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.