Let's Talk About BUBBLES!

By Roxane Bélanger, M.O.A., SLP-C, Reg. CALSPO, Speech Language Pathologist, First Words Preschool Speech and Language Program of Ottawa and Renfrew County May 15, 2024

Did you ever meet a child who didn’t LOVE bubbles? I have yet to find one. This time of year is the perfect time to go outside and play with bubbles.

Blowing bubbles with your child is a great activity to grow their language skills. This simple activity can promote turn-taking, vocabulary, spatial concepts, sentence building and other developmental skills like imitation and coordination. Plus, it is a lot of fun!

There is so much to target with this simple and fun game! Think about the following communication goals when playing with bubbles:

1. Growing their vocabulary

  • Blowing bubbles encourages your child to use all kinds of different types of words.
  • Focus on naming objects (bubbles, wand, bottle). Describe using specific action words (blow, pop, catch, go).
  • Use spatial location words (in, on, up, down, high) and descriptive words (big, small, wet, dry, round, floaty).
  • Use opposites to talk about the bubbles: “ This bubble is big. But not this one; this one is tiny.”
  • Label and describe what you see when playing with bubbles with your child: "Wow, that bubble is so big. It is huge!"

2. Facilitating speech sound production

  • Bubbles are a great way to promote speech sound production.
  • For babies and young toddlers focus on the early sounds such as “w, p, b, m, t, d “. For example, if you want to promote the “b” and “p”, focus on words like “pop, bubbles, big, blow” Your little one will be super excited to shout, "Pop, pop, pop!" as they burst the bubbles in the air.
  • With older kids, change your target sound and words. Want to put the emphasis on velar sounds like “k” and “g”, choose new words like “catch, go, glide, quick, peek“. Repeat them often. Exaggerate the sound when you say the word.
  • Repetition is key when it comes to speech sound production. Repeat the same sounds and words over and over.

3. Expanding sentences

  • Use the “Plus +1 rule” to expand on your child’s sentence It’s simple; add one word to your child’s production. By repeating their words and sentences, you are reinforcing and building language skills. 
  • If your little one says “ba” for bubble, simply add 1 word and say “ big bubble”. If your older child says: “It’s a big bubble”, use the “plus 1 rule” and say: “It’s a big bubble floating”.
  • From time to time, ask questions like, "Do you see the bubbles?" or "Can you catch the bubbles?" This will give them the chance to develop their thinking and conversational skills.
  • When you repeat and expand on what they are saying, this helps them know you understand them, you are listening and most of all, you are interested in what they are saying.

Remember, it's all about interaction! Talking with your child while playing boosts their communication skills. So grab some bubbles, head outside, and watch your child's language skills soar as high as those bubble-filled skies!

What games are you playing with your kid this summer?