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Blowing the Best Bubbles: A Preschool Science Program

School has finally ended here and we are getting ready for a summer full of science programs for all ages to go along with our summer reading theme. Bubbles are always a welcome addition to the play period of our story times, so I thought creating and exploring bubbles at one of our Library Labs would be a great way for four and five year olds to be introduced to the basics of the scientific method, practice using science vocabulary, and learn more about surface tension, all while having fun.

The children will have been introduced to the idea of surface tension at the previous week’s Library Lab. We will experiment to see what happens when you sprinkle pepper on water and then insert a cotton swab that has been dipped in dishwashing liquid.  We will also do a similar experiment with milk and food coloring observing what happens when you insert a cotton swab dipped in dishwashing liquid.

I will begin our bubble Library Lab with a review of what we learned at the previous program. Then we will share a book that introduces the science behind bubbles. I chose Pop! A Book About Bubbles by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley because it offers information on how bubbles form, why they are round, and why they pop in simple and very readable text.

HarperCollins, 2001

Second, we will move on to bubble solutions. I have three bubble recipes. One is made with detergent and water only, one adds glycerin to the recipe, and the third adds corn syrup to the recipe. For the sake of time, I will have mixed the solutions prior to the program, but we will talk about the ingredients in each of the recipes. I will ask the children questions about how the solutions look the same and how they look different and we will record our observations on my dry erase board. We will also make some predictions about which solution we think might make the best bubbles and record those predictions.

Third, we will test our hypotheses by trying out the three bubble solutions. This will be both the messiest and most fun part of the program. To determine which bubbles are best we will be looking at which ones are hardest to pop and which bubbles last the longest if you catch them on the bubble wand. The children will be working in small groups during this part of the program with some high school student volunteers that will be helping the groups to record their data and observations on a very simple chart.

Photo by Michelle Willis

Finally, we will come together as a group to share our data and to draw our conclusions about which bubble solution makes for the best bubbles and why that particular solution worked best. I have also prepared a take home activity sheet with information on the day’s activity, the bubble solution recipes, and some additional activities to try with bubbles.


Michelle Willis works as the Head of Children’s Services at the Scotch Plains Public Library in Scotch Plains, NJ and a member of the Early Childhood Programs and Services committee.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Blowing the Best Bubbles: Part 2 | ALSC Blog

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