This lesson developed by Leona Meeks
Recommended Ages: Preschool and Early Elementary
What are bubbles?
Can I make bubbles?
What You Need
- Dish-washing liquid soap
- Glycerin (you can buy at a drug store)
- Bucket, pail or plastic wash basin
- Piece of black plastic garbage bag
- Tape measurer
- Measuring cup
- Big mixing spoon
- Gallon container (like an empty plastic milk jug)
- Canning jar rings, spools that held thread, slotted spoons, slotted
spatula, a ring
- Black construction paper
- Waterproof tape
- Paper towels
What You Do
Experiment #1- Hand Bubbles
- First, we have to make our bubble solution. In a pail, bucket or wash
basin pour in 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of liquid dish soap, and 1/8 cup
- Mix everything up with a spoon. Don't stir too vigorously because
you will make foam. Whenever foam develops, scoop it off and out
of the pail or bucket. You can't make good bubbles from a foamy
- Make sure you do this where you can clean up any spills and messes!
Have paper towels ready to be used. Be careful because bubble
solution is slippery- if it spills on a tile, wood or vinyl floor, you
can easily slip and fall.
- Try to make an "OK" sign with your hand's thumb and pointer finger. Dip
this circle made with your fingers into the bubble solution. Pull out
and gently try to blow through the middle. Can you make bubbles?
- Experiment with blowing slow, medium and fast. What happens?
Experiment #2- Bubbles using different objects
- Take a straw and dip one end in the solution. Lift it out and gently
blow through the other end. Can you make bubbles?
- Measure and cut out about a 12 inch square from a black plastic bag.
- Lay the plastic down on a table top.
- Try to blow a bubble and rest it on the plastic.
- Can you make bubbles the same size?
- Can you make a bubble inside of a bubble?
- Can you make a chain of linking bubbles?
- Try other objects to make bubbles like the ring used for a canning jar,
interlock straws in different geometric designs with tape and try
blowing bubbles of different shapes, run some string through a few
straws or pieces of straws to make a circle, oval or even a square frame
and try blowing bubbles through those geometrically designed objects!
Try things like an empty spool from thread, slotted spoons,
spatulas, or a ring.
Experiment #3- Measuring bubbles
- Cut pieces of string about 10 and 18 inches long.
- Blow a pretty big bubble and rest it on the table. Leave it alone until
- Look at the ring that it left on the table.
- The diameter of a bubble is one way of measuring how big they are.
The diameter is the distance straight through the very middle of a
- Using the piece of string, measure the diameter of the bubble you blew.
Lay the string straight through the middle. Mark with a pencil the
end. Take the string and line it up against a ruler or outstretched
tape measure to see what the diameter is.
- Use the longer string and measure what we call the circumference of
the circle or bubble print. This is the measurement of the line all
around the outside of the circle or bubble. Mark the end point of the
circumference and lay the string down next to the tape measurer to see
what the circumference is of your bubble circle and print.
- You can do lots of things with measuring bubbles. Get some paper and
with some help you can chart different kinds of bubbles blown with
different objects (short and long straws, canning jar rings) to see how
big and how little your bubbles can be.
- When a bubble is resting on the table, you can use string to measure how
high the bubble is, too. Or you can use your hand and note where the
top of the bubble is on your hand and then use the tape measurer to see
how tall it was.
Experiment #4- What colors can you see in bubbles?
- Cut a long rectangle out of black construction paper—about 12
inches long and 3 inches wide. Tape the two ends together so you form
a circle. You have a bubble house!
- With a straw, blow a bubble and rest it on the plastic.
- Put your construction paper bubble house around the bubble. Very
carefully look down at the bubble. What colors do you see? The bubble
film will have all the colors of the spectrum or rainbow. Watch as the
bubble gets ready to pop: just before it pops you will see a little dark
black circle form in the middle.
- Bubbles are "film" and light reflects and refracts on and through the
film so that we see all the colors that are in light!
Experiment #5- Wow! Really big bubbles!
- If you have a small wading pool, you can make a bubble solution of
8 gallons of water, 8 cups of liquid dish soap, and 1 cup of glycerin.
- Use different sizes of Hula Hoops to make big bubbles. Can you stand in
the middle of a big bubble? Try layering big bubbles on top of each
- Use a tape measurer and figure out the print left on a sidewalk from a
big bubble- what is the circumference, diameter and height?
- Try making bubble windows from pieces of tubing and cotton clothes
line. You can string the clothes line through the middle of piece of
plastic tubing and make squares, triangles, etc. With someone else to
help you, dip these big window frames into the pool of bubble
solution and carefully lift up and let some wind pass through- or you
may need to walk quickly to get air to pass through and "blow" a
bubble. How big of a bubble can you make?
- Put a concrete block or couple of bricks in the middle of the swimming
pool. Let someone stand in the middle on the block or brick. A couple
of people can lower a hoola hoop down over the person into the
bubble solution. Carefully bring the hoola hoop up- let the person in
the middle share what it is like being in the middle and looking out of
What is happening?
Bubbles are super! Think about how you made the bubble solution and blew
bubbles. What did you learn about bubbles? How would you describe them?
What can you do with bubbles? Are there patterns of things that you can do
with bubbles? Do all bubbles act the same way? You are learning about soap
film, light, measuring circles, doing experiments, building scientific
models, posing a question and then checking it out. What else did you learn?