Top Toddler Talk Toys – Big Bubbles!
Bubbles are like A magic potion -> THEY CAN instantly boost toddler talking skills!
Toddler Toys need to be fun! Everyone loves BUBBLES making them one of the best toddler toys out there! Below are 4 critical areas of toddler development that can sky rocket just with the use of BUBBLES!! Toddler years are crucial for later academic and social success - so have fun with bubbles while your child magically learns!
Dr Sandra McMahon, Speech-Language Pathologist, PhD outlines below & in the FREE printable download at the end of the blog, just how great bubbles are for learning. What a FUN way to ensure your child is meeting their full potential. Dr McMahon in her blogs provides great parent and professional toddler resources. They include top toddler activities, milestone information and toddler toys that can be used during PLAY & EVERYDAY interactions with toddlers to boost speech, language & learning.
So How Can Bubbles help Toddler Talk & Learning?
There are some obvious toddler first words to teach with bubbles – like "bubbles" and "pop" - both with speech sounds like /b/ & /p/ that are typically seen early in development. This toddler toy however has SO much more to offer+++
Many Speech Therapists use bubbles EVERYDAY in their Speech Therapy for children. It could be the number one toddler toy in their kit! Bubbles are so easy to get and we have added bubble recipes in the Bubble download!.
There are heaps of different kinds of bubbles. Just changing how you blow the bubbles or what container they are in can be like introducing a whole new toddler toy!
There is no end of different kinds of wands. Each wand give off different amounts of bubbles.
There are even bubble guns and bubble machines so bubbles magically appear before "pop" and they are gone!
Bubbles are not just for little people though! There are some really cool experiments you can do with bubbles for the primary school age children like the Bubble Experiment kits.
The non-spill bubbles are super for little toddlers. You can always buy the big containers of bubbles and refill them too! Often the bubble containers are linked to characters that are loved by toddlers like Spiderman & Thomas – these are great as you can then link your toddler talk to the actions and stories associated with the characters. This gives bubble time a broader learning experience.
When you see your child “playing with bubbles” – know they are also focusing, looking, & vocalising. Here are some specific toddler activities you can consider in your bubble play to get the most out of this simple toddler toy.
Let's FOCUS on BUBBLES
F = FOCUS on speech, language & Learning areas
O = Observe what level your child is at!
C = Communicating socially with others
U = Understanding Comes before Talking
S = Speech: saying sounds, words & sentences
F = FOCUS on Bubble Play!
O = Observe Your Child
Get some bubbles – start blowing – see what your child does!!!
Any smiles, excited looks, noises, exclamations (uh oh, wow) or words? Any signs they are worried the bubbles will touch them or do they chase and catch them? Any requesting to hold the bottle or wanting to blow? Are the requests made by reaching, whinging or words?
C = Communicating
Social communication begins with attending to what someone else is doing or saying. A key to listening and learning is to make eye contact with the person talking. Bubbles are great for achieving eye contact. Try blowing a bubble, catching it on the wand ( long lasting bubbles are great for this), and holding the bubble up at your eye level. The bubble will draw their gaze to your eyes! As they look at you and the bubble "say pop" and let them pop the bubble! You have achieved and reinforced joint attention!
What is Joint attention?
This is where you and your child are BOTH FOCUSED at the same thing at the same time (e.g., either both looking at or taking turns with the bubbles). Poor joint attention is common in children that are late talkers. If children are not attending to what you are looking at then they are less likely to be listening to the names of the objects. This can slow speech development.
Does this sound like a child you know?
Then have a look at the Top Talk FOCUS on TODDLER TALK online eProgram for parents as a whole step is dedicated to attention; & includes an online ATTENTION assessment as a guide. Joint attention can be typically observed from 6 months of age. `
Get up and move around as you are blowing the bubbles – don’t always just sit down, blow and let the child run around popping them. By moving around the child needs to follow your movements and re-engage in looking at you each time you have to blow more bubbles. This movement activity is great for the little ones that have “high reving engines” and need to be moving a bit when learning.
Another social skill is what Speech Therapists call Communicative Intent. Requesting is a great skill for everyday interactions and can be developed with the magic bubble potion!
Children can make requests without spoken words but we can move them along the learning path to help them use their words to ask for things. They may want to hold the wand or bottle. Children can find it hard to blow & might need to ask for help. Bubbles give them reasons to communicate which is exactly what communicative intent is all about.
As they have a strong need they are more likely to "ask" or request help, an object or an action. You can encourage word attempts, gesture or sign to get more bubbles; or use their current communication systme such as PEC (pictures). If they use gestures you could model a single word like "more" or "me" that they can try along with their gestures.
WHAT IS COMMUNICATIVE INTENT?
