Straw Hockey

As I have mentioned in previous posts, we are trying to encourage Big Brother to expand his vocabulary beyond grunts and “up-pa!” (up) in order to tell us what he wants.  Now, I’m sure he is doing perfectly fine in terms of his verbal development, but given that he is a twin, I know there is a higher likelihood of a delay, so I’m trying to keep an eye on things.  
As I was searching for suggestions on reducing drooling and “tongue-i-ness” in speech (a technical term, I’m sure), I came across some great suggestions, many of which included the use of straws.  Here is one activity which can help strengthen the muscles of the mouth all while keeping the kids (hopefully) engaged.  I call it “Straw Hockey.”

All you need are some straws and cotton balls.

The idea is to get the kiddos to blow through the straw and use their own air to move the cotton balls.  Simple enough, right?  Well, just keep in mind that depending on the age of your little ones, it may not be simple enough.  I think the first time I blew through my straw to demonstrate, Big Brother was a bit spooked and ran away. And, Little Brother decided it was more fun to chew on the straws.  

But, I tried again a few days later, and then again a few more days later, and eventually we made a bit of progress.  As you can see in the picture above, Big Brother will now blow air in and out, but we are still working on our aiming skills.  But, that is sort of what is great about this activity.  It can grow with your kids and can be easily modified in so many ways.  Maybe they will have fun just blowing air in your face…which you can totally encourage by making silly faces when they do so.  Or, maybe they just like the sound of the air blowing back and forth through the straw.

Or maybe they can just work on their cleaning up skills by picking up the cotton balls after you blow them off the table over and over and over again. :)

If you have questions regarding speech and your little one, this seemed like a pretty helpful website, written by a speech therapist,  Of course, the best bet is probably always to ask your pediatrician if you have concerns.  

Suggested Age:  16+ Months



  1. Hey Holli! Just discovered your blog through FB and LOVE IT!! Wanted to throw it out there that when we were working with an OT and speech therapist for H, we had her use a straw to eat her yogurt, applesauce, etc. It was suppose to help build those mouth muscles and make her more aware/less sensitive to textures. It was fun for her and made a bit less mess than H using a spoon independently with those potentially messy foods.
    Laura H.

  2. Thanks, Laura! That is an awesome idea about the straw with the food. I’ve been hesitant to use it to teach them to blow bubbles in drinks, even though I read that it would help the muscles. But, I love that the straw could actually reduce the mess with yogurt…something we would definitely welcome around here. :) We will definitely give it a try!

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