Preschoolers love to blow bubbles. Oftentimes, we use easy automatic bubble machines/guns that provide our children with hundreds of bubbles per minute. Our kids will enthusiastically engage in the bubble blowing but will probably learn little from this activity.
I want to suggest in this article that we go back to the traditional way for blowing bubbles, and I’ll briefly explain the benefits it has for our children, especially those that have difficulty asking for things they want and those children who are not verbal and do no emit sufficient sounds. If you are concerned about your children spilling bubbles, you can get spill-proof bubbles! for this fun activity.
The action of blowing does not come naturally to all children. Some children with language delays actually can’t blow bubbles. Below I have listed the benefits of practicing blowing bubbles and the varied teaching opportunities it provides.
Use bubbles to teach requesting (“bubbles” & “Open”): if children have a strong motivation to “do” bubbles you can use bubbles to teach the child to request “bubbles”. When blowing bubbles pair “blow bubbles” or “bubbles” with the actual action of blowing bubbles. If your child can already request “bubbles” you can teach him/her to request “open” and provide a tightly sealed container. For non verbal children, this will also be a great opportunity to teach them to request with signs.
Use bubbles to improve eye contact: for children who make poor eye contact, wait until your child looks at you before blowing bubbles. As soon as they make eye contact, blow bubbles.
Use bubbles to strengthen mouth muscles: the action of blowing positions and strengthens the tongue and lips, which later on facilitate the emission of sounds. Alternatively, blowing will also help your child to round their lips (facilitates sounds w/o/oo). Try the saxoflute.
Use bubbles to increase sound production: be as creative as you want! Use bubbles to teach different sounds i.e. pop. Combine sounds with actions such as popping bubbles and pairing it with the word “pop”. Make it a fun activity so your child will be motivated to imitate your actions and sounds.
Use bubbles to teach turn taking: bubbles can be blown jointly, taking turns. This is an important skill that can be taught when blowing bubbles and that will help your child to engage in more sophisticated turn taking activities; i.e. board games and conversations. In addition, it can be used to teach the pronouns “my/your” by practicing appropriate use of “my/your turn” statements.