make bubbles

Our 2014 Austin Maker Faire project, Code name Bubbles: Imagining new ideas, featured 40 gallons of bubble solution and household tools to experiment with. The Tigerlilies’ favorite bubble makers are children’s plastic coat hangers and some placemats I found at IKEA last year. If you have children you probably already have the coat hangers and I see that IKEA still carries those awesome placemats for… ready?… $2.99! You want the Snar placemat. ;)

I recommend offering kids the solution, a variety of tools to try, and then letting them experiment in their own way. In my classroom I  observed the children’s exploration and offered many repeat experiences with the bubbles over multiple days. We’ll probably be back at it tomorrow! “You got a lot of big bubbles from the coat hanger. Maybe today you’ll look around the room and see if there’s something else you think might try?” No rush. Figuring it out over time. At the Maker Faire even young toddlers were able to get pretty spectacular results from playing with the placemats and it was a joy to watch a ten year old explore multiple tools and then put them all down and find skill in blowing bubbles using only her hands.


When I wait and let the child be the one to make the discovery for themselves then instead of “Oh, Marie showed me how to make lots of bubbles,” we get “HEY! Look what I figured out! Everyone, look at what I can do!!”  Children who make their own discoveries through trial and error are active, inquisitive, creative, and powerful thinkers and doers! See We are all Makers for more about using language to support discovery.


Tigerlily bubble Mix recipe

1 slightly heaping teaspoon Guar Gum powder (available at Whole Foods or other health food store,  $8)

2 tablespoons isopropyl alcohol (70% or greater will work, avail in first aid section of grocery store, dollar store, drugstore)

15 1/2 cups hot tap water

6 tablespoons Dawn Advanced Power dishwashing liquid (available Costco, this is recommended over the more widely available Dawn Concentrated you’ll usually see at HEB, Target, etc., $8)

2 teaspoons baking powder


In a clean, dry glass 2 cup measuring cup add 1 heaping teaspoon guar gum powder and 2 tablespoons isopropyl alcohol. Mix well to dissolve the powder completely in the alcohol liquid. Add 1 cup HOT tap water (or boiled water that has just cooled slightly). Mix extremely well, a chopstick works great for this part. Keep stirring for several minutes as the mixture thickens. Add another cup of HOT water, stir well, then transfer to larger container. Continue to add remaining water to measuring cup and then to larger container, rinsing any remaining guar residue into the larger container, until you’ve added the remaining water and total in large container is at 15 1/2 cups, stir well. Add Dawn soap, mixing gently now, and then adding 2 teaspoons baking powder. Again mix gently. Do not worry about lingering baking powder residue.

Let mixture sit for fifteen minutes before use.

Makes approximately  3/4 gallon. 



I’d love to hear about the discoveries you make!


Many thanks to the resources shared on the Soap Bubble Wiki page for recipe basics.





We are all makers

Austin Mini Maker Faire is just a few days away and I’m eagerly hoarding way too much stuff in my garage, sorry Josh! gearing up for our contribution this year as  Code name Bubbles: Imagining New Ideas. Once again I can’t wait to see what people create there! Last year it was interesting to observe many adults engaging their kids with the open-ended materials we offered and I sure can remember how supporting kids to create without intrusion can feel uncertain. Aren’t we grownups supposed to help children learn how to do things “right?”  These days when  a creation is presented to me, small arms outstretched, do you like it, I pause and smile. Hmmm, I’m more interested in what you think about your work. What do you think about your picture? Are you satisfied?

Language I use with children:

“I see you figured that out.” Highlights the trying, Supports the belief for the child that, hey, I’m a figuring-it-out kind of person!

“Look at how you _____” Emphasizes the kid as the active doer in their own experience.

“What are you noticing?” Casts the child as a noticing kind of person! I’m listening, tell me more! 

“How did you do that?” Such a great one. To answer the question, the kid puts him or herself directly in the center of the action of his or her own story. 


I hope you have a great time at the Faire. Happy Making!


Save the date: parenting workshop 2/23/14

Loving Limits” How to say “no” with love and respect, and why it’s important, with Bethany Prescott.

Setting appropriate limits with children, and sticking to them, is a challenging but incredibly important task for parents. This workshop focuses on both the “why” and the “how” of limit setting. We will practice using language in our discipline that leaves children feeling loved while still having them listen and respond. We’ll also discuss what appropriate consequences are and how to use them in a respectful way.

Cost: free (What? Yes. Just come.) RSVP on our Facebook page here.

Different hats for Halloween Part II

Documentation from 10/31/13


Nayeli (skipping): I’m wearing Little Red Riding Hood over my regular clothes. The same Marie. The same house. The same deedle-eee-dee with Marie!

Marie: The singing?

Nayeli: Yes! The singing!


Nayan: I’m a giraffe, giraffe, giraffe!



the butterfly


Daphne: We should put the bananas in the biggest bowl.

Nayeli: We’re cutting them into all shapes and sizes.

Elias (red cabbage, at sink): Peeling a leaf!



The peacefulness of the day says to me that we built a just right day for the children on a day that can be so exciting, confusing, different, and wild all at the same time! 


Singing together then preparing Silly Snack…

Different hats for Halloween Part I

October 30, 2013

A child is born a first time, and then, through the long and difficult process of constructing his identity, it is as if he is born again. In this process, he gives himself a face, a body, gestures, movement, speech, thought, feelings, imagination, fantasy; in short, the awareness of being and the means of expressing his “me-ness” which are absolutely essential for becoming autonomous and distinguishing ourselves from other people and things- people and things we live and interact with and from which, little by little, we draw most of the raw material with which we create our own identity. To recognize ourselves and to be recognized. But a child’s most sought-after goal is to recognize himself in others, and to find in others (objects and the natural world as well) parts of himself. –from “The Importance of Seeing Yourself Again,” The Hundred Languages of Children Narrative of the Possible, Projects by Children

Nayeli’s Little Red Riding Hood. “She is skipping, see? She has roses on her basket and candy bread inside her basket.”

