Blowing bubbles seems like such a simple activity, but it brings joy to many children. Toddlers love to watch the shiny bubbles form and then pop. Bubbles are a perfect group or rainy-day activity, and because you can blow them when you are sitting or lying down, they can help keep your toddler entertained if you are sick or have your hands full with a younger baby.
Bubbles are fun for both toddlers and the young at heart, but sadly many people never venture beyond using the ordinary bubble wand included in their bottle of bubble soap. Pour your bubble soap into a shallow dishpan and search your home for materials that you and your toddler could use to blow bubbles. Use straws, plastic strainers, empty toilet paper tubes and loops of string. Encourage your toddler to blow into or at these items and see what kinds of bubbles you can make.
Blowing bubbles is only half of the fun. Popping bubbles is just as much fun as blowing them. Sit on the ground or a chair when you blow bubbles so your toddler has lots of time to pop them before they are out of reach. Your toddler can poke bubbles with his fingers or smack them with an open hand. Don’t let the fun stop there, though. Can he pop a bubble with his elbow? How about his nose or his foot? Give him a plastic fork and have him stab the bubbles or try to balance them on a spoon.
What can you do with bubbles besides blow and pop them? If your toddler knows how to blow through a straw rather than sucking on it, you can make bubble art. Pour in enough bubble soap to just cover the bottom of a shallow dishpan or a pie pan then add a tablespoon or two of tempera paint. Put a straw in the liquid and lay a sheet of white or light-colored paper over the pan. Have your child blow gently into the straw to make bubbles. As they form and then pop, the paint will make a design on the underside of the paper. When your child decides his design is finished, set the paper aside to dry.
Blowing bubbles is fun for you and your toddler and all of this awesome playtime has additional benefits. Blowing bubbles is an oral-motor activity. It helps children learn how to round their lips into an "O" shape and control their breathing to blow. This helps with later speech development. Popping bubbles requires hand-eye coordination, which you know if you had to pop any bubbles that got away from your toddler. Your toddler has to focus on and track the bubbles, then use his finger or hand to pop them. Practicing this hand-eye coordination now will pay dividends later when your child is learning to write.