In any activity we do, be it play or a simple home routine such as bath time, it’s easy to create opportunities for language use each step of the way! Here’s how you can break down the simple play routine of blowing bubbles to give your child lots of opportunities to use language!
If the child points to, looks at, or walks towards the bottle of bubbles to indicate that he wants bubbles, you can ask “bubbles?”, and if the child nods, looks at you excitedly, or indicates with verbal or body language that he indeed does want to blow bubbles, you say, “BUBBLES!” to let him know you received the message.
Next, you grab the bottle of bubbles and ask, “shall we open?” or simply say, “open?”, he may look at you, look at the bubbles, alternate eye contact between you and bubbles, or even try and say “open”. Repeat “open?” and then let him know you received the message of his request by confirming, “OPEN!” “Okay, let’s open!” You can also show the child the gesture for open and provide hand-over-hand help to help him make the gesture.
Next, dip the bubble wand in the soap, and bring it close to your mouth. Before you blow the first round of bubbles, say, “ready, set….(pause for 2 seconds), GO!” and then blow the bubbles! Repeat this 3-4 times, increasing the length of the pause each time. On try number 4 or 5, say “ready, set….”followed by a long 5-second pause. Count with Mississippi’s to make sure you’re pausing long enough. While pausing, make sure you look at the child with expectant eyes letting him know that it’s HIS turn to say “go!”.
Repeat this routine every time you play with bubbles so that your child starts to predict the language that will be used. This will make him more comfortable taking his turn to say some of the words in this play routine.
BONUS: As he starts to use some of these words on his own, add new words such as “pop” when popping the bubbles, “open bottle” instead of just “open”, and “ready, set, GO BUBBLES!”