Nayeli’s Little Red Riding Hood. “She is skipping, see? She has roses on her basket and candy bread inside her basket.”

Nayeli: Tomorrow is Halloween day.

Daphne: And we’ve been waiting a long time.

Marie: People are thinking about wearing a costume to school tomorrow if they want to. Elias thinks he might be a station master, Nayeli says she will be Little Red Riding Hood.

Nayan: I will be a giraffe. A costume of a giraffe.

Elias (clarifying, awesome!) A costume of a station master.

Marie: And tell your grownups, bring extra clothes. Because maybe you want to be in your costume a long time or maybe you will want to change after a while.

The subject of what will you be Marie comes up.

Marie: You know, I am usually saying “oh my teacher says I have to be just Marie” (this came up a lot when kids would play pretend and ask me to be a ____, and I’ve felt it was important that Marie the teacher always be everyone’s Marie the teacher, though kids are welcome to pick whatever they wish to pretend themselves to be. Also with each other, kids always get to pick and be the suggested thing only if that is what they want to be. So hmmm, how to support all this on Halloween?)

Nayan: Just wear a little hat.

Daphne: Like with a headband. A headband and how about different shoes?

Marie: Will you still know that I am me?
Daphne: Wear the same clothes. Your usual clothes.

Marie: If someone is wearing different clothes, are they still the same person?

Daphne: I’ll know everyone because I have really good hearing and really good eyesight.

Nayan: We’ll know you by your talk. Or if you took off your shoes or your hat or your headband.

Nayeli: Marie could be a Marie for Halloween!

Daphne: You just need to put on the same things. If we could go upstairs and see them we could pick them out for you.

Elias: You have a double decker house. At night you go upstairs.

Marie: What if I wore a shirt that kids had not seen before, would that feel okay?

Kids: Yes! (And intrigued) One we haven’t ever seen before?

Marie (ah ha, I do have an idea now!) Yes. See, I have a new shirt that I just got but you haven’t seen it yet.

Daphne: Like your piano shirt? (Looking excitedly at the wall documentation with the making race shirts documentation, which did indeed kick off from a concert shirt I had on with a piano on it. Neat!)

Marie: Ah, a little bit like that, yes. But not a piano…


Marie: So, we were talking about a costume for me and people said I should wear shoes, maybe a hat. Here are some different hats of mine.


Nayeli (recognizing my garden hat): This one we know already!

Marie: Yes, you know that one. (Picking up straw hat) This is a hat I like to wear when I go to Barton Springs. It gives me a lot of shade. Now here’s just regular me, right? And here’s me (putting in on my head) wearing my Barton Springs hat. Am I the same me, when I put on the Barton Springs hat?
Daphne: Yeah!

Nayan: Cause I see some of your hair.
Daphne: And I see your shoes. Those shoes that I know.

Marie: Ah, cause my shoes didn’t change. But you’ve never seen my Barton Springs hat, right? Okay.

Nayan: But I do still know your shoes and your hair.

Nayeli: I would know you even if those shoes were pink.

Nayan: I would still know it was you if your hat was green!

Nayeli: I would still know it was you if your shoes were pink, because (maybe part of the shoes would still be the same just a different color).

Daphne: I would know you if you were a giant! Because you’re pretty giant (tall).

Marie: What do you think, Elias, is it still me if I put on this hat?

Elias: Yes! It just has this (polka dots) around your hat.

Nayeli: Your face stays the same. (But) your face is bigger than ours. (Parts) of your face is bigger than ours.
Nayan: And my face is smaller than yours (Marie).

Daphne: And your hands are bigger than us (our hands). Because you’re older.

Marie: Am I the same Marie in my garden hat, in the hat you know?
Kids: Yes! Cause of your face and your shoes and the garden hat that we know.

Marie: Okay (taking hat off) And here’s just me again. This is my running hat.

Daphne: Oh now you look different!

Nayeli: Much different.

Marie: I’m different when I put on the running hat?

Nayeli: But you are the same Marie though.

Marie: I am the same Marie but I look different in my running hat.

Nayeli: (You look so different in the running hat) Because there’s no hair coming down.

Marie: My hair looks different when I put on my running hat, you can’t see my bangs.

Kids want to try on my hats.

Daphne: Right now I can’t see the white (underside of garden hat) because I’m wearing it.

Nayan (the Barton Springs hangs down over his eyes) Right now I can’t even see where I am going!

Daphne: And I can’t even see where I am going!

Nayan (laughing): Where am I? (The Barton Springs hat) kind of looks like a cowboy hat.

Marie: So, tomorrow on Halloween you’re going to see people you know but they might be wearing something different. I’ve never seen Nayeli in a Little Red Ridiing Hood costume.

Daphne: Have you ever seen me in a butterfly costume?

Marie: I have never seen you in a butterfly costume.

Nayan: Have you ever seen me in a giraffe costume?
Marie: I have never seen you in a giraffe costume.

Daphne: Or in any costume!

Marie: Elias I have never seen you in a station master costume.

Elias: No…

Marie: That is going to be different! Here’s a song I like to teach. (Holding the Barton Springs hat up over my face):

Who is underneath that hat, hat, hat?

Who is underneath that hat, hat, hat?

All together: Whooooo is it? Marie!

(Taking hat away) I see Marie underneath that hat

Marie is underneath that hat, hat, hat!

Nayeli: I know that song, I know that song!

Kids take multiple turns all around being the behind the hat hider.