Bubble Science Experiments - Owlcation - Education
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Bubble Science Experiments

Bubble Science

how-to-do-science-experiments-with-bubbles

Bubbles are fun to blow and chase and play with. But bubbles can be educational, too. Kids learn about air, surface tension, reflection and refraction, geometry, and much more.

Below you will find simple bubble experiments for the little ones and some more challenging bubble projects for older scientists as well.

Discover how to make glow in the dark bubbles, how to freeze bubbles, how to create square bubbles, how to light bubbles on fire, and even how to hold bubbles in your hands.

Not only will kids learn with these bubble projects, they will be busy having a great time in the process. This is the place where bubble science meets bubble entertainment.

Bubble Ingredients

These ingredients are probably in your kitchen right now.

These ingredients are probably in your kitchen right now.

Homemade Bubbles Recipes

Making bubble solution can be a science project in itself. Mixing dish liquid and water is great for blowing normal bubbles, but performing some of these bubble experiments require bubbles that last a bit longer. Here are several recipes for more durable bubbles.

Letting the solution sit for a day or so makes for better bubbles.

Recipe #1 - Corn Syrup

  • 1 Cup of warm water (purified water works best)
  • 2 Tablespoons of dish liquid
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of light corn syrup

Add the ingredients in a container and mix.

Recipe #2 - Glycerin

  • 1 Cup of warm water (purified)
  • 2 Tablespoons of dish liquid
  • 1 Tablespoon of glycerin

Glycerin can typically be found in either the pharmacy section or the crafting section of most stores. It is used in making soaps.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a container.

Recipe #3 - Sugar

  • 1 Cup of warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons of dish liquid
  • 2 Tablespoons of sugar

Mix the sugar into the warm water until it is dissolved. Then add the dish liquid.

Experiment with several bubble recipes. Which recipes work the best? What other types of soap make bubbles? What other ingredients can add stickiness and durability to bubble solutions?

Colored Bubbles

Hold a Bubble in Your Hand

how-to-do-science-experiments-with-bubbles

Bouncing Bubbles in Action

Touchable Bubbles

Materials:

Glycerin or corn syrup bubble solution

A pair of clean gloves or socks

Bubble wand

What normally happens when you try to touch a bubble? With this experiment, you can hold a bubble in your hand and even bounce it around.

To begin, you will need to mix up some bubble solution using either the recipe with corn syrup or the recipe with glycerin from above. For the best results, let the bubble solution sit for about a day. This gives the mixture time to settle for the optimal bounciness.

When the solution is good and settled, put on gloves or put a pair of clean socks on your hands. Blow the bubbles or have a friend blow them. Try to catch the bubbles with your hands. Can you get the bubbles to bounce around now?

The gloves are the key to touchable bubbles. Our hands have dirt and oil on them, which causes bubbles to pop. So with the gloves on, the bubbles have a surface that they can land on and even bounce off. Try using other fabrics and surfaces to see which works best.

How to Make Glow in the Dark Bubbles

Glow in the Dark Bubbles

Materials:

Highlighter marker or glow stick

Dish liquid

Tonic water (optional)

Black light

Blowing bubbles is usually something to do during the day. But bubbles that glow in the dark make bubble blowing a fun nighttime activity. There is something eerie about glowing bubbles that gives them a mysterious appeal.

The best way to make glow in the dark bubbles is with a highlighter marker or with a glow stick. (You can use glow powders or paints, but most don't mix as well with the bubble solution). You will have to cut open the marker or glow stick and pour the liquid into a bowl. You may need to soak the felt from the highlighter in a bit of water to get the liquid out. Yellow, green, or orange highlighters glow the best.

Mix the glowing liquid along with water and dish liquid. Turn off the lights, get a bubble wand, and start blowing glowing bubbles.

I like to use tonic water to mix in with the soap instead of regular water. Then I turn on the blacklights for an even better glow (tonic water is blacklight sensitive). If you are using a highlighter, you will need the blacklight to make the mixture fluoresce. Glow sticks, paints, and powders should glow without a blacklight. You may have to expose them to light first.

The bubbles should wipe away easily when you are finished. You may want to avoid fabric surfaces just in case. If you are unsure about stains, blow the bubbles outside. If you are using the bubbles with little kids, check the glow materials to be sure they are non-toxic.

