Bubbles

Making soap bubbles can be a very exciting exploration for children. As indicated by the continual sales of soap bubble solutions and toys in stores, creating soap bubbles has been a favorite pastime of children and adults for many years. Bubbles have an inherent appeal because of their precise shapes, their very intense colors, and, of course, their ability to float through the air.Children can only make very small spherical bubbles when using the small bottles of bubble solution and wands available commercially. And there are only a few devices available in stores that can be used to make larger bubbles. However, bubbles come in many shapes and sizes—for instance, there are gigantic bubbles and tabletop dome bubbles—and children can easily explore the world of bubbles using simple dishwashing soap solution and other materials around the house.

Even if children have blown bubbles several times, they may not have looked very closely at them or noticed the shapes and patterns they form. Bubbles have a geometric regularity to their arrangements that children can discover. In certain situations, soap film can be observed to move in very curious ways. The suggested equipment and explorations of this Bubbles project are set up to help children observe these patterns and properties.The overall goal of this project is to provide the opportunity for children to practice making careful observations of soap film and to develop and refine skills in the manipulation of materials. Children can also develop good habits of mind when they report on their explorations and talk about what they think is happening. They can practice generating questions and attempt to find answers to those questions. These abilities and habits of mind are a necessary foundation for extended inquiry in school and are generally useful in the exploration of other phenomena. More generally, the goal of the Explore It! program is to preserve the innate curiosity and wonder of children.