Picture of a young child playing with a popper sensory toy. Text reads "using poper sensory toys to encourage early language".

Using Popper Sensory Toys to Encourage Early Language

As soon as I saw these popper sensory toys I knew they’d be great for encouraging early language.  Tbh, I’m not sure what is it about these popper sensory toys but they are all the rage lately- they seem to be everywhere! I bought a few for my son, and he loves them too. Since I’m all about following the child’s lead, I’ve put together this post with ideas for how you can use sensory popper toys to encourage early language in your Early Intervention sessions (after all, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em….).

Text on a pink background reads "these sensory popper toys are great for encouraging early language". On the right is a selection of sensory popper toys in different shapes and styles.

What are popper sensory toys?

If I’m being honest, I’m not entirely sure what you call these toys!  I’ve seen them called ‘Pop Its’, ‘Popping Bubble Toy’, ‘Sensory Fidget Toy’, ‘Popper Sensory Toy’ and more! These popular sensory toys come in a huge range of shapes and sizes!  They are made of silicone, so are completely washable, making them ideal for in-person therapy.  They are double-sided and have little bubbles that you can push. When you flip it over, you can push them back again.  They’re ideal for including in your Speech Therapy sessions, because they’re very motivating and you can get tonnes of repetitions because of the nature of the toy!

How can I use popper sensory toys to encourage early language?

Picture of a child's hands popping an ice cream style popper toy. The text on the right reads "model words like pop, push, gone, all done, turn, wow, more, again".

Use these popper sensory toys to model early words.  For example, you can model “push” each time the child pops one of the bubbles.

Model symbolic sounds and exclamatory words, such as “pop”, “wow”, “oo!”

Encourage turn taking, by taking it in turns to pop a bubble. You can model “my turn”, “your turn” each time.

You can encourage core words such as “more”, “again”, “all done”, “gone” while popping all the bubbles.

If you have a few different popper sensory toys, you can offer the child a choice of which popper they want to play with.

If the child is highly motivated by the toy, you could put it in sight but out of reach (i.e., it’s a communication temptation), so they’ll have to request it to play with. They may do this by pointing, reaching, or using a word or sign.

These sensory toys are also great for developing pointing skills, as it helps children practise isolating their index finger for pointing.

If you want to see one of these popper fidget toys in action, I made a Reel over on Instagram showing some of the target words you can model while little ones play with these popper sensory toys.

Other skills to target using popper sensory toys in Speech Therapy

You can use these popper sensory toys for so many things. Check out these posts by some of my SLT/SLP friends for more ideas!

More Blog Posts:
Rose at Cooking up Good Speech has shared a post all about how she uses “Pop it” fidgets with her older students.

Over on Instagram:
Rebecca from @adventuresinspeechpathology shared this Reel with how many reps you can get with these popper sensory toys for speech sound activities.

Mandi from @pandaspeech shared this post with loads of ideas for using sensory poppers in Speech Therapy sessions.

For an interactive, digital option for the sensory popper toys, check out this post by Brooke from @simplyspeakingslt

Laura from @chatty_chops has shared a few ideas for using these popper fidget toys. This idea is perfect for feeding therapy, and this one is great for working on discrimination skills.

Picture of a fidget popper toy filled with pink slime. The text reads "add slime for an engaging sensory experience". Image and idea shared from @tophnem on Instagram with permission.

I hope you’ve discovered some new ways that you can use these awesome popper sensory toys in your Early Intervention/Speech Therapy sessions!  If you have other ways you’ve used these motivating fidget toys in your sessions, drop a comment below!

Check out my other posts if you want more ideas for how you can encourage early language development in your Early Intervention sessions.