More Glow in the Dark Fun

  • Glow in the Dark Experiments and Activities
    Light up the night with these awesome glow in the dark activities and experiments. Make glowing drinks and a glowing geyser. You can even make glow in the dark writing that is invisible in the day.

Square Bubbles

Materials:

Bubble solution

Large container (example - bucket)

Straws

Tape

(Tinkertoys or other building toys can be used instead)

What shapes do bubbles come in? Bubbles are only round, right? Did you know that you can actually make square bubbles?

You will need to make a cube to create square bubbles. I used straws taped together. If you have Tinkertoys or other construction toys, you can use those to put together a cube shape. Pipe cleaners will work as well, but they are a bit flimsy.

You will submerge the cube, so try to make it small enough to fit into the container you are using. A 5-6 inch cube would be ideal.

Get the bubble solution ready (the type of bubbles don't matter for this experiment). Dip the cube into the bubbles. Carefully pull out the cube. Depending on how the bubbles form, you can have a square in the middle or all sorts of other shapes.

You can dip a wand into the bubbles and then blow it into the cube to change the shape of the bubbles already formed.

Experiment with more shapes by making a pyramid to dip into the bubbles. See if you can form triangle-shaped bubbles.

Making Square Bubbles

Frozen Bubbles

Materials:

Bubble solution

Bubble wand

Plate

Bubbles are made of water, so they can be frozen, too. Frozen bubbles are beautiful to look at and fun to make. But like regular bubbles, they don't last long. Frozen bubbles are tricky to make, but it can be done, even in the summer.

The best time to freeze bubbles is outside on a day that is below 32oF. Go outside with some bubble solution and a wand. Blow bubbles onto various surfaces and watch as the bubbles begin to freeze. They won't last long, so don't blink.

You can also create frozen bubbles in the freezer if you don't want to wait for a below-freezing day. To begin, clear out some space in the freezer near the back. Put a plate in the freezer for about an hour so that it is cold.

Mix up some bubble solution. The best kind for this experiment is either the glycerin bubbles or the corn syrup bubbles because the bubbles tend to last longer.

Take out the plate and dampen it with water. Then blow bubbles onto the plate. When you have a few bubbles solidly on the plate, very carefully put the plate into the spot you cleared in the freezer. It works best if you do it at a time when the fan in the freezer isn't running. Close the freezer door very slowly.

Wait about 10 minutes. If you are going to take pictures, have the camera ready to snap a picture before you open the freezer door. Slowly open the freezer door.

The draft will likely pop the bubbles and they will begin to deflate. But you will get a few seconds to look at your frozen bubbles. You will see frozen rings on the plate where the bubbles were.

Burning Bubbles

how-to-do-science-experiments-with-bubbles

Fiery Bubbles

**Warning** - Adult Supervision Required - This experiment can be dangerous.

Materials:

Dish liquid

Water

Bowl

Aerosol can with flammable propellant

Lighter with long stem

*Wear safety goggles during this experiment

You can set bubbles on fire if they are made of a flammable material. To create fiery bubbles, go someplace away from anything that could potentially catch on fire such as curtains, rug, etc. Outside on sidewalk or pavement is best. Grass can catch on fire as well, so do the experiment away from grass. If you have long hair, you may want to pull it away from your face to reduce the risk of it catching on fire.

Mix dish liquid and water together in a bowl to make a bubble solution. Make sure to add plenty of dish liquid (at least a couple of tablespoons full).

Find an aerosol spray can that has flammable contents. There will be a warning label on the can somewhere. Cleaning products or hairspray is probably the easiest to use for this experiment.

Take the spray can and dip it into the bubble mix. Spray the can generously into the mix to create bubbles full of the flammable gas.

Move the can away from the mix. Take the lighter and ignite the bubbles. Take a step back and watch as the bubbles flame. The burning should last for a few seconds until anything flammable burns up.

If you repeat the experiment, you may have to pour out the mix and freshen it to get the right effect.

Cautions: Check the wind direction before you light the fire. Stand upwind of the experiment that way the wind won't blow the fire and smoke onto you.

