Bubblemania

This is my favorite time of year. It’s warm but not too hot. At 70 or 80 degrees, we can play outside any time of day. The pool is toasty enough for a late afternoon dip, the perfect segue to bath time. And the house is warm enough that I have to avoid turning on the oven, meaning our menu transitions to salads, sandwiches and grilled food. Oh, and I can wear my flip flops everywhere I go.

With that said, I’m always on the lookout for ways to spice up our growing outdoor play time. Finley’s teacher first recommended the following “bubble brew” recipe, which also appeared in the May 2012 issue ofΒ Big Backyard.:

1 cup dishwashing liquid (Dawn is highly recommended)

10 cups warm, distilled water

1/4 cup light corn syrup or liquid glycerin (purchase at the drugstore)

Mix all your ingredients in a large container. (I reuse an old bubble container I have). Word has it if you let this bubble brew sit for about a day, it works better.

My kids love using this mix in bubble guns and inexpensive bubble makers. You also can experiment blowing bubbles with all kinds of household objects, for example a drinking straw.Β Big Backyard recommends cutting off the top and bottom of a milk or orange juice carton and encouraging your child to guess what shape bubble the rectangular container will produce. The answer: bubbles are always round, since spheres have the smallest surface area.

You can create bubble art by adding food coloring to your bubbles. Blow them into the air and encourage your child to catch them on a blank sheet of paper.

With my apologies to my friends still facing snowy days, get out there and blow some bubbles.

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20 responses to “Bubblemania

  1. What fun! Gotta love bubbles! Our Science Center has (or at least had…) a huge bubble maker thingy and even as an adult, I love playing with it!

    It’s to be 82 here today… 43 on Friday. Sigh. I should blow bubbles today! (Maybe on my balcony so not too many people think I’ve lost it…)

    • The Kids Museum we visited last year had a giant bubble maker thingy too. Kids LOVE it. I did see Steve Spangler Science had some directions for making one. Maybe you should try THAT on your balcony.

  2. Well, it’s cold and rainy where I live (although we haven’t had rain all spring and really need it so I’m not complaining!) so not perfect bubble weather. But I love good bubbles as much as the next person, so thanks for the recipe. I have no doubt it will come in handy when the weather improves, and I’m sure my granddaughter will love them πŸ™‚

  3. You have some great ideas Kirsten thanks a lot! It’s a bit windy here yet for all that though.

  4. I’m going to run the risk of sounding kooky here but for the sake of better bubbles, here you go…

    The recipe above is good and has been the standard home-brew for decades now. Corn syrup is okay but know that it will attack bees and bugs more quickly than glycerin will.

    A “Secret Ingredient” I highly recommend is KY-Jelly (replacing the glycerin/corn syrup). Store brand is fine and half the price. Be sure the ingredients list on the tube includes glycerin & cellulose.

    Start with 2 or three tablespoons. Add more if you feel it would help. It will dissolve right into the water/detergent. And yes, let it sit overnight. And yes, if you have hard water in your area it is best to use distilled.

    Why? The glycerin helps the soap film fight evaporation. The cellulose makes the film more elastic which means the bubbles will be able to withstand greater stress and will be more likely to divide rather than pop. The bubbles will be thicker and therefore more colorful.

    A very humid day is best. High humidity slows evaporation. Bubbling after a rain shower will introduce all sorts of welcome surprises.

    While pro-solutions get far more complicated, a few tablespoons of that slippery stuff (found in the unmentionables dept of most drug stores) offer big bang for your bucks.

    If KY is too radical a step to take, starches will help some too.

    Happy Bubble Days.

    Keith Johnson
    Bubbleologist

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