Wednesday, July 18, 2012

5 things to do with... bubbles

bubbles are such a simple pleasure which – like their cardboard-box cousins – might be why they're so good at eliciting smiles. here are five ideas for extending the fun:

1 make your own. if you don't already do this, start today. after my daughter spilled bubble solution on the ground for the umpteenth time, i decided enough was enough. there are plenty of recipes online; this recipe is a simple one that we've used in the past and uses a common bubble strengthener: sugar. other strengtheners include corn syrup and glycerin. however, you can quite successfully use just soap and water, which is what we do. simply cover the bottom of a bubble blower bottle with liquid dish soap (Palmolive works for us), add water, shake it up to mix, and bada-bing-bada-bubble, baby. works every time.

2 bubble wrap. remember how much fun it was to pop the bubble wrap from packaging? this is an outdoor, non-squeaking variation. first, make a "landing field" for the bubbles where they won't pop right away – grass often works or, if you're working with pavement or patio stones, spray a section with water. blow bubbles onto the grass or wet surface. let the kids stomp away.

3 bubble race. pick a breezy day. follow the directions for making a landing field above, blow your bubbles, then watch the breeze send them along the wet surface. have each kid pick their favorite and see whose bubble wins. whose goes the fastest? whose survives the longest? do big bubbles do better than smaller ones? how does a bubble made with dish soap-and-water stack up against a bubble made with an added strengthener, such as sugar or corn syrup?

4think outside the wand. spur that creative, pre-engineer mind – have the kids brainstorm what else they can use to create bubbles. some ideas to get you started: a fly swatter, a paper towel tube, a bent metal hanger. with enough practice you can even use your hands!

5 put your kid in a bubble. yep, that's right. while it won't encapsulate your child and float them up like a balloon, there is a way to surround a shortie with a bubble. "it looked-ed rainbow-ish!" was my daughter's description, looking through the wall o' bubble. this makes for a great science experiment, if nothing else! and it's not as messy as you'd think either. the main ingredients are a small pool and a hula hoop, along with a bubble strengthener (or three). see the main post for full directions and tips based on our experience.

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