Painting with Bubbles

By: Riley Horton, MS, CCC/SLP

Bio: Riley Horton is a 2011 graduate from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Art in Studio Art, a completion of leveling curriculum in Communication Disorders in 2014, and Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Northeastern State University in 2017. She has predominantly worked with children ages 1-16 in a private clinical setting. She continues to split her time between the clinic and the Little Light House. Riley provides speech, language and communication evaluation and intervention services for the pediatric population. Riley has a passion for assisting caretakers for carry-over of speech and language services in the home. She enjoys providing means of communication through different modes of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) by evaluating and providing intervention services to children with AAC needs. Riley currently works for the Little Light House in Tulsa, serving as a member on its transdisciplinary therapy team.

I am excited to teach you all some fun ways to incorporate language, speech, oral motor practice, and art by painting with BUBBLES!

How does this incorporate speech?

In this activity, we will focus on early sound development, narration, imitation, and requesting.

  • Blowing bubbles can help you focus on some of our early sounds; p, b, m, w, h, y, n, d in sounds, words, and short phrases.
  • Narration can be used to discuss the activity the child and parent are partaking in.
  • Imitation will be done by getting the child to focus on your mouth and attempt motor movements and/or sounds.
  • Requesting will be targeted by having the child request “more” when he/she wants to add more to their bubble painting.
  • Adaptations to encourage speech development for this activity: model these areas for your child with your own voice, use sign language and gestures to draw their attention, grab a device (if available) to demonstrate vocabulary; yes, no, more, bubbles, paint. If they are not able to blow, blow on their own, or have difficulty-assist them as best as you can and continue to incorporate these steps.

How does this incorporate oral motor development?

  • This activity requires articulators that we use for speech; mouth, jaw, tongue, cheeks. The action of blowing can help strengthen some of these muscles.
  • Straws tend to be one of the easier objects to begin practicing blowing.
  • Adaptations to encourage oral motor development: model these areas for your child, talk about the different parts of your face/mouth you will use, and bring attention to them on your child’s face through touch. Let them play with the straw and bring it to their mouth to explore it before getting started. Demonstrate blowing through the straw and let them feel the response of the blow on their hand. Again, assist them as needed.

Here is a list of supplies to get started:

  • Plastic containers, disposable solo cups, (can use other cups that are washable, but it will get messy)
  • Tempera or Acrylic paint in your child’s favorite colors or food coloring (if your child likes to taste test art projects)
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Water
  • Straws (can be any size or use multiple sizes to test suction with your kiddo)
  • A push pin (this is to poke a hole into the straw/s so the kids can’t drink the paint/bubble solution. The hole allows them to blow bubbles but will make it more difficult for them to suck up the solution. Can use food coloring instead if this worries you.)
  • Thick paper (construction, card stock, watercolor paper, can be printer paper if that’s all you have, but it may not hold up as well)

We hope you enjoy this fun spin on speech, language, and oral motor development!

Little Light House Speech Language Pathologist, Ms. Riley leads Little Light House students through a painting with bubbles language group in the downloadable video below. 

Painting with Bubbles Language Group

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