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Dolphin Play

  • Age: 0 to 8
  • Time: Under 1 hour
  • Materials: bin, water, liquid dish soap, reusable straw, kitchen whisk

Dolphins are known for their playfulness as they dive and splash in the water and ride the waves. Who better to take playful inspiration from than our dolphin friends! Among the many playful behaviors observed in dolphins is their delight in creating and swimming through bubbles. Bubbles, like other round objects are one of the many things that naturally inspire feelings of joy in humans, too. To enjoy your own dolphin bubble play, all you need is some liquid dish soap, water and the okay to play!

The Guide

Learn about dolphins: Watch a video about bottlenose dolphins from National Geographic Kids. To get kids inspired for bubble play, watch this video of a dolphin making and playing with bubble rings.


Communicate like dolphins: Dolphins communicate with each other by making sounds like clicking and whistling. Try to make clicking sounds together. How many sounds can your child make with their mouth?


Make bubbles like dolphins: Say, “Do you know that dolphins like to play in the water, just like us? Some dolphins even like to play with bubbles! They use their blowhole to make bubble rings and they like to swim through them. Doesn't that sound like fun?!”

Offer your child a bin or bowl of water and some liquid dish soap. Ask, “Do you think we could use these materials to make our own bubble water?” Welcome your child to experiment with adding different amounts of soap and stirring it up with their hands. Notice what happens when the soap and water mix and how the bubbly water feels on their hands.


Play with bubbles! Enjoy some joyful bubble play together and invite your child to invent their own way of experimenting with their homemade bubble juice. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy bubble play:

  • Enjoy watching bubbles move and savor the sight as the colors swirl on their surfaces. Which bubbles are the biggest? smallest?
  • Listen for the tiny "pop" sounds.
  • Feel the juice on your hand and the delicate skin of each bubble.
  • Add a cup or spoon to the mix and try scooping bubbles, transferring them from one container to another, or spreading them out over a cookie sheet or other flat surface.
  • Use a whisk or spoon to stir the soapy water and notice together how the mixture changes.
  • Use a straw to blow into the bubbly water. Invite younger kids to practice blowing out in the air first (like dolphins blow air out their blowhole) before using their straw in the bubbly water.
  • Take a bunch of bubbles in your hands and clap to make it snow!
  • Make bubble wands by making a circle out of a pipe cleaner and twisting it onto the end of a stick. Use the wand to make and catch bubbles.
  • Make giant bubbles and “swim” through them like dolphins.

Why is this activity great for kids?

Bubbles are marvelous tools for awakening kids' senses and inviting creative, messy play.

Science has shown us that there are patterns to what make us feel joyful, including bright colors, stirring music, time in nature and things that are round. Playing with round bubbles is a perfect entry point to inspire joy and experimentation.

Although joy is something that we experience in the here and now, and may last mere moments, it impacts our bodies and our minds in lasting ways. Every time kids experience joy, the pathways in their brains that are dedicated to feeling this positive emotion grow stronger. The more our kids learn where to find joy, the more they can benefit. Read more.

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