5.20.2018

Bubble Fun + the Best Bubble Books

We recently held our annual Texas Reader's Club bubble day at school.  The celebration is for children who read widely across genres throughout the year.  This long-standing tradition is a favorite end-of-year activity, because BUBBLES!  Bubbles are so much fun with kids of all ages.  At our party, students travel in groups through several bubble stations.  After several years of hosting the bubble-themed party, I have refined our activities based on what works best and gets the most bubble bang with the least back-breaking effort.  Here are some of our favorites including the tools that we love most.

Big Bubbles
An easy activity that kids always enjoy is the big bubble station.  Students line up behind four tubs of bubble solution and take turns blowing gigantic bubbles.  The only special tools for this activity, other than the plastic tubs that we use for almost everything, are the giant bubble wands.  We have collected several plastic and metal versions over the years.  They all seem to work great as long as they have a nice long handle, so the kids can reach the bubble solution without ending up with their arms in the bucket.

Bubble Art
 
Bubble art is a super fun station that ends with a beautiful product.  Before students arrive, we set up four large pieces of paper by taping down the corners onto picnic tables or the ground using masking tape.  Any large, white paper will work as long as it has a rough-textured side that can absorb liquid. Next we prepare about four different colors of bubble solutions for each table by mixing several drops of food coloring or a packet of Kool-Aid Unsweetened Drink Mix into a cup of regular bubble solution.  Students use regular, small bubble wands to dip into the colored solution and then blow colored bubbles toward the big paper. We have collected wands over the years by saving them from regular-size bubble bottles.  The results are stunning, and the kids have lots of fun.  We have used these giant pieces of artwork to create posters to advertise the event in future years (as seen at the top of this post.)

A few things to keep in mind:
1. Yellow solution doesn't usually show up on the paper, so it's best to use other colors.
2. Red food coloring / Kool-Aid can stain clothes, so use your best judgement about the age group and temperament of your students when deciding whether you need smocks or if you just want to skip this color.
3. If you want to write a message on the poster, you can write with black crayon before students begin adding their bubble art.

Bubble Boogie / Bubble Swat
If you've ever spent time around kids and bubbles, you know that a favorite activity is just chasing and popping bubbles.  To turn this into an organized activity that doesn't require an adult to pass out from blowing billions of bubble to chase, get a bubble machine!  I especially like the Blitz Bubble Fantasia Machine.  Over the years, I have tried out several bubble machines with mixed results.  I believed, for a long time, that most bubble machines just couldn't stand up to the workload I demand (about 2 hours of non-stop use).  But this year, I made an important discovery: the type of bubble solution you use really matters!  The Blitz Bubble Machine had no trouble putting out huge clouds of bubbles for as long as we needed as long as we kept using the Blitz bubble solution that came with it.  When we tried to fill it up with other solutions, it just fizzled.  The 35 oz. bottle of solution that came with the machine was more than enough for our event, but you may want to order back-up solution if you're planning to use the machine all summer long.  The Blitz brand has large bottles in fun scents like Apple and Grape.
At this station, you can play music and invite students to dance among the bubbles, or you can encourage them to swat the bubbles seeing how many they can pop.  Children can swat the bubbles with long bubbles wands (these come in the larger bottles of bubble solution), fly swatters, or just use their hands.  As you set up this area, notice which direction the wind is blowing.  Kids will want to chase the bubbles, so make sure they have some space to run in the direction the bubbles will fly without running into anything.  Avoid areas with anthills, storm drains, or other obstacles to prevent injuries, since children will be looking up at the bubbles as they run.

Bubble Books
At this station, kids get to cool down and read books about bubbles.  When preparing this station, look through your personal book collection as well as your neighborhood public library for anything about bubbles, baths, soap, or bubblegum.  
Some of our favorite bubble-related books include
Bubble Bubble by Mercer Mayer

What are your favorite bubble activities and bubble books?

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