Photo by Heather Junge
Article by Jeanne Lesinski

Hot, humid, and overcast weather like we've been sweltering in lately in Mid-Michigan is the perfect atmosphere for blowing bubbles, and not just any bubbles—giant bubbles. You don't have to
buy fancy soap or equipment to have this fun. Go DIY with this simple recipe:

1 Cup of Dawn or Joy dish detergent (use the kind without extra bleach or antiseptics)

2 Tablespoons of liquid glycerin found at pharmacies or in the bandage aisle at Meijer

1 Gallon of water (city, filtered or distilled water works better than hard well water)

Let the fluid set over night for best results. Keep it on hand for weeks as it doesn't spoil quickly.
When you are ready for lift-off, a shallow dish or plastic sled will work well to hold the bubble fluid. Make sure the container is clean so that you don't pollute the soap solution with sand that will break the bubbles before they even get started. 

A trip to a discount store can yield an array of wands, but you can also use such household items as plastic hangers, slotted spoons, or fly swatters. The bubble in the photo above is made with a plastic hanger. To add an element of science to the fun, you might like to predict which items will work best and then test your hypotheses.  

Be gentle. Children want to scrub in the liquid and make foam, but this foam makes it harder for the solution to adhere to the wand. Scoop up foam and put it off to the side.

Launching bubbles is like dancing or Tai Chi. Slowly and in a fluid motion lift tthe wand from the solution.  When the bubble has formed, give a quick twist or snap of the wrist, and off it goes.

The Bubble Head Fake

After a long day on the go with a toddler, indoor bubbles can be an excellent distraction for the child who seems to be allergic to bath time. You may like to try this recipe:

1 Cup of water

2 Tablespoons of glycerin or light corn syrup

4 Tablespoons of Dawn or Joy dish detergent

Just make sure to close the shower curtain, so your toddler doesn't try to climb out of the tub to chase the fun. At least, not until you're ready with a towel!

To find out more about the science of bubbles, see SoapBubbler.com. 

© Jeanne Lesinski, 2010