Burning Bubbles Experiment

Bubble Poll

Keep the Fun Bubbling: More Bubble Science Ideas

  • Make giant bubbles by filling a wading pool with bubble solution. Use a hula hoop instead of a bubble wand.
  • You can add food coloring to make the bubble solution pretty colors. Some food coloring will stain, so do a test before blowing the bubbles. This works best outdoors.
  • Use pipe cleaners to make bubble wands. Shape the pipe cleaners into squares, triangles, hearts, and more. When you blow the bubble, what shape comes out?
  • Do experiments to see what kind of weather is best for bubble blowing. Bubbles pop when they come in contact with dirt, oil, or anything that is dry. For example, which would be better, a windy day or a calm day? Or a humid day or a dry day?
  • Build a bubble blowing machine. Check out Zoom and FamilyFun to get started.
  • Create scented bubbles by adding essential oils into the bubble solution. You will need to use unscented dish liquid so that its smell won't overpower the oils.

Create More Bubbles!

Dry Ice Bubbles

  • Dry Ice Experiments: Cool Science Projects with Dry Ice
    Dry ice can be a fun substance to use in experiments. It has cool properties that cause it to fog and make bubbles when placed in water and other liquids. Make foggy bubbles you can touch and much more with these dry ice activities.

Let Your Thoughts Bubble Over

Tejashwini on October 22, 2013:

The bubbles are very attractive. These experiments are also so wonderful that I will give a wonderful time for my School Experiment. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on the HOTD award.

SpongeBob on September 27, 2013:

=)))

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 23, 2013:

Thank you everyone!

LensMan999 from Trans-Neptunian region on June 23, 2013:

The square bubbles are very attractive. These experiments are also so wonderful that I will give a wonderful time for my kids. Thanks for sharing this simple and cute hub.

Grace-Wolf-30 from England on June 19, 2013:

Brilliant! My kids love bubbles, will definitely be trying out these experiments in the holidays. Thank you!

PennyCarey from Felton on June 18, 2013:

This is awesome, I love bubbles!

James Archibald on June 12, 2013:

I like the square bubble making but I have a science project coming up and I want something really good!

nikkkki on November 17, 2012:

o wow

God is dead on June 15, 2012:

Very Interesting article, Will definitely share this. Keep up the good work, Thumbs up (:

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on June 08, 2012:

sadie423 - Hope your boys enjoy! Thanks!

KevinMillican - Thank you!

KevinMillican from Stilwell, OK on May 24, 2012:

Very cool, thanks!!!

sadie423 from North Carolina on May 24, 2012:

Very cool! Love the glow in the dark bubbles, I know my boys would too.

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on May 16, 2012:

PatienceAllana - Thanks! Hope your kids have a blast.

PatienceAllana on May 15, 2012:

Great hub, looking forward to trying some of the recipes with my kids.

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on May 01, 2012:

Movie Master - Thanks! I love the glowing bubbles, too.

ComfortB - Thank you! Bubbles are made of water, so they can freeze. But most people just think of them during warm weather.

HawaiiHeart - Hope your kids love them. Thanks!

theclevercat - Thanks for sharing! Glad to see a fellow pinner. :)

kelleyward - Thank you! I'll have to check out your hub.

RTalloni - Prime bubble season is almost here! Thanks so much!

jpcmc - Thanks for the compliment. I made some of the videos myself, so getting feedback is really appreciated.

Natashalh - I haven't done a test for the best bubble soap yet, but I'll bet Joy is still one of the top picks. I bet you had lots of fun memories of the giant bubbles. Thanks!

DeviousOne - Thank you very much!

wayseeker - Wow! Thanks for the praise. I spent a lot of time on it. Glad to know it paid off. Thanks again.

Mmargie1966 - Thank you!

Heather Says - They are some of the most unusual ones. Thanks!

haley - But cool!

haley on April 29, 2012:

weird

Heather from Arizona on April 19, 2012:

The frozen and glowing bubbles are my favorites! great hub!

Mmargie1966 from Gainesville, GA on April 18, 2012:

Great hub! Congrats on the hub of the day!

wayseeker from Colorado on April 18, 2012:

Holy cow this looks like fun! Voted up, useful, and awesome! I will definitely be returning here this summer for some experiment time with my kids.

This is great information, well presented, with lots of interactive videos--what a great package you have put together here.

