Playing with bubbles is one of those activities that essentially every child loves. When I’m working with a child who is having a hard time, my go to solution is usually bubbles! Bubbles just seem to make everyone happy!
Benefits of Bubble Activities
Not only are bubbles fun, but playing with bubbles can target so many developmental skills! They can be used in so many different ways.
Bubbles and Oral Motor Skills
The tried and true way to play with bubbles is to simply blow them using a small wand! This is a great activity for children who need to strengthen their mouth. Children with a tendency to keep their mouth open, who drool, or who have difficulty eating challenging textures can benefit from blowing bubbles.
Many children can learn the skill of blowing bubbles from a wand around 18 months of age and some may even be able to do it before this. You can give it a try around 14-15 months, I have seen some little ones be able to do it at this age!
Sometimes children have a hard time learning this skill because they have to line the wand up just right when their mouth and grade the force of how hard to blow. Young children commonly put the want right up to their mouth which causes the bubble solution to get on their mouth and no longer be in the wand to blow. This can frustrate the child and also tastes gross!
Bubble blowers and pipes can help make it easier to blow. If your child can blow a whistle, they can blow bubbles with these toys! You can also practice with whistles and blowers to work on this skill.
Bubbles and Fine Motor Skills
One of my favorite activities for young toddlers is to let them hold a no-spill bubble container (like these Fubbles) in one hand while taking the wand in and out with their other hand. This is great for bilateral coordination and for them to learn how to orient the wand correctly to fit it inside of the container.
Children can also practice pointing with an isolated finger (their index/pointer finger) to pop the bubbles. You can either let them pop the bubbles this way mid air or you can try to catch them on the wand to make it easier. You can also encourage them to pinch the bubbles or clap their hands to pop them.
Bubbles guns are a good way to work on grip strength while squeezing the trigger. Sometimes these squeeze toys can be hard to find, but I absolutely love them for working on finger strength.
To work on bigger arm movements, you can use a large bubble wand and encourage the child to wave it around to make the bubbles.
For other hand strengthening activities, check out our article Hand Strengthening Activities for Kids.
Bubbles and Gross Motor Skills
Bubbles can also be used to encourage a child to balance on one foot while stomping the bubbles with the other foot. This is great for working on single leg stance. You could also have them kick the bubbles for an added challenge.
Children can also jump on top of the bubbles to try to pop them.
Bubbles and Communication Skills
Similar to using bubbles to work on poking with one finger, this same motion works on the related skill of pointing. Pointing is important for communication to show another person something.
Heidi Hanks at Mommy Speech Therapy explains that bubbles can also be used to encourage children to make requests and use signs (such as “more”) to ask for what they want. Since children tend to love bubbles, they are often very motivated to communicate with this activity!
Forming our mouths to blow bubbles also works on the same mouth position needed to make the sounds /w/, oo, and /o/ and strengthens the tongue to better produce the sounds /k/, /g/, and ng.
Blowing bubbles even works on the abdominal muscles needed for endurance while speaking.
Bubbles and Sensory Processing
For children who are sensitive to touch and avoid certain textures, playing with bubbles can be beneficial! It’s inevitable that some of the bubble solution will get on your hands or body after playing for a bit. Because bubbles are such an engaging activity, children tend to not be bothered by the sensation as much as with other similar textures.
Keep a towel handy if your child is really sensitive and let them wipe themselves off whenever they need to.
Using a bubble machine is an easy way to keep the bubbles coming without having to actually blow any. They also produce a mass amount into the air which are pretty much guaranteed to make it onto your child’s skin.
Blowing bubbles is also beneficial for oral sensory processing. The act of blowing provides great sensory feedback to the mouth. This type of feedback can be helpful for both children that are overly sensitive in their mouth as well as for children that are sensory seekers.
If your child either puts things in their mouth and chews on everything or is a very picky eater and sensitive to taste and texture in their mouth, blowing activities are a great activity! There are even flavored and scented bubbles which add an enhanced sensory experience!
The list of ways to use bubbles and their benefit is endless. Most importantly, they are good for fun!
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