All children are passionately excited by bubbles!
They create that kind of awe and wonder that is a beautiful thing to witness.
They spark curiosity, generate talk, and get children moving, communicating and thinking.
Of course blowing bubbles out of pots is one thing; bubble wands are great too! However, there are also a huge variety of bubbles activities you can try, many of them using resources that are either super cheap, or even better – free!
So check out these bubbles activities. All of them are great for either learning at home, or they can also be used by teachers and educators.
First, Bubble Mixture
You can buy bubble mixture really cheaply these days.
However, you can also make your own. I use:
1 part washing up liquid
4 parts water
(Optional) Some glycerine
The glycerine is very much an optional extra, but it does apparently help the bubbles to get a lot bigger. To be honest, though, I never really use it.
To make the perfect bubble mixture here are some pointers:
- Make is a couple of days before. This allows it to settle.
- Make sure everything you use to make it is clean – i.e. the bowls, spoons and everything else. Any dirt will effect the quality of the bubbles
- Use a washing up liquid that doesn’t smell too fruity, to discourage any children that may want to drink it. Some washing up liquid smells delicious, and this is best avoided.
Right, now on with the activities…
This is one of the ultimate activities ever!
All you need for this are some recycled plastic bottles, and some old socks that you don’t need any more. Green socks would be perfect, but are not essential.
What you do is cut the bottom off the bottle. Then you put the sock over the bottle, so that the open end of the bottle is still visible.
Then dip the end of the bottle with the sock on into some bubble mixture. Then blow through the end!
Loads of frothy bubbles shoot out of the sock in a kind of foam!
You can really jazz this up by trying some of the following:
- Use green socks so it really looks like a dragon
- Stick googly eyes on your dragon
- It could be a monster or other character
- Put some paint on the bottom of the sock where the bubbles come out. Then the bubbles are coloured!
- To make ‘fire’ come out of the dragon’s mouth, put yellow and red paint. This makes multicoloured fire.
- Explore length. Keep breathing through the bottles and you can make really long slugs of foam!
- This is great for deep breathing and calming children down.
2. Straws Stuck Together
This is a really super simple one!
Get a few straws, probably about ten, and simply tape them together. Some kind of simple tape like Sellotape would work fine.
The top tip for this one, is the ends of the straws need to be level at both ends.
Dip the straws into the bubble mixture and blow through!
You get a kind of foam, with lots of bubbles stuck together. Hours of fun once again.
I’m talking here about the kind of cone you might have in your kitchen for pouring things like gravy into a jug!
These make awesome bubble blowers!
Another super simple one!
Get a plastic bottle and cut the bottom off. Try not to get any jagged bits if you can.
Then dip this into some bubble mixture and try blowing some bubbles.
5. Sticks Bubble Wands
This is another one that you really must try!
This is a great natural forest school activity. It is excellent for their fine motor skills also. If you want to check out any of the other articles I have written about forest schools then why not check out these 12 superhero forest school activities. If you’re not what forest school is, then I would recommend reading this illustrated guide on what forest schools acturally are.
You basically find some sticks from somewhere, and the only other thing you need are some pipe-cleaners.
Basically you twist the pipe-cleaners into a circle shape with a bit sticking out. Then you twist the bit sticking out round the stick.
Dip into water and use as a DIY bubble wand!
Top tip – the wands work better when they get a little bit wet, so you will get better bubbles after a few minutes of use.
There are quite a few bubble machines you can get these days, and they are pretty cheap as well.
These are fantastic for really young children, who find it quite hard actually blowing bubbles.
You simply put the bubble machine on, and watch your children running round popping bubbles.
7.A4 Paper Cones
All you need for this is some pieces of A4 paper (or similar). Pieces of scrap paper are totally fine.
Roll the pieces of paper into a cone shape, and then trim the larger end so that it is flat.
Dip the flat wider end into bubble mixture and blow through the other end to create bubbles.
This fun to do with some paint added to the bubble mixture.
I tried this with some grey paint, and the children blew grey bubbles onto some huge pieces of paper. They looked like craters on some kind of alien planet. Hours of fun!
8. Hoola Hoop Bubbles
You need good quality bubble mixture to pull this one off.
A smaller hoop is easier to do it with. A larger one is really hard. There are different games you can do, but the one that really works is this…
Fill a paddling pool with a thin layer of bubble mixture. Then a child would stand in the paddling pool inside a hoola hoop. The adult lifts the hoop up and tries to create a huge bubble that the child is standing inside.
Some top tips to get it working are:
- Move the hula hoop upwards quite quick
- Get that mixture right!
- Clean the pool first
9. Blowing Through Tubes
Bubble play in water trays is great for deep breathing, curiosity, and generating talk.
Give them a selection of straws, tubes, and pipes to blow through, with bubble mixture in a trough or water tray.
They blow through and see what kind of bubbles they can make!
10. Bubble Clap!
This is a really simple and fun game, that lots of younger children seem to play more or less instinctively.
Someone blows the bubbles, and the children go round trying to clap and pop them!
This is great for really young children, anywhere from walking age up to probably 4 or 5.
Ways to extend this could include:
- Play as a team game, with one person blowing bubbles, and the others popping
- Pop your friend’s bubbles and then swap
- Use a bubble machine
11. Let Them Hit The Floor
This one takes self-discipline, and a bit of self restraint.
This is probably best done as a structured adult-led activity.
