Welcome to the first edition of Super Simple Saturdays! I’m going to start with one of my favorite and easiest invitations for kids – Bubble Sculptures!

I love it for a variety of reasons. First, this was something my mom used to do and so it reminds me of her every time I pull out the supplies. Second, you almost always have the supplies on hand. Third, it’s CHEAP. Fourth, kids of all ages can enjoy this. My toddlers up to my school agers join in every time. (Heck – I love playing this!) Finally, there is a lot of learning happening and many ways you can expand the children’s experience. So let’s get started:

Basic Supplies

  • Bowls
  • Straws
  • Dish Soap
  • Dish Towels
  • Water

Simple PLUS Supplies:

  • Liquid watercolor paint or food coloring (I always get my Liquid Watercolor from Discount School Supply. Sign up for their emails and watch for their sales and coupons)
  • Pipettes (I bought these in bulk from Amazon a few years ago after searching for the best price. We use them a LOT. But if you don’t know what you’d ever do with 500 pipettes, find a friend or five to split them with :))
  • Variety of containers for scooping and dumping (ice cream scoops, cups, silicone cupcake liners, etc.  I think I got most of my stuff like this at IKEA, but the Dollar Store is a great place to check out also)
  • “Science Stuff” (Plastic Beakers, Test Tubes, googles etc can all be found on Amazon)
  • Egg Beaters, whisks, hand mixers
  • Paint Trays
  • Paper
  • Be Creative! Use what you already have.  Don’t feel like you have to run out and buy a bunch of things to make your experience look like mine.

The Invitation:

You’ll hear me use the word invitation or maybe provocation more than activity, learning station, or other words or phrases I could use. I could probably write a whole post just on this (maybe for Monday Musings?). For now I’ll just say that I have found that the kids get much more out of an experience if it’s interesting and exciting enough to draw them in. When I set out these materials almost every child chooses to come.

The last time I put this out one of our three year old girls sat in the corner and reveled in the time she had uninterrupted to play with her animals while everyone else played with the bubbles.

Everyone had a valuable experience that day.

OK so this is really easy to set up. For each child you put out a dishtowel, a bowl and a straw. Fill up each bowl about halfway with water and add a few drops of dish soap. (***For younger kids see Tips and Tricks).

That’s it. You will be amazed at how long your kids will sit and play with this and what they will be learning!

Tips and Tricks

Know the dish towel isn’t there to keep the kids or the table dry. It’s there to make things a little simpler and less slippery, but the bubbles and the water will still get all over. It’s really gonna be OK. It’s just water. Or washable paint, neither of which is a big deal.

Make sure your kiddos understand the concept of BLOWING before you put soap in their bowl. If your unsure just double check. You may want to let even older children know that there’s soap in the water so sucking it up isn’t a good idea.  For the little ones, give them the straw and show them they we are blowing. I’ve had some toddlers that could blow, but others that even with some coaching would suck up the water. If they aren’t yet able to blow just give them the bowl and water.  Water is always fun to play in!

My kids know what we are doing when we set this up because we’ve done it so much, but if this is new yours might have all sorts of questions. Instead of giving a demonstration or answering directly, try reflecting the question back to the kids.  “I wonder what might be fun about bowls, water and soap?  What does soap and water do when we wash our hands?” Trusting your kids to explore can be challenging, but it is SO worth it when they can own that moment of discovery.  My friend Denita blogs about this beautifully over at Play Counts and I wholeheartedly recommend you check out her blog for more information!

If needed offer more “I wonder” questions. “I wonder what would happen if you blow inside a bubble instead of in the water? I wonder what would happen if you blow outside the bubbles? I wonder how high your bubbles will grow?”  Wonder is a magical thing.  If we can give the gift of wonder to our children, then we’ve done something right for sure!

This alone will entertain the kids for a nice long time!  But it’s also really easy to expand on which can happen in one of a few ways. You might want to offer other materials to expand on the play. Or better yet LISTEN to the children and take your cues from them. What are they talking about as they play? Are there materials related to there conversations you could offer?  Are they asking for materials?

So it might look like adding ice cream scoops and serving bowls:

It might look like saying YES when someone asks if they get out the paint (PS Say YES whenever possible! Look at the focus on these little faces!  Totally worth the mess…):

It might look like pulling out whatever the heck you can find in the kitchen drawer or sensory closet and plopping it down for play

You can also add paper or a drop cloth.  They might choose to put the paper on top of the now colored bubbles and see the delicate designs that turn out.  Or maybe they use the pipettes and cover it in wet water color. Or someone spills over the paint and now you have colored dishcloths and there’s learning in watching how the color absorbs through the cloth as well. (Photo Credit to Brown Bobbin.  She had a super fun post on another bubble paint project – check it out HERE)

Stay tuned and next week we will come back and discuss some of the amazing learning that is happening behind the scenes!  We’ll talk a bit more about why hands on and sensory experiences like this are so valuable and essential for little humans.  Can’t wait!



PS – Here is as good a place as any to apologize for my photography (lack of) skills. I feel like I’m getting better, but a lot of pictures I use are older and from when I didn’t think about it so much. But so it goes when your a busy wife, mom, child care provider, blogger….etc.  Working on it 😉

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