Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Giant Bubbles!

Bubbles are so fascinating! We recently were early for a program at Ox Bow County park. My boys had a ball along and a group of children were playing outside with balls. Another family we met through the programs had a bucket with a homemade bubble maker! The children were enthralled! Okay, I was enthralled. I have "pinned" many ideas on making different types of bubbles, but seeing their easy homemade contraption gave me encouragement to try it on my own. I picked up supplies for the wands when I was out and about. I needed wooden dowels and screw eyes, as I already had washers and string at home. I used this basic tutorial for our wands; however, made adaptations as needed, such as the shorter dowels and strings.

My husband drilled a small pilot hole in the end of the thick dowels and then just screwed the screw eyes in by hand. And to think I put this off! Easy peasy! I've seen plans with really long sticks or dowels (as well as strings), but I think shorter options are easier for most children's hands while starting out. I eye-balled the string (and then cut it shorter as it was too large to manage), but basically, tie one string between the top two wands on the screw eyes. Then tie a longer screen to the bottom between the screw eyes, with a washer or two on the line to help hold it down. There are great options for experimenting with this and seeing what works best. Looking back at the pictures from our first up close encounter with these, they used shorter strings, which would be helpful with younger children.

As far as the bubble solution, I made a recipe with ingredients I had at home. There are others out there (and they are worth a try!), but this was very simple and easy to accomplish as I didn't have to buy anything else. I used this recipe, modifying slightly with what I had on hand. Here is a slew of other recipes as well.

6 cups water
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/3 c. Dawn ultra concentrated dishwashing liquid

I stirred lightly, trying to keep bubbles down. I read in the reviews that 2 batches fit nicely in a milk jug container, so I tried that. Getting the bubble solution in the jug was slightly difficult (I was losing some of my precious bubble solution), so I tried a homemade funnel from a water bottle. You can see what happened there! 

It was cool seeing the huge bubbles! To make the actual bubbles, we used a small sturdy bucket and put a shallow amount of solution in the bucket. It was a little tricky (especially with younger ones) to keep the lines untangled, but we put the whole string under the bubble solution and then slowly pulled it up out of the liquid. The washer helps weight it down and straighten it out. Facing so the wind works to your advantage can be helpful. 

We're looking forward to more fun with these! We tried the giant bubbles out at the recent H2O Festival, brought them to a cookout with friends, and have worked with them more at home. I think the wands, a small bucket, and a jug of bubble solution would be a great homemade gift for a birthday, thank you gift, or a great addition at a picnic or barbecue!