbles. You might need to hold the bubble wand up to their mouth and show them how to blow e.g. say ‘blow’ and do the action for them to copy. Give lots of praise and show your excitement when they blow the bubbles to make this fun e.g. ‘yay!’, ‘well done’, ‘lots of bubbles!’.

Encourage Requesting:

If your child is not yet talking, you can encourage them to communicate using eye contact (looking at you to show they want something), gesture (like pointing or reaching for the bubble pot) or vocalisation (making sounds).

Encourage your child to make choices. For example, you might say ‘bubbles or book?’ as you hold up the two items. When your child reaches for the bubbles or looks towards them, show you have understood by saying ‘bubbles’.

If your child is beginning to use words, encourage them to copy new words from you. For example, whilst you hold the bubble wand in the air, you can say ‘bubbles’, ‘more’, ‘again’ and pause for your child to copy the words before you blow the bubbles. When your child uses a single word, model back a short phrase for them to hear how they can extend their language e.g. bubbles – ‘more bubbles’, ‘blow bubbles’.

Oro-motor Development:

Encourage the child to round their lips (show them how to do this) and blow the bubbles. You could also cut a wide straw to roughly 2 inches long and hold this in line with the bubble wand. Ask the child to blow through the straw – this way their lips will be rounded (around the straw). Breath control is also developed through this activity by using more force and control to blow the air through both the straw and the bubbles.

Speech sounds:

Typically, the first sounds to develop in children are 'p', 'b' and 'm'.

When blowing the bubbles practise the sounds on their own before saying the word – each time you pop a bubble say ‘p’. You will then get repetition of ‘p’ and can develop this to ‘pop!’. You can do the same with ‘b’ and turn this into ‘bubbles’.

Check out the video below to see Sam and Kathryn demonstrating the ‘bubble wobble noise’ technique that they learnt on their recent Articulation Disorder course:

Rewards:

Just play! Chase them, stamp on them, pop them with your nose. Doing this together develops joint attention and shared enjoyment through engaging with one another.

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