Learn to make giant soap bubbles using a homemade bubble solution and a DIY bubble wand. It is so much fun for kids of all ages! It can even strengthen their fine and gross motor skills, coordination, and even science skills. So, let's embark on a bubbly adventure that will mesmerize both young and old!
I don't care how old you are, seeing massive bubbles floating through the air with their beautiful play of color simply is magical. The delight and aw on the kids' faces and the giggles when they try to catch one and it pops - it's the best 🙂
We've used giant homemade bubbles at many birthday parties. They will entertain the kids for a long time. Best of all, they're cheap and easy to make. High fives all around!
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How to Make a Giant Bubble Wand
There are certainly many choices of bubble wands out there for purchase, but making your own bubble wands is simple and you likely already have everything you need in your home. Plus, involving your kids in this easy craft will teach them to be creative with everyday household items.
What you'll need:
- wooden dowels (can be found online or at a hardware store) or small sticks from a tree
- cotton rope (¼ Inch thick, make sure it's cotton nylon won't work)
- tie the string around the end of the dowel so that the string of the shorter loop measures 21 Inches and the longer one 42 Inches.
- tie the knots nice and tight
- secure rope with a generous amount of glue
- let dry
How to Make Giant Bubble Solution
Over the years we've tested many homemade giant bubble recipes. Some were as simple as water mixed with dish soap others more involved using corn syrup and glycerin. We found that this recipe works best, it's simple yet produces huge bubbles that are long-lasting.
Caution: This bubble solution can make the ground VERY SLIPPERY. Be sure to use it on grass and not on a hard surface, like concrete etc.
- Water - Tap water works great for most people. We have very hard water and have used distilled water for best results in the past, but it's not a must.
- Dish Soap -"Dawn" is the brand most commonly recommended, but other types will work as well
- Guar Gum Powder - Guar gum is a gel-forming fiber from the seed of the guar plant. It's commonly used as a thickener in food production or as a nutritional supplement. We use it to make epic pineapple popsicles ;). Here it will help us make large and strong bubbles. We have found that guar gum is much more effective than other thickeners such as cornstarch since it forms a thick gel. A little goes a long way here. You can buy it online or at your local health food store.
- big bucket
- measuring cup
- small spoon
- big serving spoon
15 cups of water
1 ½ cup dish soap
½ tablespoon Guar gum Powder
- add guar powder to dishwashing liquid
2. stir until powder is fully dissolved and until no clumps are present
3. add guar slurry to water
4. gently stir, avoid creating too many bubbles on the surface
5. let the bubble mixture rest for at least 10 min (longer is better)
Let's Make Giant Bubbles
- dip both dowels of your wand into the bubble solution and make sure the string is fully immersed
- lift slowly out of the solution and let some excess soap drip off
- slowly move both dowels away from each other
- make sure soap film is covering the surface between both strings
- start walking backward while holding your wand steady
Variations to Try
- slowly open and close your dowels to make individual big bubbles
- slowly move your wand up and down to create a bubble "worm"
- put one hand into the bubble solution, make an "ok" sign with your thumb and index finger and try blowing bubbles that way
- put both hands into the bubble solution, make a big circle connecting your thumbs and index fingers, and try blowing bubbles through the circle
Tips for Making the Biggest Bubbles
- bubbles last longer when the air humidity is high
- bubbles won't do well in extreme hot or cold
- bubbles will pop more easily in direct sunlight, so move your bubble fun into the shade or choose an overcast day
Basic Science of Bubble Making
Soap bubbles are fascinating and can be a great way to introduce kids to science and physics. But before you explain the science of bubbles to your kids, it's helpful to familiarize yourself with some basic concepts. I have some ideas for explaining bubble science to young kids later on.
So, here we go.
Soap bubbles are formed when a thin film of liquid, usually soap solution, encloses a pocket of air. The interaction of various forces within the soap film allows it to maintain its shape and exhibit the mesmerizing properties we associate with bubbles.
Here's how soap bubbles work:
- Surface Tension: Surface tension is the force that holds molecules of a liquid together. In the case of soap bubbles, the soap solution lowers the surface tension of water, making it easier to form thin films. Lower surface tension allows the film to stretch and maintain its structure.
- Pressure Difference: Inside a soap bubble, there is a slight pressure difference compared to the surrounding air. The air inside the bubble is at a slightly higher pressure due to the surface tension of the soap film pulling inward. This pressure difference keeps the bubble intact and allows it to maintain its spherical shape.
- Thin Film Interference: One of the most captivating aspects of soap bubbles is their vibrant colors. These colors are a result of thin film interference, a phenomenon that occurs when light waves reflect and interfere with each other as they pass through the soap film. As the thickness of the film varies across different parts of the bubble, the interference of light waves leads to the formation of colorful patterns.
- Why do soap bubbles pop? Over time, soap bubbles will eventually burst and disappear. This is due to the gradual evaporation of water molecules from the soap film. As water evaporates, the film becomes thinner and weaker, unable to sustain the pressure difference. Eventually, the film breaks, and the bubble bursts. Soap bubbles can also pop when something touches them and disrupts the surface tension.
Explaining Bubbles to Young Kids
The concept of how soap bubbles are created is something even younger children can understand.
Here's an example of a visual you can use:
"Imagine a group of friends. They want to form a circle holding hands, but they have big mittens on which makes it difficult to hold hands." (this is water without the soap)
"Now, the friends take off their mittens (adding soap, reduced surface tension) and now they can hold on to each other in a circle (soap bubble).
Now, imagine one friend running away (evaporation), what will happen to the circle? It's broken, just like the bubble popped."
Words to Introduce:
- what colors do you see?
- what's the shape of the bubble?
- watch carefully how the bubble pops. Can you see the water droplets?
Here's to hours of bubble-making fun 🙂
Until next time. Happy Tinkering!