How to Spark Joy and Wonder with Monster-Sized Bubbles
Photo credit: Lydia Kankkunen. Shared with permission.
Who doesn’t love bubbles? Especially GIANT ones?
They’re great at lifting people's spirits. And we could all use more of that right now.
Bubbles bring out the kid in all of us. That’s me in this photo, getting goofy with preschoolers in 2015.
Best of all, making bubbles is budget-friendly and social-distancing friendly. You can find everything you need easily.
In this value-packed three minute video from WhatsUpMoms, Brooke shares a bubble solution that’s “super easy to make and creates the most impressive bubbles you’ve ever seen.”
I used her recipe to make the giant bubble shown in the photo. You don't need a lot of space to make bubbles. The little courtyard at Kingsley Montessori School, where this was taken, made a great venue!
For convenience I’ve provided the ingredient list here.
Bubble solution ingredients:
- 8 oz. dishwashing liquid
- 1 heaping Tbsp. guar gum. Available on Amazon or in the health food section of your grocery store.
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 gallon water
See her video for specific mixing instructions.
This photo shows you the core components of a bubble wand:
Figure 1: Bubble wand core components
The two pieces of string need to be at least 10" different in length so that they form a triangle when you hold the sticks up.
The washer can be made of metal or plastic. A split key ring also works.
For a giant bubble wand, I used
- two 30” wooden dowels. You can get them at hardware or crafts stores. In the video, Brooke used cardboard from the bottom of two wire hangers.
- A 30" piece and a 40" piece of string
See Brooke's video for specific assembly instructions. I did add waterproof duct tape to make extra sure the string was attached securely.
For a smaller bubble wand, you can use
- 2 chopsticks or straight drinking straws
- A 14" piece and a 24” piece of string
The actual string lengths aren't that important. What matters is that together the two pieces form a triangle with enough area over which the bubble solution can spread. A long, skinny triangle probably wouldn't be as fun for bubble making.
Fun group activity (birthday parties or reunions, anyone?)
Bubbles are a hands-on crowd-pleasing activity. Even those who don't want to get wet still engage eagerly as spectators.
On a humid day that isn't too windy, head outside with a bunch of bubble wand making supplies and a big bucket of bubble solution. Include a pair of scissors for cutting the string and plenty of towels for drying off hands.
Invite everyone to make their own bubble wands. Print Figure 1 to give them a visual aid and set it next to the bubble wand making supplies. Put it inside a large ziplock bag to waterproof it.
If you do this for a kids’ birthday party, the bubble wands double as great party favors. Give each guest a large ziplock bag to put their wand in and a bottle of bubble solution.
They'll probably want the bubble solution recipe too, for when they run out. I've got you covered. Just print this .pdf and put it in a sheet protector. Have everyone scan the QR code with their phones. It will pull up this blog post which has everything they need to know for replicating the experience later!
If you really want to go the extra mile:
- Email or text them this blog post
- Give each guest a hardcopy of the .pdf file
Of course you could also just buy bubble supplies. We own a giant bubble wand made by Far Out Bubbles, based in New Hampshire, and it's served us well.
The Science Museum in London has a great handout that explains the science behind bubbles. They even share their own special bubble solution recipe.
And here are more learning resources:
Happy bubble making!
P.S. We’re all about simple and budget-friendly family fun. Cat's Cradle is another universally beloved game that costs pennies. If you missed last week’s blog post about the play value *and* the life lessons to be drawn from a humble piece of string, check it out here.