Soap bubble activity for the class

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Basic Information

People usually blow bubbles in the air using bubble pipes or plastic wands purchased from a store. That isn’t the only way to make bubbles. There are many things around your house that can be used to launch bubbles. But bubbles don’t have to float in the air; they can also be made in containers on table tops, or on top of all sorts of surfaces. All you need to have fun with bubbles is some dishwashing soap, lots of empty containers, and, perhaps most important, a sense of play. People often say that play may be fun but it is a waste of time. They forget that Jacques Cousteau invented the aqualung while playing, and Hero was relaxing when he discovered the principle of the steam engine.


Bubble blowing is great play with the same kind of potential for discovery. Outdoors or indoors, on different surfaces, in different containers or floating free, bubbles display beautiful colors and shapes. But upon closer examination, they also demonstrate some of the shaping forces of nature which scientists have studied for ages. So while blowing bubbles can be fun, it can also be hard, stimulating work. Making bubble designs on flat surfaces may be a bit difficult at first, but if you practice, you’ll soon get the hang of it. Soon you’ll he able to play around with this book just the way you do with bubbles. Dip in here and there; find things out; take off on flights of fancy, but most of all, have a good time.

One of the most pleasing aspects of bubble blowing is the range of beautiful colours that appear on soap films and on bubble surfaces. At a closer look many interestings things happen. Are you ready?

00 hours 40 mins

Making bubbles last longer than a few seconds has always been a challenge. Bubble makers have found that by adding certain ingredients to the soap solution and by being very careful, they can make bubbles and soap films that last as long as a few hours. Can you use your experience to select additives and make devices for blowing hubbies which help make longer-lasting bubbles? First try adding different ingredients to the soap solution to see which ones produce more enduring bubbles. The liquid additive used most often by experienced bubble blowers is glycerin. Divide a soap solution into several containers of the same size. Add a different amount of glycerin to each container, and time a bubble from each solution. Does a larger amount of glycerin give a longer-lasting bubble?

For record-breaking bubble longevity:

• When dry surfaces or objects touch a soap film, it breaks immediately. Therefore, before you do anything else, wet the entire surface of the container with which you are working.

• Make sure no dry objects are too near your bubbles. A slight breeze could push the bubble into one, breaking it.


Interesting changes of patterns and textures occur continually on the film of a single bubble or in a group of several as one breaks or another breaks into the group.

Study the properties of:

  • colours
  • patterns
  • reflection
  • shape
Activity Steps: 

Bubbles also have interesting reflective properties. Here are some things to look for up close. We are leaving you with lots of questions, for a change! You help your learners find answers to them by themselves.

• How many different colours can you see in the soap film?

• Do the colours form layers or are they in swirls?

• How do the colours move and change?

• Where have you seen similar kinds of colors in ot her liquids or mixtures?

• Do the patterns seem to change as you look at them from different angles; or as the light changes?

Try adding food color to a soap solution.

• Will blue food colour give you a blue bubble?

• Does food colour alter the colours on the surface of a bubble? If you have some coloured cellophane or plastic, look at a bubble through it.

• Do the colours in the bubble look different from before?

Try looking at bubbles through a pair of polarized sunglasses.

• Do the bubbles change as you turn the glasses in front of your eyes? While blowing bubbles, you have probably noticed that you can see your face on the soap film.

• How does this reflection compare to one in an ordinary mirror?

• As you move your face close to a bubble, how does the size of the reflected image of your face compare to the reflection of the rest of your body?

• Does the image of your hand change as you move it closer to and farther from the soap film?

• Look at your hand and your face close to a flat soap film such as one that fills a straw-and-string frame. How do they look?

Text taken from Bernie Zubrowski's Soap Bubbles

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