Benefits: This activity provides mild to moderate stimulation to facial nerves and muscles. Blowing engages muscles that pull eyes out and away from the nose thus divergence of the eyes and binocularity. It gently stimulates the inner ear and connects the two hemispheres of the brain for inter hemispheric integration. Blowing also aids in breath control which is critical for speech development, and gives the ring or sphincter muscles practice relaxing as we blow, blowing with relaxed lips also helps soften the pelvic muscles to prepare for delivery. These activities are also a great occupational therapy activity.
You will need a variety of things for these activities. They may include:
- candles (may require supervision) instruments that are blown from the center of the mouth tissues, paper, feathers bubbles and wands (may require supervision) pinwheels
- blow toys
- balloons (may require supervision)
- Straws small, light plastic ball, cotton ball, wad of paper
- For candles, light a candle, step away and blow it out. Relight the candle, take an extra step away and blow it out. Continue to relight the candle and step further away until you can no longer blow out the candle.
- For instruments, play them and have a good time! Be sure to hold the mouthpiece in the center of your mouth.
- For tissues, paper (torn into small pieces) and feathers, try blowing them along the floor. Then try blowing them into the air from your hand. Then try keeping them in the air…this one is hard!
- For bubbles, use various wands and blow bubbles into the air. Have fun popping them or getting them to travel through a ring or an arch. Using dishwashing soap, rub it into your hands with a bit of water. Holding your thumb over the top of your index finger right at the base and staying in contact with your finger, slide your thumb out to the tip of your finger until you have made a circle with thumb and finger. Inside the circle there should be a film of soap. Blow moderately on this film of soap to make a giant bubble. When you are good at that, blow a giant bubble, slide your thumb along your index finger to the base and back again to the tip. Now see if you can blow a second bubble inside the first! Try releasing your bubble to float in the air.
- There are many kinds of pinwheels…colorful, wooden, plastic. Blow straight into the pinwheel and blow from the side. Watch the colors, designs and changes at it spins.
- Whistles come in many sizes, shapes and sounds. Be sure to hold the whistle right in the center of your mouth so that you will practice your nerves and muscles equally on both sides of your face. You may be asked to do this one outside!
- There are wooden blowpipes and plastic blowpipes. Some of them require you to float a ball above the pipe and some of them will spin a paddle-wheel as you blow. There are some into which you place water and they will warble like a bird!
- There are many kinds of blow toys. Be sure that you use only the ones for which you are blowing into just one aperture. Blowing into two pipes or openings practices nerves, muscles and the brain in a way contrary to our objectives of this activity.
- For balloons, you may blow them up and release them to fly through the air. You may blow them up and pull the opening tight to make that high-pitched sound come out. You may choose to tie them and then have a good time with them. There are also some toys available to which you can attach the balloon and make the toy operate with the air from the balloon.
- For straws, if it is OK with those around you, you can blow into your drink. You can blow with a big straw into your bath water and make soap bubbles (but don’t suck!). You can put a drop of food color or paint onto a piece of paper and blow it around to make a design. Blow feathers, bits of paper and tissue. You can blow a piece of cotton or wadded paper to a goal.
- For the small, light ball (or cotton ball or wad of paper), you can blow it across the floor or across a table. You can set up a goal or goals and blow it through them. You can have a race with someone to a goal across the floor or table. Make a track on the floor with objects or on a piece of cardboard with clay and blow your ball along the track.
- While your helper is facing you, he/she can blow on your hair or on your cheek. You will be able to see clearly what he/she is doing with her lips in order to blow. Taking in air can be exaggerated to indicate the movement of air for blowing. Blowing out can be gentle or exaggerated as well.
If you blow too much at one time, you may hyperventilate. Once that happens you might have numb or tingly lips, a change in facial colour, numb or tingly hands, lightheadedness, or some part of your body may not move quite right.
Again, If you do become hyperventilated, stop blowing, and take in some deep, slow breaths, holding them for a little bit and letting the air out slowly. Breathe into your hands or into a paper bag so that you will replenish the carbon dioxide in your system (this is the trigger the brain uses to breathe) or better yet, stop blowing before this happens or take frequent breaks while doing blowing activities. If you are blowing up balloons, you need to stop before it becomes too tight with the danger of popping. Popped balloons can be sucked into the mouth if breathing in at the moment the balloon pops.