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Space bubbles

Supporting tamariki to understand personal space and develop social skills. An activity made in collaboration with Megan Lewis, a speech and language therapist

Firstly, the science...

Personal space is the bubble of comfort around us that we all have, it's about how close or far we like to be from others. We all have different feelings about how large our space bubble is. When we begin to understand that everyone has personal space bubbles we we begin to become more considerate and see how we can prevent making others feel uncomfortable. 

Why this activity?

Learning to respect others' space and their comfort levels is a key part of building connections with others and developing social skills.

You'll need

Your amazing tamariki

What to do

Start the session with a kōrero around space bubbles and why they are important, explain that our space bubble is the area around our body that makes us feel safe. We can invite people into our space bubble, for example for a hug. But when people come into our space bubble uninvited, like when they're standing too close while talking to us, this doesn't always feel good. 


Have tamariki pair up and take turns walking towards each other saying “stop” when they feel that their bubble has been popped, to add a bit of fun tamariki could say “pop” once they feel that their space bubble has been popped. After this short activity, have a kōrero about how tamariki felt when their bubble popped and how we are able to invite people into our bubble for example, someone might be holding their hands out for a hug and how we can choose to accept the hug, or not. Ask tamariki to consider other instances when we invite others into our space bubble (sports, games) and how we can be respectful of others' personal space.

Kaiako card

To make things easy, print this kaiako card and do your planning later.

Save, print, and share the Talk Together tips How can we support tamariki developing social skills? poster. A reminder of all the awesome ways we can support tamariki and the development of their social skills

Whānau engagement

Share the Being Real Parents podcast featuring speech and language therapist Megan Lewis who talks about some tips to support tamariki with their communication. Megan also talks about when to see a Speech and Language Therapist and what they can do to assist tamariki.

And to add to this...

Try our My Point of View activity which supports tamariki in understanding others perspectives and developing empathy.

Curriculum links

Health and PE Curriculum

Personal health and physical development: A1 - Personal growth and development

Relationships with other people: C2 - Identity, sensitivity, and respect

Relationships with other people: C3 - Interpersonal skills

We'd like to say ngā mihi nui

To Megan Lewis who collaborated on this activity with us. Megan is a speech and language therapist and the director of Talk Together. Talk Together is a collection of speech and language therapists who work to provide evidence-based as well as neurodiverse affirming practices for speech and language therapy for tamariki aged up to 18.

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