Have you ever noticed how blowing bubbles brings delight to adults and children alike?
There is something about their rainbow sheen, as they float slowly to the floor, that captivates like few other things. The benefit of enjoying this experience with children of all ages doesn’t end with the pure pleasure it adds to any activity. There are many developmental aspects that are fostered by blowing bubbles and, of course, many of these translate directly to music making.
Babies and Bubbles
Simple, inexpensive and effective, blowing bubbles is a great tool to keep up your sleeve for those moments when you need a joy inducing distraction for your little ones. But that’s not all. One of the most significant benefits to baby’s development is that it can also help babies with eye tracking.
Babies are born sighted but with pretty poor vision. Muscular development has to occur by using the eyes. Think about how fascinated babies are by dappled light and shadows moving through leaves gently swaying in the breeze or by a slow-turning mobile above their cot. The shapes in front of them as they lay on a mat for tummy time can have them staring and cooing ages! All of these moments are not only helping baby understand the world around her, but they are also providing valuable opportunities for her eyes to focus on moving object and light. They are strengthening the muscles used to help her focus, to adjust focus from near to far, and back again, in quick succession.
Playing with bubbles provides a beautiful and fun way to engage with your baby while providing them with excellent moving target practice. As you blow the bubbles for her, they move not only up and down, but closer and further away and side to side, literally any way the wind takes them. These delighting balls of bouncing and reflecting colour and light are teaching cause and effect and understanding gravity all while strengthening her depth perception and toning those eye muscles. Plus, this input sends valuable information back to her brain, which is growing at a monumental rate.
Babies are discovering and starting to understand the natural laws that govern our world. Bubbles provide a beautiful play based way of learning about object permanence, and sometimes, the lack there of. POP!
Toddlers usually love to move their bodies; enjoying bubbles gives them the perfect opportunity to strengthen their gross motor development amongst other lifelong skills.
As they stretch and reach for the bubbles, they’re experiencing weight transference (shifting weight from one leg to another) and balance. These skills are essential when it comes to developing their motor coordination. But it doesn’t end there! By playing with bubbles, toddlers are learning:
Social awareness - Watch out for your peers as you catch those bubbles!
Depth perception - Is that bubble close or far away? The rapid catching, stomping and eye tracking that is required for successful bubble-snatching requires toddlers to use their depth perception and hand-eye coordination. These skills foster appropriate vision development in a relaxed setting.
Cause and effect - Pop! Repeating an action again and again and getting the same outcome helps toddlers to understand the impact of cause and effect. You may notice your toddler anticipating the pop of the bubble once they get the idea of what a strategically poked finger can do.
Proprioceptive stimulation, development and awareness - The proprioceptive system is located in our muscles and joints and provides us with a sense of body awareness. It can help children regulate their responses to sensory stimuli so it’s an important element to cover. The act of blowing the bubble wand, jumping and stomping can calm a toddler and keep their attention focused.
Pre-schoolers and Big Kids
Now that your littlies are a little bigger, it’s their turn to blow those bubbles! You may not realise it, but taking a breath, focusing on the bubble wand and directly blowing can foster so many skills in pre-schoolers and older kids.
Did you know that slowing down the breath has an impact on your emotional state? No wonder it is so important during meditation and yoga! Recognising their control over the way they breathe is a great way to introduce the concept. Talking of control, directing and intentionally focussing their breath is another fabulous skill when it comes to, your guessed it, music making!
They’ll also be working on their:
Vocal health - Music makers who breathe properly don’t strain those precious developing vocal chords.
Breath consistency and control
Turn taking skills
And they’ll be asking themselves (but not in so many words!)
How can I move my lips to angle this air?
How can blow faster or slower to make it work?
How can I make my breath steady and aimed just right, to make those really BIG bubbles?
A very simple activity with some seriously worthwhile payoffs, enjoying bubbles together is sure to create a lot of laughter in amongst the skill building.
Here’s some lyrics for a few songs you’re sure to know from class, that we love using for bubble playing fun…
Tiny bubbles in the bath
Make me happy
Make me laugh
Tiny bubbles make me warm all over
and I know I’m going to love you
Darling, ‘til the end of time.
See my pretty bubbles watch them twisting turning
Pretty bubbles dancing to and fro
Pretty rainbow bubbles watch them twisting turning
Moving fast and slowing down
Pop, pop, pop.
Ten Little Bubbles (Ten Little Indians - Traditional, adapted)
One little, two little, three little bubbles
Four little, five little, six little bubbles
Seven little, eight little, nine little bubbles
Ten little bubbles go pop, pop, pop!
Blow in the Wind (Bend in the Wind - Roberta McLaughlin, adapted)
Blow in the wind
Blow in the wind
Blowing, blowing and blow
Blow in the wind
Want more songs? Simply search for the hashtag #juliesharesasong on Instagram to find
some favourites sung by yours truly!