This is definitely a worthy hub-of-the-day winner! Congratulations. Fine work.

wayseeker

DeviousOne from Sydney, Australia on April 18, 2012:

Pretty awesome hub. Glow in the dark bubbles..now that's clever

Natasha from Hawaii on April 18, 2012:

Glow in the dark bubbles? That is awesome! I used to make giant bubbles with my grandmother using one of those special wands. We always found Joy soap worked best. This was 20 years ago, so I don't know if it is still true today.

Voted up, useful and awesome.

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on April 18, 2012:

Such wonderful ideas. They're explained clearly and the videos are great. Congratulations on the hub of the day.

RTalloni on April 18, 2012:

What fun this will be to come back to again and again--thanks!

Congrats on a great summertime Hub of the Day award!

kelleyward on April 18, 2012:

Cant wait to try this with my kiddos soon! I just published a hub on free things to do with kids I'll add your link to it now! Congrats on HOTD!

Rachel Vega from Massachusetts on April 18, 2012:

This is great! I'm voting up, forwarding to my niece and nephew, and pinning. Thanks for another great Hub!

HawaiiHeart from Hawaii on April 18, 2012:

Super cool! I'll have to try these expirements with my kids.

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on April 18, 2012:

Really interesting. Never occurred to me that one can freeze bubble. daaa!

Anyway, thanks for sharing, and congrats on the HOTD award.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on April 18, 2012:

What a fabulous hub, congratulations on hub of the day!

Great, exciting experiments, especially the glow in the dark bubbles!

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 18, 2012:

ekstrom002 - Thanks! Learning can be disguised as fun.

nishlaverz - The corn syrup really helps make long-lasting bubbles. Thank you!

Archana G Saha - Thanks!

mary615 - A dog who loves bubbles. That is cute. I'll have to blow some bubbles for my dog. Hope everyone enjoys. Thank you!

markbennis - Thanks so much! Glowing bubbles are my favorite, too.

vespawoolf - Thanks! Hope your nieces and nephews (and you) have fun.

Ardie - Hope your bubble party is fun. You can still be in the mad scientist club even though you didn't get to vote for it. Thanks so much!

leahlefler - Bubbles can definitely make a fun playdate. Most kids can blow bubbles for hours, especially if they are glowing. Thanks for sharing!

DoctorDarts - Thank you very much!

TnTgoodrich - The burning bubbles is a cool trick, but the glowing bubbles are more fun to play with. Hope your kids are impressed. Thanks!

POWERS1205 - This is a great alternative to tv. It can keep them entertained for a long time and it is something that can play with by themselves once you get them started (except for the fire bubbles). Thank you!

POWERS1205 on April 18, 2012:

That is really cool! Thank you so much. We have 5 children at home and sometimes we run out of ideas on things to do around the house. We don't like plugging them into the tv, so projects like this give us some good alternatives.

TnTgoodrich on April 18, 2012:

Cool Hub ~ I homeschool my children so I will be using these experiments soon thanks i like the glow in the dark but sure the kids will love burning bubbles :)

DoctorDarts on April 18, 2012:

Absolutely fantastic!! Definitely going to try the strong bubbles!

Leah Lefler from Western New York on April 18, 2012:

My boys would LOVE these experiments - particularly the glow-in-the-dark bubbles! I'm sharing this with some of my mom friends, because I foresee a fun summer playdate party with bubble activities!

Sondra from Neverland on April 18, 2012:

Doh! I voted for glowing bubbles before I read all the options...now I want to revote for being a mad scientist and doing ALL the experiments. Heck, Im not even going to wait for the kids to get home from school. Im gonna have a bubble party for 1 today :)

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on April 18, 2012:

This is a cool hub...I had no idea so much could be done with bubbles! I've marked this so I can try an experiment or two with my nephews and nieces next time we're together. Thank you and congratulations on a well-deserved Hub of the Day!

markbennis on April 18, 2012:

Great ideas for bubbles especially like the glow in the dark bubbles, great tips and voted up!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 18, 2012:

Wow! What a wonderful Hub! I can see why it got HOTD. Congrats! So many great ideas for me to do with my Grands and my dog. Yes, my dog, Baby, loves to chase bubbles the kids blow. I just don't know which of your methods we'll try first. Delightful Hub. I voted it UP, etc.etc.

Archana G Saha from Bangalore on April 18, 2012:

awesome hub voted up

nishlaverz from N.E England on April 18, 2012:

Thanks for these great ideas. My daughter loves bubbles but I can never seem to get the mix right when I do it myself. Will try out your recipes.

ekstrom002 on April 18, 2012:

This was interesting and informative. Learned some new things about bubbles I probably wouldn't have otherwise thought to ever look into. Nice work!

