Have you ever had one of those moments when a kid starts chattering away about something they seem to know the world about and you’re left with nothing but Marlin’s words from Finding Nemo?
Pay attention next time. You might find that the babble stems from the overwhelming number of breaths in each sentence or that parts of words or sentences get left off all together. Speaking isn’t just a simple matter of converting air into sounds. Speech requires a lot of muscle development especially around the lungs and diaphragm. Weak or underdeveloped muscles can lead to our little ones sounding like Squirt the turtle.
So what can we do? Asking a child to do breathing exercises sounds about as fun as asking them to clean their room. Luckily for us, it’s not that bad. It can be as easy as asking them to play with this fun new bag of toys or letting them blow bubbles in their chocolate milk. Sorry guys. Turns out the bubble blowing has its place. Here are some tools and activities that are both fun and inexpensive to help your kids develop their breathing.
Straws. Straws come in all shapes and varieties. Kids will be focused on using their favorite color or getting their favorite drink and they’ll be none the wiser that you’re aiding in their speech development. Straws are a good place to start because they allow practice in both sucking and blowing and assists in development of oral and facial muscles while your at it. Besides blowing bubbles in their drinks, you can use straws to suck up foods of varying viscosities like pudding or applesauce, picking up lightweight materials and dropping them in a bowl or bucket for a game, or blowing bubbles in soapy water or homemade silly putty.
Bubbles. Bubbles are fun at just about any age. They promote breathing and give some practice in eye-tracking as well. After working those lungs to blow the bubbles, kids can chase, stomp, poke and blow the bubbles around in the air.
Balloons. Balloons take a lot of muscles definition and air to fill up. And honestly, what kid doesn’t like balloons? The games you can play with balloons are endless. Kids glean entertainment just from seeing how big they can get them. Letting the balloons go and watching them fly around the room, playing around with the different noises they can make as the air escapes, and letting the air blow out on their faces are all fun ways to allow children to blow up the balloon repeatedly. If you want to tie them off, games like keep away, volleyball and don’t let it touch the ground are great ways to keep the play going.
Wind instruments. Instruments like harmonicas and recorders, which you can find made of plastic for great prices, give children a chance to practice long and short breaths. They’ll love the chance to dabble in music while they unknowingly learn breathing techniques and about making patterns and rhythms.
Other toys such as pinwheels, whistles, party blowers (fun for knocking things over with), and kazoos can all be used to promote play, laughter and muscle development. Although you might want to invest in some ear plugs while you’re at it.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs