Bubbles (Family Science)

This is the first of my two family science events. In theory, it is geared towards families with younger children. However, attendance was split evenly between the younger-than-elementary set and the middle school set. I think the switch from a Saturday to a Tuesday (the date I’m doing school age science sessions) confused people to the exact nature of the program.

That being said, the kids had fun, and I think it was a success overall. The lone high schooler, who was there chaperoning his younger siblings, was playing with the bubbles by the end even though he was adamant at the beginning that he was only there to watch.

I read two books to open the program. I gave the kids their own bubbles and blowers (made from zip ties) so they could make bubbles as I read about them. I know they weren’t paying a whole lot of attention to me, but they have fun with the bubbles. Bubble Trouble caught their attention because of its tongue-twisting prose.

pop a book about bubblesbubble trouble mahy

Pop! A Book About Bubbles by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy

Books (other possibilities)
Bubbles Float, Bubbles Pop (Science Starts) by Mark Weakland

Idea Books
The Ultimate Bubble Book: Soapy Science Fun by Shar Levine
Soap Science by J.L. Bell


1. Bubble Painting – This station was the least successful, and if I had to do it over again, I would have done this version instead. The children had trouble when they tried to imprint the bubbles onto the paper – they pushed too hard and soaked in the solution. I also split the bottom 1/2 inch of the straws into fourths and bent the flaps flat. This helped make more bubbles.

I filled four trays with bubble solution and A LOT of paint – both poster and finger paints, the finger paints worked better at color transfer. The kids put their straw at the bottom of the tray and blew bubbles while swirling the straw around (this makes better bubbles). Once there are enough bubbles, gently lay a piece of paper on top, push  down enough to get most of the bubbles on it, but not so much that it touches the solution.

bubbles 002bubbles 003


2. What Makes Better Bubbles? – This station was exploring what objects make bubbles. I brought utensils from my kitchen (tray on the right), and made some additional bubble blowers following the instructions shown in Soap Science.

bubbles 0043. Bubbles in a Cup – Three cups, three liquids (milk, bubble solution, water). Stick a straw into the cup and blow. Which liquid makes the most bubbles? Which bubbles last the longest? This one is messy. One of the boys wanted to see how big of a mountain he could make .

bubbles 010

4. Hula-Hoop Bubbles – This was a popular station, even with the wind blowing. A few times, the children were able to lift the hula-hoop up about 3-4 feet before the wind would pop the bubble. Mostly they were lucky to lift it 18 inches.

To do this (and it really needs to be outside on a flat surface with no killable plant-life nearby), I borrowed a 4 feet wide plastic pool from one of our patrons, and filled it with water, concentrated dish soap, and corn syrup. The bubbles weren’t holding very well, so I poured in an additional four gallons of bubble stuff. Next time, I will use two gallons of the dish soap instead of one.


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