Let’s test bubbles! Terrific outdoor craft and science experiment

by Alenka

A team of young scientists assembles in our outdoor facility to conduct the science experiment of the day: which homemade bubble solution is the best?  We prepare our own wands, our own solutions, throw in a bottle of a store bought one and our own science experiment gets on a roll.  1a21

Supplies:

For bubbles

  • Dawn dish-washing soap
  • glycerin (found in a supermarket pharmacy – actually the pharmacist just ordered it for us)
  • sugar
  • water
  • solution containers: we picked foil trays.

For wands

  • chenille sticks
  • chopsticks
  • clothes hangers (and pliers)
  • slotted spoons
  • duct tape

1a7

Actually, we started off with the major player: making  the Gigantic Bubbles – the topic of our next post.

The magic potions we picked (I picked those recipes from a long list at Apartment Therapy)

Easy Bubbles

  • 1/2 cups of dish-washing liquid (Dawn)
  • 7 1/2 parts water

Sweet Bubbles

  • 1/2 cup of dish-washing liquid (Dawn),
  • 2 cups of water,
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar

Bio Friendly Bubbles

  • 6 cups of water,
  • 2 cups dish soap (ran out of Dawn, so we tried Method),
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup (Ok, no corn syrup in our house, so we just took some… agave syrup.)

Soft Bubbles

  • 1/2 cup dish-washing detergent,
  • 4 1/2 cup water,
  • 4 tablespoons glycerin

Let this one stand a bit to get better.

1a22

Put some wands by twisting chenille sticks into some fun shapes.  The star, moon and heart shaped were especially popular.  We secured chenille stick shapes on the wooden chopsticks with a duct tape.   Coat hangers required a pair of pliers and turned out a crafting project for me rather than for the boys.  Chenille sticks were a blast for everyone, especially if you trace cookie shapes with them to make the shapes more uniform.

1a21

We labeled all the trays.  Filled one foil tray with store bought bubbles.  The rest of the foil trays got our homemade solutions (all the young scientists were measuring and adding the ingredients, which brought up some major excitement and a lot fewer battles whose turn is it then I thought).

1b3

And the testing has began!  The results:

The Wands:

The coat hanger wands – how do I say it nicely? Sucked.  Not worth the trouble.

Chenille stick wands – exceeded all our expectations: the little fuzzy bristles are just perfect for bubble making and twisting them into the desired forms was lots of fun for kids.  My kids made an amazing discovery that square shaped wands, and heart shaped wands, and star shaped wands – all still produced rounded bubbles.  The look of wonder on their little little faces was priceless.   1a5

Their next discovery the kids made was that simple, rounded shapes made the biggest bubbles, so they started twisting multiple chenille sticks together for a figure eight bubbles, and eventually created a Chenille Stick Flower Wand.  What a wand!  It made long tails of the bubbles trailing behind them, stretching like bubbly tunnels – incredibly cool!1aa

 

The Solutions:

First of all, to my surprise, all the solutions were pretty good on making bubbles.  I wish I could say that the store bought bubbles were nothing compared to the home made solutions we’ve made.  Well, they were less pretty… but one wand dipped into a store bought solution would produce the most of the bubbles in one blow.  The Easy Bubbles turned out to be the longest ones with pretty bluish reflections and had the biggest appeal.  Sweet – stayed in the air longer.  Bio Friendly with Agave syrup – we’ll forgo next time: it worked too, just not as spectacular as the rest.

1a4

The best discovery: the scientific testing was over as the kids came up with an idea to dip their Flower wands into ALL solutions every time!  The resulting bubbles: AMAZING!  Long, stretchy, trailing behind the twisting and running kids, as they twirled, ran, pranced around.

1aa3

Ooooh, that was one of the most fun experiments ever… toppled only by the biggest and greatest experiment that we ever made, the one that we did right afterwards – making the Gigantic Bubbles. The Amazing Bubbles.  The Most Awesome Bubbles Ever.  See the directions in the next post!