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A Pediatric Perspective

Tuesday Tidbits - The Ever Versatile Bubbles

Published October 13, 2009 8:09 AM by Wendy Hof

I am always amazed at how the majority of kids just love bubbles.  All you have to do is pull out a bottle of bubbles and kids seem to appear out of the wood work... waiting in anticipation for that first wave of round colorful bubbles to appear so they can chase after them and pop them.  I have found, though, that bubbles have many uses when it comes to therapy:

Encouaging vocalization/communciation -   what better way to encourage a child to say/sign "more" than to offer them a taste of bubble popping and then wait ... and wait ... and wait ...  until they either attempt to sign "more" or try to approximate the sound "mmm".  Motivation is a key in most of the therapy we do and bubbles seem to be a key motivator for many children.  Even just blowing the bubbles and consistently saying "pop".. "pop"... "pop"  as we pop the bubbles will help a child to, hopefully, eventually mimic you in actions and sounds.

Eye hand coordination/tracking - All though it can some times be hard for a child to track the course of a single bubble floating off in the air many children are able to watch a shower of bubbles as they fall down around them.  Often they will begin to just stick out a hand in hopes that a bubble might fall onto it and magically they usually will (ok, perhaps not quite magic but still with a little help by us as we gently blow them in the direction we want them to float.)  We can also blow bigger bubbles which are easier to track and reach out to pop.

Sensory play - Besides the actual popping of the bubbles on their fingers or hands or as they fall onto their legs and arms - bubbles juice is great to use for sensory play.  I will pour some of the bubble juice onto a tray and then either have the child move it around with their fingers (or a paint brush/sponge depending on where they are with their sensory play).  I also have one of those small bubble animals that blows lots of bubbles at a time and I will blow these bubbles into the juice on the tray to make large bubble towers.  More often than not even a child who does not like to get "messy" just can't resist popping some of the bubbles in a bubble tower.  What is great about bubble juice is that the kids don't see anything on their hands and thus don't get so upset about being "messy".  Once a child begins to really enjoy playing in bubble juice I will start to add a small amount of color (shaving cream style or finger paints).  I don't add too much, just enough to slightly change the color when they move the bubble juice around.

For such an inexpensive item it such has a lot of uses!  What are some ways you have found bubbles to work for you in your therapy sessions?  I would love to hear them.

Well I'm off to work - thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see you back here again on Friday! 

~Wendy~

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