Bubbles. Wonderful fun for kids of all ages and especially beneficial to children in need of oral sensory input. Used by speech language pathologists and occupational therapists, bubble blowing offers loads of sensory fun and with a bit of creativity can teach a few lessons at the same time.
Explore the boundless bubbling fun below to garner:
- auditory input
- fine motor practice
- olfactory input
- tactile input
- visual input
- vestibular input
- proprioceptive input
Auditory Exploration with Bubbles
After blowing a number of bubbles and working together to clap, poke or slap-pop them, think of all the alternative objects that you can make bubble shapes out of such as a a blown up plastic bag, a balloon, etc.
Gather these items.
Make “bubbles” with them and then experiment with the popping sound each makes when popped in different ways – with a pin, with a stomp, by clapping, etc.
With younger children, take this activity up an academic notch by noting predictions and results.
Create a simple T-chart or make a K-W-L chart. A K-W-L charts is what I Know, what I Want to know and what I Learned.
With older children, be true scientists using hypothesis, prediction, experiment, evaluation/improvement and confirmation.
Oral & Fine Motor Artwork with Bubbles
Using colored bubble mix, or regular bubble mix that you’ve put a bit of food coloring into, blow bubbles onto a large sheet of paper. If your child is allergic to artificial dyes, consider a natural dye alternative.
Explore More >> Art Therapy Solution Center
When outlining, use a counter-clockwise motion, if possible, as making counter-clockwise circles is a useful pre-writing exercise.
Then, let the paper dry and you’ll have your very own bubble collage.
Enjoy it as is, or take it one step further by coloring in each bubble.
And don’t forget, if you use primary colored bubble-mix for this activity, to note any color-mixing that occurs!
Become a Scent-sational Nose Detective with Bubbles
Purchase scented bubble mix in at least three different “flavors or scents” or make your own mix.
To make your own mix, divide the bubble mix into several small containers and add a few drops of differently scented essential oil to each.
Use each mix in the traditional way – one at a time – having children not only blow bubbles, but also sniff, sniff, sniff to guess each scent.
Blindfold children who will tolerate blindfolds to add to the fun and heighten their olfactory sense, the sense of smell.
Blow bubbles into something that will “catch” their scent, such as a light cotton tee shirt hung on a laundry line or some thin paper. Do the sniff test on these.
Wait a bit and sniff again. How long does it take for the scent to become too weak to smell?
Explore Spheres Proprioceptively with Bubbles
Get their fine-motor skills working by making bubble wands in different shapes using pipe cleaners twisted into closed shapes.
Or, simply use a variety of shaped bubble wands.
Then, blow lots and lots of bubbles.
Ask the children what shape the bubble mix starts out as in the wands. Then, have them note what shape it becomes as bubbles float in the air. No matter what shape bubbles begin as on a wand, they always turn into spheres!
For extra academic interest, check out some library resources or do some Internet research to discover why a bubble is always a sphere.
Explore More >> Home Science Tools: Bubbles
Once noted, act out being bubbles. Here comes the proprioceptive fun. Have children form their bodies into different shapes. Imitate the bubble mix stretching from a wand, snapping away and floating in the air as a sphere before, finally, popping.
Tactile Exploration with Bubbles
Put bubble mix, liquid soap or dish detergent into the bottom of a sink, dish pan or sensory table.
Add some water.
After having children use one tool, ask them if they think the next tool they use will make more foamy bubbles or less?
How about larger bubbles or smaller ones?
Have them hypothesize why each tool makes the type of bubbles it does.
For extra tactile fun, “hide” toys in the deep, bubbly foam. Encourage the children to search for the toys using only their hands or their feet. Blindfold if need be. Then clean up for more water fun.
Swing Pop the Bubbles
For some vestibular fun, blow bubbles at a child who is on a swing.
See how many the child can pop with his or her feet while pumping.
Count as you go to get in some math learning.
Find a large open space.
Predict where the bubbles will go and, then, watch them, tracking them visually until they pop or move from sight.
My Bubble Contest
Add some fun by having a “my bubble” contest.
You blow your bubble. Children blow theirs.
Each tracks their own bubble, running to where the bubbles finally pop or disappear and discover whose went the farthest.
While doing so, practice estimating and measuring.
Choose one bubble to track. Guess how many inches, footsteps, hops, or body lengths it will travel.
Then track the bubble’s journey.
Estimate the distance and, then, measure to see if the estimation was correct.
Are you bubbling over with ideas now? Break out your bubble mix, put your sensory thinking cap on and go enjoy some ethereal, edifying sense-ational fun this summer!
If you tackle any of these activities, snap a pic and share it with us on Facebook!