Basically one person blows a bubble, or some bubbles in the air. No one is allowed to touch them! You just watch as they gently float down to the floor and pop.
This teaches children:
- Self restraint – curbing the urge to pop them
12. Trying To Catch A Bubble
This is quite a bit trickier than it sounds.
Basically you blow some bubbles, or you get your friends to do that.
Then you try to catch them in your hands without popping them.
This takes quite a lot of concentration, and critical thinking. There are definitely tactics involved in thinking the best way to catch them without them going pop.
You can extend this by trying:
- To catch more than one at the same time
- To catch your friend’s bubble and they catch yours
13. Bubble Painting
This is a classic bubble game. The big thing is just to be sure the children are going to blow and not suck. To an extent this is the case with all bubbles games.
Some top tips to check they blow rather than suck in any game include:
- Use a small amount of bubble mixture. This helps so you can see if it goes down or not
- Use the green washing up liquid if you make your own bubble mixture. This sounds a bit random, but some washing up liquids just smell far too nice! Some are cherry, or strawberry, or lemon, and they are just a bit too tasty smelling to young children. Go with the green one, which to most doesn’t smell as good
- Have a practice before you blow! The easiest way of doing this is to blow onto your hand
Right, here’s how you do bubble painting.
Pour some paint into some bubble mixture and give it a good stir.
Then pour the mixture into a smallish pot. Get the children to blow using straws into the bubble mixture. Lots of bubbles will pop out!
Then you get a piece of paper and press it onto the bubbles. A beautiful bubble picture will be the result. Good luck!
Bubble Maths Games
The last eight ideas all link really well to maths (‘math’ to my American friends that currently are the nation that read this blog the most)
Counting something that moves is quite a different skill to counting something that stays still. Also some objects are permanent and some only temporary – they last for a few seconds, then poof they are gone.
Bubbles are great for both of these concepts. They move about and they only have a short lifespan.
There are so many exciting bubble activities, and many of these can be linked to maths.
14.Blowing Bubbles In A Bowl
For this you need some bubble mixture (either bought or homemade), small bowls and straws. This can also be done in a larger format in a water tray or big trough (and forget the bowls).
The idea is that the children have a small amount of bubble mixture in a bowl, and one straw. They blow into the bubble mixture. This makes multiple bubbles mushroom up out of the bowl.
The idea is that you then pop and count. This is great for 1:1 counting, and cementing in your head that you point as you say one number. If you want to find out more about what one to one correspondence is, and how to teach it, then check this out.
Simply go ‘1,2,3…’ and keep popping and counting. An excellent strategy for lower ability children, or those struggling with 1:1. Pretty much any children will enjoy and benefit from this.
This is a really fun way of practising counting skills. If you want to learn lots of other fun games to help children practise counting, then I would read 16 Ways To Practise Rote Counting.
15.Wait For The Pop
This is similar to the last game, but you don’t pop with your fingers. You blow the bubbles, and then wait for them to pop by themselves, which they do relatively frequently. Count the bubbles as they magically pop themselves.
16.Fine Motor Pop
In this game, once again blow some bubbles so they mushroom up out of the bowl. Then use something small to pop the bubbles. Some good things to use would be:
- A cocktail stick
- A lolly stick
- A matchstick
- A pencil
Basically use something small that encourages a pincer grip, or holding the item between thumb and finger. Excellent for fine motor as well as counting at the same time. To find out the numerous benefits of developing fine motor skills, then take a look at this article.
17.Pop Your Friend’s Bubbles
This one sounds easier on paper. Some children get very precious and territorial over their bubbles, and this game is designed to develop teamwork and sharing.
I wouldn’t bother though if you think it will cause a crisis. You know your children, and will probably be able to guess how they will react. If you think this will be a positive experience, and in their scope, then go for it.
One child blows, the other pops and counts. Then swap over.
This is still using the bowl. The idea is to blow bubbles again so they mushroom up.
This is a bit like magic the next bit. Basically you place your straw inside a bubble and blow into it. You will start to inflate the bubble. Keep blowing and inflating. Some children will be able to make massive bubbles this way. It is great for deep breathing – a kind of yoga experience. Of course the children do not know that. They are just excited about making mega-bubbles.
These bubbles are also good for talking about size, and using maths vocabulary.
19.Bubble Blower Pop
You can also use the little bubbles blowing pots that you can get from pound shops or supermarkets. These are great fun, particularly in the summer or when there is not much wind outside.
There are several maths games you can do with these. One is very simple: blow and pop. Blow lots of bubbles into the air, and then pop and count them, ‘1,2,3…’
20.Ready, Steady, Go
This is a team game with bubble pots. Stand in a circle, and everyone then blows lots of bubbles up into the air in the middle of the circle. Have several blows, and get loads into the air, before you all start a countdown. It could be a countdown from 5 or 10, whichever is more doable. (For more exciting counting backwards ideas, then check out these 18 games)
When you get to zero, everyone starts popping as many bubbles as they can before they hit the ground.
21. Bubble Whack
You can also whack or pop these airborne bubbles using different objects, whilst counting at the same time.
For example, you can use:
- A matchstick
- A lolly stick
- A fly swat
- A cotton bud
So there we go! A real feast of bubble blowing, maths, communication, movement, and all sorts of other skills all thrown in together.
Give some of these games a go, and bring the wonder and curiosity of bubbles into the lives of your little ones.
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