This homemade bubble solution is amazing and simple! Beth R. Davis, the author of Hands-On Science & Math, is sharing how to make your own bubbles as well as a simple activity to do that will have your kids learning all kinds of math and science! Stay tuned – I’m partnering with Beth and her publisher, Gryphon House, and will have a giveaway of her book tomorrow!
Summer is a great time to play outside and have fun investigations. Like many parents, one of my kids’ favorite summertime toys was a simple one: bubbles!
Try turning this fun diversion into an opportunity to bring in some science with my easy bubbles activity, which teaches kids all about air – in the bubbles, in our lungs, and all around us.
I just love this activity because kids are so fascinated with bubbles. Bubbles seem to magically appear with a straw or bubble wand. They reflect their surroundings, have swirls of color like a big marble, and float delicately in the air until they pop. In my science classroom, bubbles get the little kids completely engaged. Even those preschoolers who tend to daydream are able to focus as they learn to regulate their breathing to make bubbles that are just the right size.
This activity was developed for a classroom, but it is appropriate at home with just one or two kids. Perform this activity as shown, or use these variations:
If you don’t have plastic trays, use clean plastic or Styrofoam meat trays or plastic plates.
Experiment using straws with openings of different sizes, such as the tiny ones used to stir coffee or the wide ones used for milk shakes.
If you are worried about the kids inhaling instead of exhaling, simply puncture a tiny hole on the side of the straw. They won’t be able to suck up the soap mixture.
Understanding Air and Blowing Bubbles
Explain to the children that air is all around us. We cannot see air because it is a gas. We can see when objects outside, such as trees or flags, blow back and forth, because wind is moving the air. Most livin things need air to survive. Humans have lungs inside their bodies that assist with breathing. When we breathe, we inhale (breathe in) a gas called oxygen into our lungs. We exhale (breathe out) another gas called carbon dioxide.
To demonstrate, have the child place his hand on his chest. Instruct him to take a deep breath in and then exhale. Point out how his chest moves up and down as he inhales and exhales.
You can also discuss the concept of inflating a balloon. We exhale air into the balloon. That air takes up space. We can see that when the balloon grows from the air.
Materials to make bubbles:
- Light corn syrup
- Liquid dish soap (Dawn is best for this.)
- Small trays
- Drinking straws
Make a Simple Bubble Solution!
I like to use 3 tablespoons of light corn syrup for every 1 cup of Dawn dish soap.
Learning with Bubbles
Pass out a straw to each child. Have the children practice blowing air into the straws. They can feel the air coming out the other ends by placing their hands at the ends of their straws.
Explain the difference between inhaling and exhaling through the straw: When you drink out of a straw, you inhale or draw the beverage into the straw. When you exhale, you are blowing out.
Pass out a small tray to each child. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the bubble solution on each tray.
Demonstrate placing a straw in the bubble solution on the tray.
Gently blow, and watch as the bubble grows in size.
If the children have difficulty blowing bubbles, show them how to stir the bubble solution with the end of the straw to make teeny tiny bubbles. Then, by placing the straw inside the tiny bubbles, they can blow softly to make them bigger. Once they get the hang of making one bubble, challenge them to see how many bubbles they can make on their trays.
The key to blowing great bubbles is to blow gently.
Extend the learning!
Have the children count how many bubbles they can make on one tray before the bubbles pop.
Use this activity to support teaching kids ways to keep calm through breathing. Teach them to inhale deeply and to exhale slowly. Simply having children take time to inhale and exhale will relax and help keep them focused.
For younger children (3 to 4 year olds), have them hold their arms outstretched as if they were holding a birthday cake. Encourage them to take deep breaths. As they exhale, they can pretend to blow out the candles on the cake. Integrate math by having them count down as they blow out the pretend candles one at a time. Start with six candles on the imaginary cake, and with each breath, count backward until they blow them all out.
Get more activities in my new book, Hands-On Science and Math: Fun, Fascinating Activities for Young Children, available at GryphonHouse.com.
You can also visit my blog HandsonMindsonEducation.com.