New Descriptors of Talking and Thinking Bubbles


Hello all – I wanted to provide a copy of some slightly revised visuals I have been using lately to introduce “Talking” and “Thinking” bubbles to younger learners, and share an idea for therapy or social skill groups.    These “Bubbles” are simple visuals are essential tools to introduce the basic perspective concept of defining a “thought.”    This year, much of my caseload consists of younger learners on the autism spectrum kindergarten – 2nd grade.  Many of my students (even in the upper elementary grades) are very early in their perspective taking and theory of mind development.   I have found these visuals to be helpful “anchor visuals” to continually refer back to throughout various activities:

Thinking Bubble


Talking Bubble


You can get the PDF link of these visuals here:  Talk and Think Bubbles new

Here is one idea for an activity to use with younger learners to introduce “thoughts” versus “words”, and how thoughts are unknown to others, unless you “pop your thinking bubble so the words can fall into a talk bubble”  (actual language I use with kids.)

IDEA #1:   “My Secret Treat”

Ask kids to think of their favorite treat, or dessert.   Have some pictures of  dessert or treat options available for them to choose from if needed.    Here are some photos if you need them:   Dessert Thinking Bubble pics    Provide multiple copies of the same treat, in case more than 1 child wants to choose that one.   Cut the pictures out and lay them out for the students to look at.   Each child should choose a picture of their treat – keeping it hidden from the other groupmates.  Tell them to hold the picture tightly between their hands, close their eyes and make a picture of this treat in their mind.   Remind  them that it is a secret – don’t say any words.  Just make a secret picture in their brain.  (This task also helps activate non-verbal working memory skills – being able to “hold” a mental image in one’s mind.)

Instruct the students to open their eyes, but to keep hiding their picture in their hands.  Call each student up in front of the group, and  tape the treat picture on the back side of a double-sided thinking bubble.  Here is a template for one if you need it:  Thinking Bubble Print Here    Hold the bubble above the child’s head with the picture facing away from the peers.  Ask the other students to tell you what their classmate’s favorite treat is.  Quickly, point out that… we don’t know!  This information is still in his thinking bubble!  Use the visual described above of the thinking bubble to review what thinking bubbles are.   (An idea in your brain, silent – other people do not know what is in a thinking bubble, etc.)

Tell the child that you are going to “pop their thinking bubble so the words will fall out” and the child can now, “make a talking bubble” to tell the friends what their favorite treat is.  Make a tapping sound on the thinking bubble picture – (or I pretend to pop the bubble with one of those hand/finger pointers that teachers use), remove the taped picture from the backside of the thinking bubble and tape it to a talking bubble (found here if you need it:   Talking Bubble Print Here.)  Hold the talking bubble by the child’s mouth and instruct them to say the word of their favorite treat.    Review the descriptor of a “Talking Bubble”, provided above.

If some children choose the same treat, point out that they were “sharing a thinking bubble” with each other.  When they were making a picture of their favorite treat – they were sharing a thinking bubble by  having the same idea of their favorite dessert.

The BIG TAKE AWAY IDEA is to explain to the students that people usually do not know what is in another person’s thinking bubble.  But, if we “make a talking bubble” (a.k.a.  use our words), other people can find out what you want, and learn about your ideas.  These are important cues and concepts to reinforce with kids in this activity.

Watch for more ideas to use with learners to increase their understanding of thoughts that provides the foundation for further perspective taking skill development.

– Jill 🙂


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