This it the ability for a child to know that if they interact with some one they will get aneed met. They can ask for something, ask some one to do something for them or get information. Even very young babies will show communicative intent by reaching for what they want and then looking at you to get it.
At first children use pointing and taking people by the hand to what they want. By 18 months to 2 years children are typically uing words to communication their needs and wants.
Another whole step in the TOP TALK FOCUS on TODDLER TALK online eProgram is dedicated to seeing what motivates your child to communicate with others and if their way of communicating is OK for their age or whether it could do with a boost.
Can they express their emotions with out biting or hitting? The program is action packed with video examples of games and activities you can use to help toddler's to communicate their needs and wants effectively - before behaviour issues set in from frustration.
U = Understanding
Understand generally comes long before toddlers say their first words.
By commenting on your and your child's actions while playing with bubbles you can help them learn the meaning of so many words. The key is to match the thing or action at the exact same time as your child is FOCUSed on it. Encourage an understanding of actions and not just things. Action words like: blow, reach, kick, stomp , wipe up or wash, stir, mix, shake are just a few you can model during bubble play. There are also location words – wand in and out, on wand, wipe off, blow here and there, bubble goes up and down. More vocabulary ideas are listed in the FREE BUBBLE DOWNLOAD below - just click on the link and grab your copy.
S = Speech
Before kids say words they need to be able to imitate. Generally imitation of actions (e.g, Peek a boo, jumping) comes before imitating or saying words. Bubbles are great for that. Imitation can be strengthened by encouraging them to copy you pop the bubbles in lots of different ways - pointing a finger to pop, clapping the bubbles, flat hand “smashing” them, stomping on them, kicking them," karate" chopping them like a ninja turtle (pow pow).
Why is imitation important?
Research has shown that imitation is a key skill for learning. In typical development more sophisticated imitation skills develop as the child gets older. Babies as young as 4 months can copy simple physical movements. Toddlers go from imitating big motor actions (e.g, clapping) to copying mouth movements & funny sounds (e.g., raspberries, woo, uh Oh) to initiating words they hear around them. Some children do not move along this developmental continuum of imitation development. These children are at risk of being a later talker and can find learning more difficult.
The Top Talk FOCUS on TODDLER TALK Online Program dedicates a complete step to imitation. The programs assists in identifying what level a child's imitation skills via it's online assessment. The program has heaps of video examples with Dr Sandra McMahon and children from her clinic. Games idea to boost imitation are provided in handouts and scripts. Strengthening imitation will be invaluable for preparing a child for Prep.
Blowing and sucking are good for encouraging children to copy at the mouth level. This is closer to copying mouth movements to say words. Reward toddlers for trying or pretending to blow the bubbles. You can pretend to be eating the bubbles (like a dinosaur) so copy opening and snapping your mouth closed to “eat” the bubbles.
Once children are copying small actions and hopefully copying fun sounds we aim to help children imitation words and sentences. Start with words you think they understand and are familiar with (e.g., up, go, pop, bubbles, all gone). Saying the words over and over repeating the same game with the bubbles will provide the best opportunity for your toddler to try to imitate. Reward any spoken attempts even if they are not perfect (e.g, "po-" for "pop"). Slowing build up the length of the sentence you are saying in the hope they will copy e.g., "I see a bubble", "pop big bubble".
DEVELOPMENT OF CAUSE-EFFECT IS VITAL FOR TODDLER TALK!
Cognitive or thinking skills interact with toddler's talking development. Early problem solving begins when young children start to realise if they "act" in a certain way, there will be a consequence. This can be as simple as "if I pull the rug the toy comes closer". It can be as complicated as having to find solutions to social friendship issues ("If I ask for a turn, I might get the toy"). Some children seem not to realise that if they "say words" then consequences will happen (e.g, they will get help to find a toy).
Cognitive skills such as developing "cause and effect" relationships assists toddlers to build their communication skills. Late talkers sometimes do not make connections between actions and consequences. Bubble games are great for developing these skills e.g., It builds an understanding that if I blow then bubbles are created; If I blow too hard it doesn't work; if no bubble film is on the wand no bubbles are made; If I touch them the bubbles disappear; if the bubble container is empty there will be no more bubbles! (e.g., deliberately run out). After children develop cause-effect relationships then you can begin to problem solve with them. What they can do to change an outcome? e.g., "What can we do so we can play with more bubbles?". They can over lay these thinking skills with talking skills.
MORE BUBBLE LEARNING IDEAS?
Hopefully this has given parents, educators & therapists some excellent reasons to have fun with bubbles! If you would like a summary of more ideas to use bubbles for learning and toddler talk Download the FREE BUBBLE PDF here . Great for parents AND educators planning documents!
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