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Children LOVE Bubbles &
Are Good for Them Too!

Helping children experience fun, engaging activities is important.  Not only does it keep them happy, creating positive bonds between the child and the family, it also encourages healthy development.  In the early years, providing a variety of stimulations actually encourages the development of the brain.  No wonder bubble-blowers are one of the world's oldest and most popular toys.

Language is a complex set of behaviors.  It involves much more than learning words and their meaning.  A child needs to have the psycho-motor skills to be ready to learn languages.  Playing with  bubbles encourages a variety of opportunities to coordinate breathing and movements with the mouth and tongue.  It also allows children to practice eye-hand coordination as they point at the bubbles and try to catch them.

Best of all - there is really nothing to explain.  Most children will pick up bubble blowing by watching someone else blow a few good bubbles.  They naturally engage themselves, allowing the fun and excitement to guide their curiosity and learning.  Look at how much fun Nina, the girl featured in the video above, is having!  The wonder, awe, and stimulation that bubbles provide represent an exciting way to help your child.  That is why bubbles are part of Wisconsin Council on Children and Family's Better Badger Baby Bus Tour!

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Articles About Child Development & Bubbles

Blowing Bubbles May Help.  A technique similar to the one mothers use to cope with labor pain may help children cope with the pain of shots, according to a recent study from Ohio State University.  Click HERE to read more."

Help Children Blow Away Anger.  You can teach your child strategies for coping with anger that can defuse todayís temper tantrums and manage stress throughout his or her life. Ignore the tantrums while your child learns these new skills (see below). Walk away, vacuum the carpet, load the dishwasher. Tantrums wonít escalate if you donít react to them.  Click HERE to read more.

Kids Who Blow Bubbles Find Language Is Child's Play"oungsters who can lick their lips, blow bubbles and pretend that a building block is a car are most likely to find learning language easy, according to a new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Psychologists at Lancaster University, led by Dr Katie Alcock, found strong links between these movement, or motor and thinking, or cognitive, skills and children's language abilities."  Click HERE to read more.

Moving Around: How to Support Your Child's Gross-Motor Development.  Everyday ways you can help your child develop big-muscle movement, from ages 2 to 5, including chasing bubbles.  If you have a typically developing toddler or preschooler in the house, you're probably on the move most of the time... trying to keep up with the small person who whizzes by you, ready to climb anything that goes up, jump on anything that may (or may not) support her weight, open anything that is closed, run to anything that looks fun, and ride on anything with wheels.  Click HERE to read more.

More Bubbles, Fewer Troubles for Children's Ears.  Blowing bubbles is fun for most kids, but for many indigenous children it's also a way of preventing a debilitating ear infection.  One in three indigenous children suffers from chronic otitus media - or glue ear - from birth to age nine.  In the non-indigenous population, the figure is one in 10.  Click HERE to read more.

Toddlers Who Blow Bubbles Learn To Speak Earlier.  Toddlers who blow bubbles and lick their lips seem to learn how to acquire language earlier than babies who don't, say researchers from Lancaster University, UK. They found a clear link between a toddler's ability to carry out complex mouth movements with the ability to acquire and develop language.  Click HERE to read more.

What the Blogs Are Saying.  By Technorati, the authority on what's going on in the world of weblogs.  This link will give you an updated list on blogs that are featuring child development.  Click HERE to read more.

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10 Magical Things about Bubbles

  1. No spill containers . . . no worry about spilling anything! The bubbles can be left out for the children to play with as often as they want.
  2. Blow lots of bubbles. This helps with all sorts of muscles in your mouth for speech development for forming words and articulation.
  3. Pop a bubble. Reaching all sorts of positions helps with muscle coordination and eye/hand coordination.
  4. Isolate that finger. Use the pointer finger to pop the bubble. Now pop the bubble on different body parts while you label them. This helps with language, cognitive and sensory development.
  5. Color bubbles. Add some food coloring and blow the bubbles onto some paper and make bubble prints.
  6. Frozen bubbles. Take the bubbles outside in the winter and blow. Watch the bubbles freeze in mid-air.
  7. Tons of bubbles. Hold the wand in front of a fan. Millions of bubbles will come out. (Parents, you must be around for this one.)
  8. Jump on a bubble. Blow the bubbles on a carpet. Let the children jump to pop them. This is great for large motor muscle development.
  9. Catch a bubble. If your hands are wet, you can catch and hold a bubble. You can also catch a bubble with another bubble.
  10. All ages entertainment. Bubble can entertain and bring all ages of people together. Share with grandparents and babies . . . .

. . . . . enjoy the magic of bubbles!

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More on Bubbles! 

Bubbles are a gas trapped inside a liquid - in this case, air trapped in a soapy solution that forms a film.  The air in bubbles  pushes against the surrounding liquid film.  The air pushes the film with the same pressure at each point.  The liquid film holds the bubble together. 

The surface tension of the film is the same at each point.  Because the pressure of the air pushing out and the film holding it in is equal at all points, bubbles are always round.  Bubbles represents an "equillibrium" between the air trapped inside and the surface tension of the outer film.

Scientists call bubbles "minimal surface structures."  Bubbles always hold the gas or liquid inside of them with the least possible surface area. The geometric form with the least surface area for any given volume is always a sphere.  Other shapes, like boxes, pyramids, and tubes have a more surface area.

Bubble solutions are usually made of water, soap and glycerine.  By itself, water is not "bendable" enough to blow bubbles with.  Adding soap makes the water more bendable.  The glycerine also helps and makes the solution "wetter" so that it does not dry out as fast.  A soap and glycerine solution, without water, is too thick to blow big bubbles with.  The water is needed to thin the solution.  Instead of glycerine, one can add light corn syrup, though the bubbles may not be as stable.

