Who here loves bubbles but gets tired of paying for something that will be spilled within minutes??
My kids are big fans of bubbles but I hate buying them for 2 reasons:
- They always get spilled (usually by me, on me).
- I hate shopping and don’t need another thing to forget at the store.
Never fear! You can make your own bubble solution in a matter of about 5 minutes with just 3 ingredients.
As far as activities go, this is on the ridiculously easy side of things. The only part that might be tough for some of the littler people is stirring your newly-made bubble solution because that takes some finesse. Otherwise, it’s easy-peasy. Of the recipes we tried, this was our favorite:
3 cups water
1 cup dish soap
1 tablespoon glycerin
Gently mix the water and soap together. Add glycerin. Gently mix again.
Operative word there is gently. If you stir too hard, the mixture will bubble up. Whatever bubbles you create while stirring are bubbles lost (no pressure, though).
And that’s it. Now you have your own bubble solution. It’s worth noting that right after we mixed it up, the bubbles didn’t go so well. But we let it sit for about 2 hours before trying again and the second round went much better. The next day was even better. If I do this again, I plan to try normal dish soap, rather than the free and clear stuff I had. I’m not sure if that would make a difference but I’ll test it and let you know.
Since letting it sit makes the bubbles better and your bubbles didn’t come with plastic wands, you might as well make your own wands!
DIY Bubble Wands
Bubble wands are a super easy addition to this already ridiculously easy little project. You can make bubble wands out of lots of different things but we opted for soft pipe cleaners and beads because we had them. Fuzzy pipe cleaners can help make great big bubbles because of the amount of solution they are able to soak up. But beware, they drip. A lot.
You can snazz them up with pony beads or bend them into whatever shapes you want. But the basic idea is to make a loop on one end and twist it to make it stay. Buddy struggled to twist the pipe cleaners so we made it his job to lace the beads and I finished it. The heart was mine and Turtle specifically requested a “try-al” which I happily made for her.
I’m happy to report that the bubble solution and the wands got along wonderfully. After some trial and error (letting the solution sit), we were able to make some pretty impressive bubbles!
But why stop with impressively large wand bubbles? Why not make impressively GIGANTIC bubbles? Oh, but you can! All you need is some twine and sticks.
I found an extra dowel rod in the garage and sawed it in half for my sticks. Then, I cut two pieces of butcher’s twine, one longer than the other. I tied the shorter piece of twine between the two sticks and the longer piece onto the ends of the shorter piece to make a loop. Dip that sucker in the bubble solution and thus giant bubbles are born!
Why it works
Since this particular activity doesn’t take much to do, there’s lots of time to talk about why all this works. Now, I’m no scientist but I can give you the basics to start the discussion.
The Bubble Solution
Soap and water make bubbles, we all know that. But what makes this mixture special? You need the correct ratio of water to soap to make sure your bubbles are bubbly without being too thick. Of the recipes I tried, 3:1 worked the best. The bubbles were thick enough they didn’t pop right away but light enough to float into the air.
So, what’s with the glycerin? The reason bubbles pop is because the water evaporates. Glycerin slows down the evaporation process, making the bubbles last longer.
The Bubble Wands
You can blow bubbles using just about anything circular (including your hand). The pipe cleaner bubble wands allow for an excess of solution along the edges of the membrane that forms when you dip the wand. As you blow into the bubble, the excess solution is sucked into the bubble making it bigger/thicker.
Overall, this is an activity we would do again in a heartbeat. I love showing Turtle and Buddy how things work…especially when it takes 10 minutes or less.
Have you tried making your own bubbles? How did it go?