Colossal Bubbles

This summer I saw a post on a food blog about making huge bubbles. The idea intrigued me, but not enough to actually bookmark the post. Then at a family reunion, my sister-in-law made the exact recipe and adults and kids alike spent at least an hour in the street blowing huge bubbles. It was a blast!

I thought we’d try the huge bubbles out at art play group. They were a hit. The kids loved seeing the huge floating orbs, chasing, and popping them. I tried to dye the solution to get a few bubble prints, but that didn’t work out so well and I wouldn’t recommend it.

reach for it

For the giant bubbles, I tried three recipes. All recipes have their merits, but the third recipe produces the biggest bubbles. I’ll start with the recipes, review them, and then get into the nitty-gritty of how to blow these giant bubbles.

RECIPE #1

This recipe is great because it is inexpensive to make, and you’ll have almost everything you need right in your kitchen cupboard. The bubbles we made were a bit finicky, they kept popping at first and were not as large as I would have liked. The longer we used it the more the bubbles stayed intact. I think it would be best to let this recipe sit for at least 30 minutes before you use it, stirring about every 5 minutes to incorporate the baking powder that has settled to the bottom. I think this recipe would work best on a humid day. I’ve heard that bubbles will last longer in humidity (but I wouldn’t know because we never have humidity around here!

You will need:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup original Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • 1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder

RECIPE #2

This recipe was easy to make, and had the additional ingredients of corn starch and glycerin* (I got mine at a grocery store, but they kept it behind the counter at the pharmacy. You can also order it from Amazon.). This recipe worked well, the bubbles were a bit larger than the first recipe, but again, it needs time to sit. I think this one would also work best on a humid day.

  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup blue Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp glycerin*

First dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Then add all remaining ingredients and stir to mix. Don’t mix too quickly–you don’t want to build up a lot of froth. I found this recipe over on Happy Hooligans. She seemed to have better success with it than I did. She recommends that you should let the solution sit for at least an hour before using it, stirring occasionally to keep mixing in the cornstarch that has settled out. I couldn’t wait that long, so perhaps that’s why we didn’t have so much success. I did notice like she did that the more you played with it, the better the solution got.

I did try her bubble blowers (two straws as “handles” and string looped through them.) though they were probably easier to use for little kids than the blowers I ended up using, I found that the bubbles popped more often because your fingers were wrapped around the straws and interfering with the film of the bubble.

RECIPE #3

I found this recipe on the blog “Our Best Bites,” however the original recipe comes from SamLRichards.com. You can cut the recipe in half, which I would recommend doing. You still get to blow A LOT of bubbles, and there is less left-over solution. I found that the saved solution didn’t work as well a few days after making it, so just do a half recipe and make a fresh batch every time you want to blow bubbles.

  • 1 gallon water (16 cups)
  • 1 cup original Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp glycerin*
  • 1/2 tsp J-Lube

Mix everything in a very clean bucket (dust and dirt will make your bubbles pop!) Dip your bubble wand into the solution and let it soak until the string is very wet. Again, the bubbles will last longer and be bigger on a humid day, but we had success in our very dry Colorado climate.

By the way, this ingredient “J-Lube?” Yes, it is a weird ingredient. It is a veterinarian obstetrical lubricant. You can buy it on Amazon. You will pay about $25 for a big bottle, and you need only 1/2 tsp! So if you order it, you’ll be set to make bubbles for life. I haven’t tried the recipe without it, or substituting it for something else, so I can’t tell you what the solution will be like if you omit it. Sam L Richards seems to think it is the most important ingredient.

I do know from a very cursory reading of the soap bubble wiki, that the J-Lube is one ingredient that creates long polymer chains (which you want). The polymer chains make the bubble a bit “stronger” and less likely to pop, thus able to blow a bigger bubble.

BUBBLE WAND

All you’ll need is a couple of dowels (mine were 5/16 of an inch) and some 100% cotton yarn. Cut a length of yarn–I think mine was about 6 feet long. Tie one end to one dowel. Tie another knot to the other dowel about 2 feet further down the yarn. Now take the other end of the yard and tie it to the original dowel near the first knot. You’ll now have a triangular shaped frame to blow your bubbles with.

happy bubbles

As you can see, you want the bottom length of yarn longer than the top length so that you get a good opening for the bubble to form. (If you need a more detailed tutorial, please check out the original post on Sam L Richards–link above.)

If you have a slight breeze to work with, just dip your bubble want into the solution, hold your arms up over your head and spread them wide. Let the breeze take the bubble. The more you do it, the more you’ll get a feel for when you need to “close off” the bubble, bringing the dowels close together so that the bubble can take off and float away. If you don’t have a breeze, just make sure you have a level ground to walk on, because you’ll need to hold your arms high and wide and walk backward to form the bubble.

BUBBLE SNAKES

We also tried out bubble snakes, which were also fun, but didn’t require gross-motor movement. This one was more of a fine-motor skill. To make the “snake” making machine, cut the bottom off of a plastic water bottle, and cover it with a tube sock or a bit of terrycloth rag secured with a rubber band. Dip the rag into the solution, and blow through the mouth piece of the bottle. You’ll get an amazing bubble snake!

bubble snake

As you can see, this is a fun and different way to blow bubbles. We colored the “snakes” by adding food coloring to the rag.

Bubble Wrap Dance Painting

While perusing Pinterest, I saw this idea for bubble wrap stomp painting. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and decided to give it a go when the kids were over for our art play date.

bubble wrapped foot

When the bubble wrap came out, Little O put it on the floor and started stomping on it immediately, so I thought this activity would be a hit! Then we wrapped all of their little feet in bubble wrap. We added dollops of paint to the rolled out sheets of paper, and let them go for it. They really were unsure of what to do. I was quite surprised that they were so hesitant about stomping around on the paint with their little bubble-wrapped feet.

bubbles and bubble wrap

In order to encourage them, we turned up some music and started dancing. This got them moving around more and more. Then we added real bubbles to the mix and tried to get them moving even more. All of my pictures show them standing around flat-footed, but I promise they were moving! I’m sure this will be a fun activity to introduce again. It has great gross-motor and sensory elements, and appeals to lots of ages.

Making Friends with Onions

making friends with onions

I didn’t get permission from my sister to use this image of her; nevertheless, I’m going to risk using it because it IS SO GOOD! She is a genius. She posted this image a while ago on Facebook, and it had me laughing until I actually tried her idea. Swimming goggles while chopping onions is a miracle! No tears. None. No runny nose.

My sister is a chemist, and therefore she would know that gasses released from cutting the onion waft up to your eyes, turning into sulfuric acid when the gas combines with the water on your eye. This of course results in your eyes tearing up to get rid of the acid. Thus, she would know that protecting your eyes from that gas would prevent the tears. I am not a chemist, and would have no such knowledge of the chemical reaction going on in my eyes every time I chop an onion. Therefore, I think my sister is a genius!

End of story. Wear your swimming goggles. I promise they won’t let you down.