LLC July 2016 Article

"As They Grow..."

July 2016

Using Bubbles as a Teaching Tool

Bubbles are an image of summer fun.  But they can be more than just a toy, they can be a great teaching tool to help your child learn new skills.

“More, more, more!”  Because bubbles pop, they are a great reinforce that your child has to keep asking for (unlike a toy that you would have to take away to get them to repeated request more).  After it pops, WAIT, and as your child reaches for it or vocalizes, say “more” and even model the sign (on each hand, bring your fingertips and thumb together and then touch the tips the other finger’s hands repeatedly).  If your child is saying “more” model two word phrase, such as “more bubble”.  Expand your child’s vocabulary with words like: pop, wet, up/down” and turn taking (my/your turn).

When your child really wants something, that is when they are most likely to talk more.  Let you child know you are going to play with bubbles, even give them the container (but don’t open it).  This will create the opportunity for your child to request “help” or “open”.  Create more problems around the activity for your child, ask “How should we open it?” and give some choices, “turn or tap”.  Don’t immediately take the wand out, let them try and if they struggle, put your finger in and give some suggestions “wand out or stir”.  Do what your child says (even if it’s wrong) and let you child experience the power of communication.  

Blowing from a bubble wand requires a child to round their lips and use graded breath.  This skill is the foundation of producing speech sounds, such as “ooo”, “oh”, “ow”, “w” (you also use your lips together to make other speech sounds like “p, b, m”).  It can be frustrating for a child when the bubble won’t blow.  Make sure your child is sitting up straight and supported for the best breath support.  Cut a straw to 2-3 inches in length and place it in your child’s mouth to get his/her lips rounded.  Place the wand in front of the straw and model blowing slow.  As your child becomes successful, remove the straw once he/she starts blowing or gets the movement down without it.

Article written by Pediatric Interactions Clinical Director, Sarah Rosten