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Bubbles Activities for 3-5 Year Olds

Take advantage of bubbles’ endless learning benefits with these fun (and sometimes messy) activities.
 

Learning Benefits

Bubbles: There is something about bubbles that never fails to fascinate. For preschoolers, they learn by doing, by applying ideas to experiences. Take advantage of this boundless initiative with these fun activities, but do prepare for mess!

Start your experiences with a wonder: http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-do-bubbles-float/

Measure, Pour, and Mix: Science with Bubbles:

  •  Experiments with bubble solution: Make bubble solutions and experiment with them: Record your child’s hypotheses about what solution will make the best bubbles (http://www.seussville.com/activities/CITHLL Kit - science log_0.PD). Come up with criteria, such as which will make the most number of bubbles, have bubbles that last the longest before they pop, stay afloat the longest. etc. Have your child Record his data and then formulate a conclusion with reasoning (e.g., what solution is the “best” and what data supports this conclusion). Some recipes to try: http://www-bioc.rice.edu/precollege/k12resources/bubbles/bubbles.html
  • Static electricity and bubbles: Before beginning, have your child predict what will happen during the experiment. Build up static electricity with a plastic wide-toothed comb run quickly over some wool. Blow bubbles so that they land on the wool. Watch the bubbles jump as you bring the comb close to the bubbles. Have your child sketch and label the results of his experiment.
    • Bubble wands: What predictions might your child have about how these different “wands” will work with different sized water bottles? Have him confirm or refute his hypotheses.
    • Pipe cleaners in all kinds of shapes. Can your child make predictions about how he needs to make the blowers? Can he make predictions about the kinds of bubbles the wands will blow? Be sure to have him test his theories, and then confirm/refute them! You can make a 3 column sheet: Wand Drawing, Bubble Prediction (words or drawing or what shape they think the bubble will be), Bubble Results (words or drawing of what the bubble looked like).
    • 6 or so straws taped together.
    • Bubble snakes: liquid soap in a dish, water bottle with bottom cut off and sock put over cut off side. Dip the “wand” in the soap, blow.
    • Fun items from the house—be brave, get creative (but stay safe)! Some things to think about: netting from onion bags, the plastic punch-out holders for little toys, fly swatters, funnels, cookie cutters, small strainers, kazoos, strawberry baskets, etc. What about a hula hoop in a kiddie pool?
    • Single serve water bottles:
    • Use an in-tact bottle and dip the mouthpiece into the solution. Squeeze the bottle to from a bubble.
    • Cut a small hole in the bottom to use as a mouthpiece. Dip the bottle neck into the solution and blow through the newly created hole in the bottom.
    • Cut off the bottom. Dip the bottom end into the solution and blow through the mouthpiece.

 

Emotional Regulation:

  • Deep Breath Bubbles: Preschoolers still struggle with managing their emotions. One activity that can help teach deep breaths is bubbles! Have your child blow really hard and fast on a bubble wand that has solution on it. Usually, it just sprays goo everywhere. To effectively blow a bubble, your child must blow long and slow—a great cool down technique! Pop online bubbles: http://www.puffgames.com/bubblewrap/
  • Floating Bubbles: Movement fosters both emotional regulation and creativity! Have your child float like a bubble, or go from a small curled bubble to a busting bubble. Have him imagine he is a bubble blown by a gentle wind vs a hurricane. Ask them what else might float (a leaf, a butterfly, etc.) and see if he can change their movements to match those items. Set up contrasts and thinking adventures and foster cognition along the way!
  • Relaxing bubbles: Blowing has been known to help calm and refocus children. So give your child a bubble wand and encourage him to fill the room with bubbles! On the flip side, sometimes just watching something slow and peaceful redirects energy and clams kids down. If this is more your child, fill the room with bubbles and ask him to just watch them softly fall to the ground. Looking for a no-mess, busy parent solutions…check out this page!: http://java.sun.com/applets/other/Bubbles/
  • Focus Bubbles: Refocus your child’s energy by having them concentrate on popping these online bubbles: http://pbskids.org/boohbah/bubbles.html

 

Math and Thinking Strategies:

  • Patterned Bubble Art: fill a small cup ½ way with bubble paint solution. There is not a magic recipe, so fiddle around, but a place to start is 1 c. water, 4T liquid soap, 8T tempura paint mixed together and left to sit for a while before using. Have your child blow OUT gently to make the bubbles overflow onto the paper. You could also have your child put paper on top of the bubbles and gently press down. Can they make patterns by using more than one color?  What differences do you notice if you blow colored solution directly onto another page?

