Children need to build their oral motor skills to eat, swallow, speak, and make facial expressions (to say the least!) To do all of these properly, children must first develop awareness, strength, and control of the muscles in their face and mouth. Activities that require children to use pursed lips — such as playing certain wind instruments or blowing bubbles — allow children to practice oral motor skills in a fun and rewarding way. We’ve rounded up some playful instrument and bubble activities that are perfect for enhancing oral motor development!
Have children pretend to be the Pied Piper as they lead a Pied Piper Parade! They’ll have fun toot-a-toot-tooting on a Recorder as they develop their oral motor skills. Durable and easy to use, wooden recorders get kids playing a musical instrument in seconds. And it’s great for strengthening their lips — an important component of eating. Encourage children to blow the recorder loudly or softly (exercising those lungs!) and to make short or long sounds with the recorder. Kids can use recorders in- or outdoors to develop breath control, fine motor skills, and dexterity, too — all while creating and composing their own music.
You might also like: Teach Mama Talks: Rockin’ Out with the Recorder
* * *
Blowing bubbles is great oral-motor-skills practice and HEAPS of playful fun. Keep kids engaged (and skills improving!) with a variety of bubble games: Ask how many bubbles children can blow in 1 minute, or ask them to blow and then catch their bubbles with each turn.
Product tips: The locking lid on our friendly Turtle Bubble Bucket or Ladybug Bubble Bucket lets you focus on blowing bubbles, instead of avoiding spills. Each set includes bubble solution and 3 different colors of character wands — helpful when working on color recognition and turn taking. As an added benefit, children will reinforce fine motor skills when inserting their wand into the slot each time.
Best of Both Worlds! (2-in-1: Bubble Whistles)
Want to use musical instruments AND bubbles at the same time? Get the best of both worlds by trying our new 2-in-1 blowers. Use our clever Mombo Snake or Bollie Ladybug bubble blower dry (as a whistle) or wet (as a bubble blower AND whistle in one). Wet or dry, these brightly colored blowers make a whistle sound that encourages kids to blow, Blow, BLOW! Producing sound AND bubbles provides a great oral motor exercise, as well as a breathing activity. Challenge children to see who can blow bubbles while making the least (or the most) amount of noise, emphasizing oral motor control.
Musical instruments and bubble activities sure are a fun-filled way to enhance children’s oral motor skills. What play-based oral motor tools do you use? Musical instruments? Bubble blowers? Something else? Leave a comment below, or share your ideas with us on our Melissa & Doug Facebook page.
You might also like: 3 Uplifting Bubble Games for Kids!