Building With Bubbles… Clean and Simple Sensory Play for All Ages

collagetitle“An great building will never stand if you neglect the small bricks.” ~Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha, Author

I think it’s safe to assume that most home daycare or home school providers often struggle with including all the little ones in the play activities. And by little ones, I mean toddlers and babies. It is a tough task to plan a sensory, science, art, small-motor activity that is safe AND inviting for the tall and the small.

Well, today I’ve got one for you. Not only is it easy, super fun and inexpensive, it gets your toys cleaned while the smalls play and learn! Win!

I started by gathering a bin of locking blocks like duplo. I also collected some plastic people the smalls may like to use as occupants in their bubbly buildings. I made soap suds by pouring dish soap into my pasta pot, running water, and skimming off the foam that collects at the top. Be careful not scoop any water when you skim off the foam as it gets very wet on your table if you do! materialsI covered my table with a plastic table cloth and just poured bowls full of suds directly onto the table top. You can provide a tea towel for the laps of the smalls who are worried about getting wet, but honestly, we didn’t really need them.

I placed all these materials out on the table and invited the smalls to come and play. I gave them no instructions, as I wanted this to be an open-ended play activity. I had children ages 1 year to 9 years at the table.

The baby couldn’t believe his luck when he was invited up to be with the “big” kids! babybuilderHe explored the bubbles with his chubby fingers and managed to put together a few blocks, even though the bubbles made them a bit slippery. Such great fine motor practice for him!

The preschoolers built towers and great giant floods of bubbles…buildingtowersbubblefloodThe kindergartener built a castle complete with knights and princesses…buildingcastlesMy 9-year-old build a cavernous building to fill up with suds…bubblehouse…and then blow them on her mama!wallofbubbles

Such fun these smalls were having, all in their own way, yet all at the same table with the same materials…forallages

The oldest one ventured further into her bubble exploration and discovered that when she rubbed the bubbles quickly back and forth on the table, the bubbles became smaller and more like shaving cream. This fascinated her and gave us the chance to discuss air pockets and what happens when you compact them into a smaller space…bubblepainting

When the smalls were finished their play time, we gathered the toys into the washtub and filled it with water. I rinsed the toys and drained them, then poured them out onto a bath towel to dry. And now my blocks and little people are freshly cleaned! I also used a bath towel to wipe the suds off the table. It took only minutes.

This really is a simple and easy, yet very rewarding activity.

Go on now, and give it a try!

Thanks for stopping by,

~Arlee, Small Potatoes

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14 thoughts on “Building With Bubbles… Clean and Simple Sensory Play for All Ages

  1. I know that sensory play and messy art projects are great for kids, but I also don’t want my house destroyed so I try do this type of stuff outside. Since it’s been freezing here that has meant that we haven’t gotten to do much more than coloring, water “painting” and collaging. I like this idea and can’t wait to try it out. Fun, easy cleanup and multitasking too! Quick question: since the bubbles come from a strong detergent do you find that it dries out their hands afterwards? Do you have to use hand lotion on them or anything?

  2. This is SUCH a great idea! I know it would occupy my kids (2.5 and 4) for a while. I worked in a daycare a few years back and I can totally imagine this being a huge hit in that sort of environment. Thanks for sharing the great idea!

  3. Fantastic idea!
    It is so hard to come up with activities that all the children can enjoy (mine range from two to nine). This one looks great. Thanks for sharing!

  4. OMG! I love, love, love, your site. It is the darndest thing. (it that the spelling) anyway, just found it and I am happy to see the kids doing stuff. I want to come to your daycare for myself :) Wow what a blast. I am thinking about opening up one because of my little one who dragged me out of work for being so hyper! It is kinda late now, but I can’t wait to read more. It fills my heart and gives me motivation. Not sure if I can handle too many though :)

  5. Love this idea! I homeschool my littles ages 1, 6, and 9 and we always love knew ideas for group play. This also might be something I can do to keep my youngest busy while the bigs kids do their school work! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Pingback: How Bubbles Work & 20 Things to Do With Them | left brain craft brain

  7. I run a cottage school for ages 4-8. We are always doing projects together and I love how everyone performs at their own level. Great post! We will have to give this a try!

  8. Pingback: 7 fun activities for toddlers using BUBBLES! - The Measured Mom

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