Bubbles are a wonderful way to learn through play. They give the opportunity to develop a whole host of skills and children of all ages adore them.
If you think bubbles are those round, wet things that come out of a bottle with a wand, then think again. I love this video, not only for the bubbles but for the look on the faces of the children.
The wonderful thing about playing with bubbles is that although they are cheap to create, the learning potential is immense.
Here are some ways to use bubble play with children (or adults) along with some of the learning opportunities.
I don’t think it matters how old you are, that urge to pop a bubble is always there. For children, to be able to chase and pop a bubble is an exhilarating experience. When it comes to a simple and fun game, bubble popping is probably one of the best.
For babies in prams or even laying on the floor, watching bubbles floating in the air can keep them occupied for ages.
For toddlers, bubbles are magical. Chasing them is as much fun as popping them.
Pre-school children can try to catch the bubbles.
Over 5 years old, children can play a game of popping bubbles with different parts of their body. Can you pop the bubbles with your elbow etc?
They are able to begin counting the bubbles or the number of bubbles they are able to pop.
What colours can you see in the bubbles? Can you pop the bubble where you can see the colour blue, etc? This can be an introduction to colours as well the concept of light reflection and refraction.
Whether using a commercial bubble product, your fingers or a d.i.y wand, children can blow bubbles to see who can blow the biggest. Pipe cleaners make good bubble wands as they can be shaped in different ways and sizes.
There are a plethora of commercial products from the basic bubble mixture and wand to the most amazing bubble producing machines. These machines are good fun and produce loads of bubbles to chase but don’t give children the experience of creating their own.
Play ‘musical statues’ but when the music stops the bubble blowing as well as the movement must stop. I loved watching the children try not to move or giggle as bubbles were landing on them or their friends.
Blowing bubbles to the beat of a tune is difficult for younger children but they can begin by blowing to a slow beat or clap and increasing the speed.
Blow big bubbles for a slow beat and lots of little ones for the faster beat.
Mixing a bubble mixture with washable paint or food colouring produces different coloured bubbles. For a large scale project, a large screen of paper can be used and children blow bubbles and watch them pop on the paper. Who can blow a bubble that can reach to the top of the paper?
Having pots of different coloured mixtures can produce some beautiful bubble designs. Using a straw, blow into the mixture and watch as the ‘foam’ rises to the top of the container. Place a piece of paper over the top and see the result. Repeat with a different colour on the same piece of paper.
Bubbles give children lots of opportunity to become active through running, jumping and chasing.
Building a good vocabulary is vital for children.
Bubbles give the chance to use:
Comparative words, big, bigger, biggest, small, smaller, smallest etc.
Positional words, up, down, in front, behind you etc.
The list goes on and on.
Fine Motor Skills
Using fingers to use a bubble wand and then to blow bubbles through it is a difficult skill to master. Try using different lengths and widths of wands to extend hand/eye coordination. Start off with a wand with a thicker stick and larger hole and decrease the sizes has the child becomes more proficient.
For such delicate objects, bubbles can create a huge amount of fun and learning opportunities. Give it a go and see how much fun you can have with bubbles.