Bubble Day

~ Bubble Day ~ when my children were younger we loved to explore with bubbles and I thought I would share a post I wrote on the topic back in 2012 when I wrote about our home learning adventures! “Bubble Day” is a perfect way to celebrate the beginning of ware summer weather.

 

The Night Before:

Make a homemade bubble recipe: 1 cup of dish soap (I used Dawn, but many websites suggest Joy brand), 9 cups of water, and the secret ingredient to making super strong bubbles– glycerin. The original recipe called for 8 tablespoons of glycerin, but I don’t usually use that much.

Directions: Pour in the dish soap first then fill the rest of the bottle with water. Lastly add the glycerin and stir or shake. Then let it sit overnight! The longer you let it sit, the better the bubbles.

Let the Bubble Day festivities begin!!!

Project 1: Beaded Bubble Wands (Fine Motor)

We started the day my making our own bubble  wands by using pipe cleaners and pony beads. These are best to make BEFORE you bring out the bubbles.
Use cookie cutters to bend the pipe cleaners around to make a wide variety of shapes, then put on the beads to make them colorful and a little more durable. If you want to make really sturdy wands, make a handle out of chopstick or Popsicle stick and then wrap the pipe cleaner around it.These are so easy to make that even my 3 year old made hers on her own! Math extension ~ practice making patterns with the beads

Project 2: Wash Up Station (Sensory Play) Whenever we get bubbles I save the empty containers. On “Bubble Day” put bin on a small table. Fill a metal bowl with warm soapy water. The kids splash and play and eventually everything gets a thorough wash.
I like that this kept the kids busy for a while in the morning before it warmed up outside, and because their ‘messy play’ was just soapy water the floor in the sun room got a bit cleaner in the process!

 

Project 3: Homemade Bubble Machines (Art) – to make simply hole punch two holes on opposites side of a plastic lid of short container (such as cottage cheese, dip, etc). Fill the container with a small amount of water and dish soap, and then blow until bubbles come pouring out of the top.
Be sure kids know how to blow out so they don’t get soap in their mouth. The first time I did this my then 2.5 year old could not remember to blow out and got a large mouthful of soapy water.  (Tip:Put a pin prick at the top of the straw to prevent, or slow down, soap being sucked up. Use shorter containers like hummus tubs for little hands. The cottage cheese container worked well for my six year old.) These bubble machines are great for tub time too!

Project 4: Filling Station (Math – Volume) Explain to the kids that we wanted to fill up all of our bubble jars so that we could play bubbles anytime we wanted. We filled them in a dishpan and then used the dishpan “overflow” as our main bubble tub for outside bubble time. I stashed the majority of the filled bubble bottles away so we could use them over the next few weeks. I also immediately put the remaining mixture away and out of reach so we didn’t use it all in one playtime. Math – filling bottles is a great way to explore volume. Add plastic measuring cups and spoons and talk to further explore math concepts.

My three year old loves to just dump the bubbles so I got her busy at the wash station filling her bottles with soapy water (not the concentrated bubble mix). This way she could fill, dump, fill, dump (repeat, repeat) and I didn’t have to get all bent out of shape that she was wasting our mix. {This was a challenge before….but I think giving her alternatives and me being a bit more understanding has made Bubble Day more fun for all parties involved!}

Project 5: Play with the bubbles outside while mommy mops the floor!
To make this a peaceful playtime, I set up two stations for my kids. My son got the dishpan and selected a bunch of wands. For my three year old, I set up the outdoor water table with soapy water on one side, and bubble jars on the other side. I explained why we don’t dump them…but then I left her to play to her hearts content without policing the bottles. The next time I checked on her the bottles were dumped but she has having a blast. {Deep breath…it’s all good!}

Project 6: Bubble Challenges! (Cognitive)
Playing bubbles is fun and very open ended. Certainly you don’t need to make Bubble Day structured but I thought that it might make my older child more engaged if he had some challenges to complete. So I came up with a little list that I would whip out when he began to lose interest~

Bubble Challenges:
Catch a bubble upside down
Find the largest bubble
Find the smallest bubble
Count how many seconds you can hold a bubble for
How many bubbles can you get to connect together? Talk about double, triple, quadruple

Other thoughts that bubbled into my mind as we played today:

Indoors? We have had a successful indoor bubble station at Dabble Day, which is our local children’s day. We found that if you do the activity on a tile or linoleum floor and then lay down huge pieces of cardboard, it’s not slippery and very easy to clean up afterwards. Obviously outdoors is more fun though!

The beginning of summer is the perfect time to make a big batch of bubbles! If the bubbles are going to be stored for awhile you may want to use distilled water. I didn’t worry about it because I am pretty sure we will use up our batch pretty quickly!

Tell the kids about “Bubble Hands”. If the kids dip their hands into the soapy mixture they have a better chance of catching bubbles without them popping. It’s a great cooperative game to have the kids work together to see how many bubbles they can catch.

Saving up empty bubble bottles, wands, and mini bubble jars is an economical way to have a huge selection of bubble jars for the kids. My kids love having a wide variety of wands and after saving them for a few years we have gathered a nice selection of different shapes, sizes, and lengths.

Other fun wand making ideas:
LIDS: Draw shapes onto recycled plastic yogurt lids, and then I cut out the design. (These are fun to use as tracers at the Writing Center as well.)

CYLINDERS: Raid the recycling bin for cylinder shaped containers and then cut off the bottoms so they are tubes. Kids can dip and then blow through to make bubbles. Small sections of PVC pipe or PVC connectors would be good…I’ll add that to list of important play things to buy!

Next time we do bubble day I want to:

  • Straighten wire coat hangers and make them into over sized shapes. One tip is to use duct tape to make sure the ends are not sharp.
  • Borrow a mini baby pool from someone and try the hula hoop bubble making trick
  • Create a pulley with a straight bar so the kids can make a ‘bubble wall’ like they have at our local children’s science museum
  • Bubble painting
  • Bubble Machine, Electric version – I don’t think I would buy one of these, but maybe a friend has one we could borrow one day.
  • Bubble Wrap Rubbings – lay it on a table, place paper over it and do a crayon rubbing. A Lego base board is fun to do rubbings on as well.
  • Bubble Wrap dance party – put large pieces of bubble wrap on the floor and jump & dance!

How about you….what are some bubble ideas you like? I’d love to hear some feedback!!!

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