Babies and toddlers love bubbles. If you have a little one in your life, you probably already know this. However, did you know that bubble play encourages learning and development?
One of the best outdoor activities for babies is to play with bubbles. Big or small, there’s a little magic in every bubble. Not only are bubbles a good way to help your baby develop visual tracking and gross motor skills, but they’re also easy, affordable, and a lot of fun.
We love bringing some bubbles to our campsites as an easy-to-pack piece of entertainment for babies and toddlers (no batteries required).
The Benefits of Bubble Play
Bubble play has a lot of potential when it comes to learning and development. Whether you make them a part of tummy time or for playing games with groups of energetic toddlers, bubbles are a fun way to grow spacial awareness and motor skills. Here are only a few of the benefits of bubble play.
Improve Visual Tracking Skills
Your baby is not born with visual tracking skills and bubbles are a great way to help them develop. Being able to track, focus, follow, converge, diverge, etc. are all critical skills needed for learning. Cultivating these skills early in life will help your baby to learn now and later in school.
Develop Motor Skills
For little babies, tummy time is when they’ll begin to learn how to move. Bubbles encourage head-turning, as well as muscle control and balance as your baby begins to reach for them. As your baby grows, they’ll begin to crawl, chase, and grasp the bubbles, which develops both gross and fine motor skills.
Grow Hand-Eye and Foot-Eye Coordination
Early experiences that involve using hands, fingers, feet, and toes are all crucial in developing hand-eye and foot-eye coordination. Pointing and popping bubbles build the basic skills needed for catching, throwing, kicking, and hitting.
Increase Spatial Awareness
Developing an awareness of how things move in space is a critically important foundation for many types of future learning. Bubble play not only helps with knowing where body parts are and how they move, but also with directional concepts such as up, down, over, under, in front, behind, next to, above, and below.
How to Make Your Own Non-Toxic Bubble Solution
You can, of course, buy bubble solution at the store, but when you do this you never know what’s in it. Although store-bought bubble solution is generally safe and non-toxic, it’s easy to make your own. Plus, it costs very little and you can make just enough for your play session without worrying about waste.
Making your own non-toxic bubble solution is easy. You’ll need:
- 1 cup of water
- ¼ cup natural, biodegradable dish soap
- 1 tablespoon glycerin
The secret here is the glycerin, which you can buy in small bottles at the grocery store (usually in the baking aisle). It thickens the mixture and keeps the bubbles from popping too easily. To make your solution, put water, dish soap, and glycerin in a bowl or bottle and stir gently. Now you’re ready to play!
Bubble Play Ideas for Babies and Toddlers
There are lots of things you can do with bubbles. Bubbles are easy, fun, and a sure way to make your baby happy. Here are some ideas you can use to get the most out of your next bubble play experience.
Tummy Time Fun
For babies who can’t yet crawl or walk, you can incorporate bubbles into tummy time. You can place a shallow pan of water in front of your baby and blow bubbles into it. Some of the bubbles will land in the water before popping. You can also put some bubble solution in the water and blow into it through a straw to create a mountain of bubbles.
While playing, it’s good at this stage to encourage pointing and clapping. Try catching a bubble on the bubble wand and letting your baby reach out and pop it.
Bubble Play Obstacle Course
Babies love to chase after bubbles, and once your baby begins to crawl or walk, you can add more sensory input. For crawlers, introduce some different safe surfaces for your baby to crawl across, such as carpet, grass, sand, or various types of flooring that are not too slippery.
For babies who are walking, you can set up obstacles for them to go over, under, or around. You can use chairs, couch cushions, pillows, and other safe things from around the house.
Bath Time Bubbles
Bubbles are a great way to make bath time extra fun. Bubbles will land on the water or wet skin and stay there for a while before popping. Try blowing bubbles onto your baby’s body. Wherever they land, point, and name the body part.
Bubble Swat Game
For toddlers, the bubble swat game is a win every time. Blow bubbles into the air and have your toddler chase after them with a fly swatter. They can start by swatting the bubbles as they land on the ground and, as they get more advanced, begin swiping them out of the air. Of course, keep it safe and be firm about not swatting mom, dad, and siblings.
One of the Best Outdoor Activities for Babies is Bubbles
When it comes to outdoor activities (or indoor, for that matter), you really can’t go wrong with bubbles. Babies and toddlers love them, and even older kids like to play with bubbles. Bubbles provide numerous learning and development opportunities for your little ones, from spatial awareness to gross motor skills. What’s more, it’s easy to make your own bubble solution and there are many different ways you can play.Image Credit: Oleg Penzin