Miss Chu celebrated her eighth birthday in a blaze of bubbles and yes, we’re still playing with them weeks later! We must have mixed up over thirty litres of bubble solution in the past few weeks so here is a video tutorial for our go-to recipe (from the soapbubble wikia website) and a few fun tricks by Miss Chu:
Bubble play is a fascinating combination of art and science – they illustrate such a wide range of scientific concepts (light and optics, surfactant chemistry, efficient geometry, etc…) and yet are simultaneously open-ended, creative, challenging and entertaining. Definitely one of my favourite activities of all time. A few buckets of bubble solution, some string and straws and you can entertain me a bunch of kids for a good long while…and some adults too! So this is how I spent quite a few evenings prior to Miss Chu’s party…
For best effect, bubbles solutions actually need to be tweaked for different climates and even for the size of bubble you want to blow. The concentrations of washing up liquid and guar gum all have a significant impact on how long your bubbles last and the size of bubbles you can achieve. For example, I found that doubling the amount of guar gum produced a satisfyingly thick solution that made wonderfully long lasting bubbles, but the heaviness of the solution meant it was unsuitable for making giant bubbles or performing certain kinds of tricks. So I found myself concocting different mixes for different purposes! Bubbles are extremely sensitive to their environment and despite some good results in my trusty kitchen, demonstrating these tricks in the considerably drier climate of the air-conditioned party room proved much more difficult!
Nevertheless the kids still had a lot of fun and were so eager to get hands-on with the bubble making that even the cake was sidelined in favour of bubble play. I received text messages from the amused (or concerned?!) mother of one guest later that night telling me that her daughter was still experimenting with bubbles in their bathroom at 10pm ?!
Now that we’ve upped our game on the bubbling front, Miss Chu is even considering entering an annual local science contest this year with some bubble busking. And yet, much as we’re now all addicted to bubble blowing, I will endeavour to write about something different next month… I promise!