Maybe it all began with your first bubble bath as a toddler. Remember how much fun it was to sit in the tub as it filled up, almost magically, with fluffy white mounds of bubbles? And then there were the plastic jugs of bubble solution (with the little plastic bubble wand attached to the cap) that provided hours of fun. No matter what the age, it seems everyone loves watching the iridescent globes floating through the air until they ultimately “pop.”
In an age where everything is “bigger” and “better,” even the lowly bubble can’t escape improvement. With a little kitchen chemistry, you can take the art of bubble blowing to a new level with a super bubble solution. Before you start, one note: bubble solutions are concentrated mixtures and young children should be supervised while using them. The soap solution can sting eyes. These bubbles are for outdoor use as the solution can stain carpets, upholstery, and curtains.
There are a number of books and websites where you can find a variety of “recipes” for bubble solution. Almost all are variations on a mixture of three ingredients: sudsy dishwashing detergent, glycerin or white corn syrup, and distilled water (or soft tap water). The National Wildlife Federation provides a good basic recipe:
Add the ingredients to a container and mix gently trying to create as little foaming as possible (swirling the mixture is a good option). Most recipes call for the mixture to “rest” in an open container for at least a day and state that longer aging improves the quality of the bubble.
If you’re a kitchen chemist at heart, you may want to experiment with the ingredient proportions, increasing the amount of detergent and glycerin to create larger, more substantial bubbles.
Bubble wands can be crafted from a variety of materials. Try objects such as flyswatters or metal coat hanger wire fashioned into a circle (be sure to file down any sharp edges on the metal before letting your kids use them.) Or make a wand from two straws and a length of natural fiber yarn. Fish the yarn through both straws and tie the ends in a knot. By holding the straws and pulling until the yarn is taut, you’ll be able to form a rectangle. Now, dip the yarn and straw in your bubble solution, draw the straws apart slightly, and pull through the air to form your bubble.
A clear, still day is ideal for bubble making. Add the bubble solution to a tray large enough to accommodate your wand of choice, dip the wand (if you want to avoid messy hands, you may want to use rubber or vinyl gloves while dipping the wands in the bubble solution), wave, and watch the bubble show!
Once you perfect a bubble solution you may begin a search for the ultimate bubble. The NWF also notes that the bubble solution can be made in larger quantities (using the same proportions) and added to cover the bottom of a child’s pool with a hula-hoop used as a wand. A brick can then be added to the center of the pool for a child to stand on and the hula-hoop can be lifted up over the childcreating a bubble around him or her.
So whether you want bubbles that are tiny or humongous, join the kids and fill the air with fun!
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