In one of my previous posts, “Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles!” I listed several speech and language skills that could be targeted while blowing bubbles with a young child. In this post, I have a few more skills that can be addressed while blowing bubbles.
Encourage your child to pop the bubbles in different ways:
- Poking the bubbles with the index finger will encourage an isolated point, a fine motor skill. Once the skill is achieved, the child can more effectively point to indicate wants and needs and engage in joint attention.
- Pinching the bubbles between the thumb and index fingers will encourage the use of a neat pincer grasp, another fine motor skill. Young children need this skill in order to efficiently pick up small objects and will one day use it to hold a pencil correctly for writing.
- Stomping the bubbles while standing up encourages use of the gross motor muscles.
- Clapping the bubbles between the two hands encourages the child to bring his hands together at the midline of the body, which requires the two sides of the brain to work together.
You can use these motor activities when playing with bubbles and integrate some additional cognitive and language skills.
- Motor imitation – Have your child copy your action: poking like a bumblebee, pinching like a crab, stomping like an elephant, or clapping like a seal.
- Following directions – Give your child a verbal direction without modeling the action to be done.
- Imitating 2-word phrases – As you and your child pop the bubbles in a variety of ways, use 2-word phrases to describe what you are doing, and encourage your child to repeat them. “Pinch bubble,” or “Clap bubbles.”
- Using verbs – You perform the action and have your child narrate what you are doing. “You poked the bubble,” or “You stomped on the bubble.”
- Engaging in pretend play – Your child can act out how one of the animals listed above would pop the bubbles or he can think of an original one to act out.
In my previous bubbles post, I discouraged the use of a bubble machine because the key to the activity was the interaction between the adult and the child in requesting bubbles. However, for this set of activities, I think the use of a bubble machine is fine, since the goal is not requesting. The adult and child still need to be interacting for it to be effective, but a bubble machine could free up the adult’s hands for some good clean bubble popping fun.