The quickest way to put a smile on a kid’s face? Bubbles. And the bigger the bubbles, the better.
That’s why I enlisted my friend Chris, aka BubbleDad, to write Momsanity’s very first guest post and show you how to make insanely large bubbles. He’s created a bubble wand that’s easy enough for preschoolers to use—and easy enough for a mom as DIY-challenged as me to make (or buy at his online store).
It’s the perfect activity for Labor Day weekend or any gorgeous fall day. And trust me when I say that it will keep your little ones occupied for a really, really long time. Happy Bubbling! –Dawn
TWO YEARS AGO, when my then-6-year-old asked to have a bubble-themed birthday party, I was jazzed. A fun, outdoor, non-commercial-character-driven, gender-neutral theme. Right up my alley!
I decided to pay a visit to the local “giant-bubble guy” at the park. Kids always flocked around him, mystified by the ginormous bubbles that emerged from his unassuming five-gallon bucket. He quoted me $75 an hour. I thought about it and instead decided to buy $75 worth of bubble paraphernalia and DIY the party instead.
It was not only a success, but it also gave me an idea: to design a homemade version of the bubble wand—with little bubblers in mind. After many iterations, I came up with the Bubble-inator_1.0. While it may sound like a Heinz Doofenschmirtz evil monstrosity, it’s just straws, string and a few beads. It’s super affordable, easy for kids to handle and even easier to make. In fact, I’m about to show you just how easy.
All right—let’s do this, people!
• 2 straws (9-inch milkshake straws work best. If you only have traditional straws, try stuffing one into another for added strength.)
• 1 piece of cooking twine or cotton string, approximately 36 inches
• 5 plastic beads (large enough for your string to go through them)
About a half-inch from the end of each straw, poke a hole with a sharpened pencil. Poke the pencil all the way through one side of the straw to the shaft of the pencil, then remove.
Thread your beads onto the string.
Take the two ends of your string and thread them through one of the straws. As soon as they poke out, grab them. Tie a basic overhand knot as close to the ends of the strings as possible, then double the knot. Trim the ends, and gently pull the knot into the straw. (The ragged edges from the pencil hole will help it grab.)
Holding the threaded straw in your right hand, extend the loop with your left hand to make a triangle. You want an equilateral triangle or one with a slightly smaller top side. With your left hand, pinch the end and thread that through the other straw. (See Step 3 for visual reference.) Repeat the double overhand knot close to the end of the loop, trim away the extra, and gently tug into the straw.
Go make some HUGE bubbles!
TIPS FOR MAKING PERFECT BUBBLES
You can use this wand with store-bought bubble solution. In later posts, I’ll provide recipes for making your own solution and go into more detail about bubbling technique, but in the meantime, here are a few pointers….
• Put your solution in a vertical container with a large mouth: a glass jar (i.e., a pickle jar) or a straight-sided bucket.
• Stand with the wind at your back. When I say “wind,” you’ll ideally want a light breeze. If it’s a strong wind, it will be impossible to make big bubbles, so shoot for smaller ones.
• Dip the loop down to the tips of your wands into the solution, but don’t swish it around. Big bubbles don’t like little foamy bubbles.
• Bring the wands up together and lift to about eye level. Slowly open the wands and let the breeze do the work. When your bubble is big enough, gently bring the wands together to close it off. If there’s a lot of wind, keep your triangle small and just make lots of smaller bubbles.
• If there’s no breeze, you can blow into the triangle or carefully walk backward. Emphasis on carefully! My 8-year-old has walked backward into several light posts, unsuspecting people and—well, you get the idea.
• For younger bubblers, create a slightly smaller triangle loop. I’ve seen 3-year-olds who are able to get the technique right…though children as young as 1 have proven to be world-class bubble poppers.
ABOUT BUBBLEDAD: Chris Catanese (aka BubbleDad) has been bubbling for two years with his wife and two little boy bubblers in New York City. In the spring of 2015, he decided to give up his amateur status and pursue bubbling professionally. His Bubble-inator wands and Really, Really Epic Giant Bubble Solution Powder are available at www.Bubbledad.com, where you can also find information about booking BubbleDad for events in the NYC metro area. You can also find him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.