Bubbles are magical, mystical objects. Today we’ll look at how to have some fun learning about soap bubbles and how to make a bubble wand.
Learn About Soap Bubbles
Science has some good explanations for how and why these incredible shapes are formed. When you play with bubble soap, you will notice that every bubble is round, no matter what its size or with what kind of tool it is blown.
Nature’s Footprint Bubble Wand Variety Pack, Set of 3 Mathematically speaking, we can call these fabulous formations spheres because they are both round and three-dimensional. Also, when we compare one bubble to another, we can call them congruent, if they have the same size and shape or similar if they are different sizes.
Of course, there’s no need to use this vocabulary with your young child. But since school age children will be introduced to these terms and concepts in their classrooms, reinforcing them in play activities is a great idea.
Individually, bubbles are always spherical because spheres have the smallest surface area of any three-dimensional shape. When bubbles form around a gas (such as the air we blow through a bubble wand), the molecules of liquid (soap, water, etc.) want to take up as little space around the gas as possible. Also, the air inside the bubble pushes out on the walls of the bubble equally in all direction making a perfect sphere.
To compare the surface area of various three-dimensional shapes, and to explore more about bubble science, check out The Exploratorium (San Francisco’s “museum of science art and human perception”) at its website http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/bubbles/shape_of_bubbles.html
Fun with bubbles
Before telling your child that all bubbles are round, ask them what shape(s) they think bubbles can be. They might simply say, “All bubbles are round,” because that is what they have already observed. In that case, you might ask, “Are you sure? How can we prove it?”
If they tell you bubbles can be all shapes or different shapes, ask the same questions and proceed to make bubble wands of different shapes to test this idea.
How To Make A Bubble Wand
You can make bubble wands from many household objects, from yarn to wire hangers. Essentially, anything that can be safely bent or looped into a closed shape can be made into a bubble wand. Even your hands can make a bubble wand if you make a shape between your thumbs and forefingers.
Here are some inexpensive, easy and earth friendly ways to make bubble wands at home.
- Make a loop out of yarn or string. Use different lengths of string (measure with a ruler or just estimate) to create different sizes of loops. Experiment to see if different sizes of loops make different sizes of bubbles.
- Bend the end of a pipe cleaner to make a loop or other closed shape. Dip the looped end into the bubble soap and blow through it to make bubbles. Use this kind of bubble wand as a way to test if all flat shapes will make a round bubble.
- Use a wire coat hanger to make the same kind of bubble wand as in #2, but larger. Since hangers are already bent into a “loop”, just bend the loop into the shape you want. Younger hands may need help bending the stiff wire of a hanger.
- Look around your kitchen to see if there are objects you can use to blow bubbles such as cookie cutters, spatulas, and cooling racks.
- Check your recycling bin for containers and lids you can be use for bubble blowing. Cut a yogurt tub into rings that can be dipped into bubble soap. Likewise, cut apart the rings from a six-pack of soda and use them as a wand. How about the end of a toilet paper or paper towel tube. Compare different materials: Which makes a better bubble blower, a wand made of plastic or cardboard?
Get Ready To Play With Bubble Wands
There is something simply joyful about blowing soap bubbles. Whether you share the magic of blowing bubbles across a breezy backyard on a sunny day or use them in your kitchen as a distraction from cabin fever in wintertime, bubbles inspire smiles and wonder in young children.
Making their hands raise up with hopefulness and filling their hearts with happiness, bubbles are a classic way to delight and engage. Let’s use that excitement to engage our children is some science activities.
And, whether you find them in a pocket size bottle from the local supermarket or in a homemade vat mixed in a wash tub, bubbles are always right when it comes to fun!