Aim of the game:
This is a great way of giving your child a reason to communicate. Motivation is fundamental to communication and this fun game inspires children to request and communicate.
What you will need:
A balloon (NB: you can use a wind up toy as an alternative if your child has a latex allergy)
A balloon pump
A pot of bubbles
How to play:
- Sit opposite your child so you are face to face
- Introduce the bubbles showing your child the pot, labelling “bubbles”, dipping and blowing. Say “pop! pop!” as you and your child pop the bubbles.
- Introduce the balloon by showing your child the balloon and blowing up with the pump whilst singing the blow balloon song below…
“Blow, blow blow balloon getting very big, blow blow blow balloon now it’s very big” [*to the tune of ‘row, row, row your boat…’]
- Take the blown up balloon off the pump and hold at the end ready to release. Build up the anticipation with your child by saying ready….steady….go!
- Release the balloon allowing it to fly around the room.
- Once you’ve a gathered up the balloon again, hold the two items (bubble pot and balloon) up in front of your child and offer…
“bubbles or balloon?”
- Wait for your child to indicate to you which one they want. This may be by looking, reaching, pointing or vocalising to show you. As they get closer to a year old, they may also start making attempts at saying the words.
- Reward your child’s attempts at communicating to you by responding to their chosen request with either blowing bubbles for them or blowing up the balloon.
- You can repeat this several times so they learn the routine of the game and what is expect of them. Once you are ready to end the game indicate this to your child with “bubbles and balloon finished”.
How to extend:
- Instead of offering ‘bubbles or balloon?’, after a few turns pause but look expectantly at your child to allow your child the opportunity to initiate and request unprompted.
- If your child is requesting with single words then you can help your child to have a go at putting two words together by role model two words together for them:
“more bubbles or more balloon?”
- Introduce colour or size concepts by offering different choices e.g. ‘big bubbles or little bubbles?”, “red balloon or blue balloon?” etc.
- Introduce another person to help your child to learn to take turns and wait a little longer (e.g. a brother, sister, another adult or friend).
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