Bubbles pop when they are touched or when the film just starts to dry,  When a bubble is touched by something dry, it looses moisture.  Bubbles will even dry as they are exposed to the air.  Drying causes the film to shrink.  Eventually, the equilibrium between the air inside and the film's surface tension is broken.  The air pushes out with the same force while the film looses some of its surface tension.  The result is the bubble pops.

A bubble actually does not have any color, but it reflects and refracts light from both the inner and outer surface of the bubble.  If you carefully look at a bubble, you will see colors like a rainbow.  When light hits the surface of a bubble, some of the light is reflected back to a viewer's eye from the outer surface and part of the light is reflected from the inner surface.  Because the outer surface is few millionths of an inch close than the inner surface, the two waves of light bounce back and interfere with each other.

Waves, like light, can reinforce each other, making the color is more intense.  Bubbles with thick films show the most color.  Waves, like light, can also cancel each other out, and then we see almost no color.  As a bubble wall gets thinner, because the solution is weak, drying out, or gravity has pulled its mass to the bottom, the distance between the inner surface and the outer surface of the bubble becomes less.  Eventually, the two reflected waves of light start to coincide and cancel each other out.  Then bubbles lose their color, becoming nearly invisible.

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Bubble Recipes

Sure, its convenient to buy bubble solution, buy you can make your own.  If children are old enough, have them help.  Recipes are a great way to introduce and reinforce math concepts like fractions.  Try making different bubble solutions and "test" to see which ones work best.  Different conditions, such as humidity and air pressure affect bubbles, so there is not one "best" solution for every situation.

Basic Bubbles I

  • 2/3 cup Joy dishwashing soap
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of glycerine (available at pharmacy / chemical supply house)

Basic Bubbles II

  • 1/2 cup Dawn liquid dish soap
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 3 Tbls glycerine (available at pharmacy / chemical supply house)

Basic Bubbles III

  • 1 cup Ultra Ivory Blue
  • 12 cups water
  • 3/4 Tablespoon glycerine (available at pharmacy / chemical supply house)

No Tears Bubbles I

  • 1/4 cup no-tears baby shampoo
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup (Karo is popular brand)

No Tears Bubbles II

  • 2 Cups no-tears baby shampoo
  • 6 cups water
  • 1cup Light Corn Syrup (Karo is popular brand)

"Heavy Duty", Long Lasting Bubbles

  • 1/3 cup commercial bubble solution (i.e.  Wonder Bubbles)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup glycerin (Note:  this is a thicker, "wetter" solution)

Big Bubbles

  • 1 cup liquid detergent (or no-tears baby shampoo)
  • 1 cup glycerin (or corn syrup)
  • 3 cups water
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10 Tips for Better Bubbles

  1. Soft water makes the best bubbles.  If you don't have a water-softener, use distilled water to make bubble solution.  Well water, hard water, well water, and any water containing minerals and iron is bad for bubbles.
  2. Adding glycerin to your bubble mix keeps them from drying out quickly, which pops bubbles.  Glycerin can be found in your local pharmacy - it can be fairly expensive.   An easier-to-find, less expensive substitute is white Karo Syrup, available at the grocery store.
  3. Let bubble solution "rest."  Make your bubble solution in advance and store it overnight in the refrigerator before blowing bubbles.
  4. Skim off any suds or foam from surface of bubble mixture before making bubbles.  Be careful not to splash the wand around in the bubble solution -- suds and foam are "bubble-busters".
  5. Dryness is the "anti-bubble."  Touching a bubble with anything dry will immediately pop it.  Make sure the bubble wand, hands, and anything bubble may touch is wet.
  6. Soak bubble wands and other bubble-makers in the bubble solution a few minutes prior to using.
  7. The best days to blow bubbles are overcast, cool and humid.  These are ideal weather conditions for blowing bubbles.  On hot, dry or windy days, try to find a shady spot out of the wind.
  8. Don't blow too hard!  Many small bubbles instead of one big one means there is too much air pressure.
  9. After blowing a big bubble, use a quick twist of the wrist to seal it and send it floating off the wand or bubble tool. 
  10. Try "throwing" bubbles instead of blowing bubbles.  Move the wand in a slow fluid motion.  Experiment, different wands and bubble tools work better for throwing instead of blowing.
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World Bubble Records

bullet Most People in a Bubble.  On March 27, 2006, Sam Heath -- known as "Sam Sam the Bubble Man" -- set the Guinness World Record for most people inside a single bubble when he enclosed 19 boys and girls over 5 feet tall inside a giant bubble at Chessington World of Adventures outside London in Surrey, UK. He used a 152 cm circular wooden platform for the children to stand on, surrounded by a 25cm gap to hold the bubble solution.
bullet Largest Free-Floating Soap Bubble.  On October 9, 2005, John Erck of XTREME Bubbles blew the Guinness World Record largest free-floating soap bubble, 105.4 cubic feet (2.98 cubic meters) in size. If the bubble were filled with water, it would hold 788 gallons and weigh 3.2 tons. To give you another idea of its size, 13,627 baseballs would fit inside of it.
bullet Most People Simultaneously Blowing Bubbles.  On May 16, 1999, prior to West Ham United F.C.'s home Premier League soccer fixture against Middlesbrough F.C. at the Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, London, a total of 23,680 people in the stadium blew bubbles for a minute. Read about it at the Guinness World Records website. (Previous record holder was the University of Guelph with 2,000 people in 1999.)
bullet Largest Bubble Wall.  Fan Yang of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada created a 156-foot-long and 13-foot-high, bubble wall on August 11, 1997, at the Kingdome Pavilion in Seattle, Washington. The 4,000 square feet of bubble stayed up for 5 to 10 seconds.
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