Using Bubbles in Speech-Language Therapy

Project Play’s five ways to promote language development through playing with bubbles!

Ask any pediatric speech-language pathologist what their go to therapy toys are and bubbles will surely be on their list! Bubbles are a great tool for both therapy sessions and indoor play time at home during these cold winter months. Children LOVE bubbles making it an easy toy with which to capture their attention. Bubbles can be used to help children learn new vocabulary, produce their first sounds, encourage appropriate social skills and set a fun therapy environment!

Here are Project Play Therapy’s 5 reasons to use bubbles in therapy and at home:

1. Encourage Eye Contact

Bubbles are a great toy for promoting eye contact! Capture your child’s attention in a bubble blowing game. Let their anticipation build between each time you use them and wait for them to make eye contact with you before blowing bubbles again. This skill can benefit children in many different social settings.

2. Practice Turn Taking

While handing the bubbles back and forth, you can say “my turn” and “your turn!” You can also take turns popping the bubbles! These activities will teach children about turn taking both in playing and in conversation. This is yet another great way for pediatric speech therapists help their clients improve their social skills. Speak with one of our therapists to learn more about pediatric social and speech therapy services we offer.

3. Asking Questions

Bubbles can encourage a child to both ask and answer questions. Hand the bubbles to the child with the lid screwed on tight. After trying to open the bubbles themselves they will have to ask you for help. Conversely, you can work on asking them different types of questions. You can ask “wh” questions like “where did the bubble pop” or “who wants more bubbles.” You can work on yes or no questions by asking “do you want more bubbles” or “do you want to blow bubbles?”

4. Teaching Sounds

Bilabial sounds are sounds we make by both lips coming together to momentarily stop airflow. The three bilabial consonants are /b/, /p/ and /m/. They are some of the easiest sounds to make and are therefore generally the first sounds a child will produce. Using bubbles in therapy presents the opportunity to repeatedly use the words “bubble,” “pop,” “more,” “blow,” “up” and “bye bye.” Sit facing your child and make eye contact with them while you say these words. Model how to shape your lips to create these sounds and say the words slowly to encourage children to repeat the new sounds and words.

5. Introduce New Vocabulary

Playing with bubbles is an incredible way to introduce new vocabulary to children! Adjectives and action words can be introduced such as sticky, wet, big, small, clear, blow, pop, play, turn, stomp, again, want, and more. You can also teach body parts as bubbles land on them such as head, shoulders, finger, hand, foot, etc. New vocabulary with bubbles can be adjusted to a child’s developmental stage as well.

Have you seen your child develop in others ways by playing with bubbles? Let us know by commenting below!