Bubble Fun

This lesson developed by Leona Meeks

Recommended Ages: Preschool and Early Elementary


What are bubbles?
Can I make bubbles?

What You Need

  1. Water
  2. Dish-washing liquid soap
  3. Glycerin (you can buy at a drug store)
  4. Bucket, pail or plastic wash basin
  5. Piece of black plastic garbage bag
  6. Ruler
  7. Tape measurer
  8. Scissors
  9. Measuring cup
  10. Big mixing spoon
  11. Gallon container (like an empty plastic milk jug)
  12. Straws
  13. Canning jar rings, spools that held thread, slotted spoons, slotted spatula, a ring
  14. String
  15. Black construction paper
  16. Waterproof tape
  17. Paper towels

What You Do

Experiment #1- Hand Bubbles

  1. 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 of glycerin.

  2. 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 solution!

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. Experiment with blowing slow, medium and fast. What happens?

Experiment #2- Bubbles using different objects

  1. Take a straw and dip one end in the solution. Lift it out and gently blow through the other end. Can you make bubbles?

  2. Measure and cut out about a 12 inch square from a black plastic bag.

  3. Lay the plastic down on a table top.

  4. Try to blow a bubble and rest it on the plastic.

  5. Can you make bubbles the same size?

  6. Can you make a bubble inside of a bubble?

  7. Can you make a chain of linking bubbles?

  8. 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

  1. Cut pieces of string about 10 and 18 inches long.

  2. Blow a pretty big bubble and rest it on the table. Leave it alone until it pops.

  3. Look at the ring that it left on the table.

  4. 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 bubble.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  1. 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!

  2. With a straw, blow a bubble and rest it on the plastic.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  1. 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.

  2. 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 other.

  3. Use a tape measurer and figure out the print left on a sidewalk from a big bubble- what is the circumference, diameter and height?

  4. 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?

  5. 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 a bubble!

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?

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