 

Art, Fine Motor, and Color Mixing/Matching:

  • Colorful Bubbles: Mix your child’s bath with a great many bath-safe bubbles. Fill spray bottles with colored water…the more food coloring you use the more vibrant the colors, but be mindful of the mess/stain factor. Let your child develop fine motor work and practice learning his colors by spray-painting the bubbles while taking a bath. Can he predict what the colors will turn with each new color addition?
  • Create-A-Wand: Have your child string fuzzy yarn through 2 straws. Tie the ends together to make a rectangle, with the straws on each side, and the yarn forming the top and bottom. Use this as a bubble wand to make large bubbles, or twist the straws to make flat surfaces of different shapes. You can also help your child to make 3-d figures (e.g., cubes, triangular prisms) with pipe cleaners. Add a “handle” and you can try all sorts of new properties with these dimensional wands. Try catching the bubbles with a dry hand vs a wet hand…which works better? See if your child can come up with a reason why.
  • Bubble Zapper: Zap the bubbles to earn 10 points; zap the one with the same color pen to get 100 points. This can be a color matching game, a fun bubble game, or an advanced counting by 10’s or 100’s game: http://www.crayola.com/gamesFun/games/console.cfm?game=twistables&ok=true

 

Language and Literacy Activities:

  • Body Part Naming: Tell your child he can only pop the bubble you will blow with the body part that you name (e.g., elbow, foot, etc.). This is a great way to develop focus, attention, impulse control, and learn the body parts.
  • Reading Support: Some research reports that being able to cross the mid line is a crucial skill to learning to read left to right. For a fun way to develop this ability in your child, instruct your child to only pop bubbles with his index finger. To do this, he will necessarily have to cross the mid line. Alternate hands to ensure he uses both.
  • Phoneme popping: Find the bubble with the phoneme (sound) you are looking for, and pop it! http://www.ictgames.com/phonemeFlop_v4.html
  • Vocabulary Development: Preschoolers are learning words, and the concepts that these words represent. Learning through context is the best way for your child to understand these ideas. Lots of language learning can happen with bubbles!
    • Use prepositions to help your child learn the concepts of over, under, next to, on top of, above, below (e.g., “that bubble is above the table, but below the ceiling.”)
    • There are many terms and concepts your child can learn:
    • Adjectives like big, round, shiny, etc.
    • Number concepts (e.g., count 1-by-1 each of the bubbles you pop…how high can you get?)
    • Amounts (e.g., a few, many, some, all, none)
  • Books to read
    • POP! A Book About Bubbles by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
    • Bubble Trouble (Rookie Readers: Level B) by Joy N. Hulme
    • Benny's Big Bubble by Jane O'Connor
    • Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy
    • Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hall Ets

 

For gifted or highly motivated children:

  • Math Fact Practice popping bubbles: Choose your ability level for addition, subtraction, and even multiplication! http://www.lickitysplitlearning.com/files/Math_fact_game.swf
  • Double Bubbles: Add a teaspoon of water to a spoonful bubble mixture on a tray. Using a straw, blow gently into the bubble mixture to make a bubble shaped like a dome. Blow again, making another dome bubble inside the first—a double bubble! Can you add even more bubbles inside the double bubble? How many can you make? Make a graph of how many you can make, and do this several times. Do you notice any tricks that make you more or less successful?
  • Flashlight Bubbles: Tape a plastic lid from a small yogurt container upside down onto a flashlight, making sure that you are only taping around the edges (so the edges of the lid form a shallow bowl). With the lid level, add a little bubble solution. Turn out the lights, turn the flashlight on. Using a straw, blow a bubble into the lid. Examine the colors the bubbles make! Reinsert the wet straw into the bubble dome and blow very gently and see if you can move the colors around. Do the colors change as you watch it? What colors do you see right before it pops?
  • Freezing Bubbles: With a long-lasting bubble solution, blow a few bubbles onto a plate. Put the plate in the freezer before the bubbles pop. Record your observations of what happens to the bubbles.
  • Virtual Bubble Pop: How many virtual bubbles can you pop in a minute (there is a timer on the site)? Graph your results. Do it 4 more times, graphing your results. Did you get better or worse as time went on? What was your average number of bubbles per minute? http://www.virtual-bubblewrap.com/bubble-wrap.swf
  • Bubbles Typing Game: Pop the bubbles by typing in the letter of any of the bubbles floating on the screen.

 

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