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 12, 2012:

Simone - Researching was the perfect excuse to try all of these myself and it was AWESOME! Thank you!

Robin - I hope the frozen bubbles work for you. They are definitely cool! Have fun in the snow!

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on April 11, 2012:

Who doesn't love bubbles?? I am going to bring bubbles when we head up to the snow to see if we can create frozen bubbles. What a great idea. We will definitely be making our own bubbles soon.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 09, 2012:

BURNING BUBBLES? Glow in the DARK bubbles??? OMG THIS IS ALL SO COOL!! I absolutely love this Hub. And need to find an excuse to do one of these experiments stat!

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 09, 2012:

Marcy Goodfleisch - Thanks so much! Learning should always be fun. There are tons of great tips and ideas for kids nowadays. I wish I had (or my mom had) known some of this stuff when I was younger.

kayyluh - Experiments in high school can be really fun. Thank you!

randomcreative - Thank you!

BeccaLynnee - Thanks!

BeccaLynnee from USA on April 08, 2012:

That's fantastic!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 07, 2012:

This is a great resource for parents and teachers! Thanks!

kayyluh on April 07, 2012:

Awesome hub coco! I always liked doing these expeiments in high school. I'm glad I can do them again with the thanks to your hub. :)

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on April 07, 2012:

This is an amazing hub! Wish I'd had access to this when my kids were little (except maybe for the flammable versions). Kids will not only learn, but have fun with this. I will share this with some friends who work with various age groups.

ScienceFairLady on April 07, 2012:

Great hub for kids. They just love bubbles!

Horatio Plot from Bedfordshire, England. on April 07, 2012:

How much fun did you have!

Fantastically interesting and entertaining hub. Love the pictures. I chuckled all the way through.

Now, where's that corn syrup...

Healing Herbalist from The Hamlet of Effingham on April 07, 2012:

Great hub. I still love bubbles, and love the glow in the dark one. I shall have to do this with my granddaughter. She loves bubbles too. Must be genetic...lol

Brian Slater from England on April 07, 2012:

This hub just reinforces that you don't need to spend a lot of money to keep your kids entertained, great topic, voted up :)

WD Curry 111 from Space Coast on April 06, 2012:

I have teenage boys. It looks like a good project. Maybe it will distract them from the refrigerator.

Kim Lam from California on April 06, 2012:

This is a great idea! Kids would love these bubbles experiments! Great job!

poowool5 from here in my house on April 06, 2012:

ANd I thought a bubble was just a bubble! You must have had a blast researching this hub!

Great hub, you have thoroughly explored the many varied aspects of the humble bubble and it really inspires the reader to try some new things. I will roll up my sleeves and have a go over school break with the kids. Thanks for the super ideas!

Voted up and interesting.

veggie-mom on April 06, 2012:

This looks like great fun for a homeschool science experiment, thanks for sharing! Voted up & useful.

Dan Reed on April 06, 2012:

I have 3 boys and I'm not sure whose going to have more fun with these experiments...them or me? This is honestly one of the funnest, most interesting, well written hubs I've read since being here. Voted way up and other good things!

viquar from Hyderabad, India on April 06, 2012:

Simply Amazing. Thanks for sharing

Lindsay Steele on April 06, 2012:

This was awesome! I am a teacher and I am definitely going to need to find a way to incorporate this lesson into my weekly plans. Thank you!

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 06, 2012:

prekcarolyn - The square bubbles are very fun to play with (even for adults, ha ha). Kids will love them. Thanks!

alliemacb - Bubbles seem simple, but they can teach us a lot. Thanks so much!

WD Curry 111 - Maybe we can build a time machine so you can do lessons with bubbles. Or you could just play with bubbles by yourself now.

WD Curry 111 from Space Coast on April 06, 2012:

Where were you when I was a substitute teacher?

alliemacb from Scotland on April 06, 2012:

This is a really interesting hub. Who knew there was so much to bubbles? Voted up and awesome!

prekcarolyn from Georgia on April 06, 2012:

Very cool! Thanks for sharing. I especially loved the last video of the square bubbles! I'm going to have to do that in my classroom!

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