Giant bubbles are easy to make and can provide hours of entertainment for kids and grown-ups alike!
I was recently given the responsibility of leading a sensory enrichment group for a variety of summer school classes in my district, which included students with and without disabilities. Since I know there are tons of developmental benefits of playing with bubbles, I made sure one of our sensory stations revolved around bubbles. The students got to play with giant bubbles at that station, and they were a hit with the kids and teachers every week!
I researched several different bubble recipes and ways to make bubble wands in preparation for this group. I even tested a few different recipes (including those that use glycerin, corn syrup, and guar gum) and I ended up pulling my favorite tips from a variety of different bubble recipes and wand-making directions to make it my own. As a result, I have settled on my current favorite recipe and bubble wand directions! For me, this particular recipe and directions provide the perfect combination of practicality (using materials you can find at home or in stores without special ordering them) and bubble strength. This post contains affiliate links for your reference (see my full disclosure here).
Ingredients for Bubble Solution:
Never heard of “guar gum” before? I hadn’t either. I’ve learned that it is a gluten-free powder with 8x the thickening power of cornstarch. This is the “secret ingredient” for this recipe that makes the bubbles strong enough to maintain their giant size and shape. It can usually be found in natural food stores. I found mine at Whole Foods. You can also find it on Amazon by clicking here if you don’t feel like making a special trip.
How to Make Bubble Solution for Giant Bubbles:
Step 1: In a large bucket or pot, whisk together dish soap, baking powder, and guar gum until all lumps disappear. Remember, it has to be bigger than 1-gallon size because you will be adding a full gallon of water to this mixture.
Step 2: Add water. I found it’s best NOT to use hot water with this recipe because it ended up making all the ingredients clump up and it didn’t mix well for some reason. Also, I found gallon-size twist-top containers at the Dollar Tree and have been using those to store and transport my bubble solution since I’ve been making 3+ gallons per week.
Step 3: Gently whisk all ingredients approximately 10 seconds or until well mixed.
Step 4: Let mixture sit in container overnight or up to 24 hours before using. This final step is important! If you try to use this bubble solution right away, it will not do nearly as well as if you wait. I have done it after an hour or so and it has worked okay, but overnight to 24 hours will give you the best results! I have learned that it is normal for the mixture to separate after sitting overnight. No worries. Just give it a good stir or shake before using and you will be fine.
After you mix together your bubble ingredients and set them aside, it’s time to make your bubble wand so you can make some awesome giant bubbles!
Materials for Bubble Wand for Giant Bubbles
- 2 sticks approximately 6-12 inches in length (I used kabob skewers and cut off the pointy ends, they worked perfectly kids ages 2-15 years)
- Cotton string or yarn (all recipes I’ve read have emphasized it needs to be cotton)
- Metal washer or similarly heavy bead
How to Make a Bubble Wand for Giant Bubbles:
Step 1: Tie the top of the sticks together with string approximately 12-18 inches in length.
Step 2: Then tie another length of string to the top of one of the sticks (“Stick A”). This string should be approximately twice the length of the first string.
Step 3: Thread the washer/bead onto this second string, and tie the other end of this string to the second stick (“Stick B”). When you hold up the two sticks, the string should form a triangle with the washer at the bottom. Some tutorials suggest threading on the washer and then tying a knot just above it in order to hold it in place at the bottom of the triangle. I haven’t found that necessary, but it’s not a bad idea.
Step 4: Wrap rubberbands around the tip of each stick to prevent the strings from sliding off when they become slimy with bubble solution. This step is optional, but highly recommended. I learned this the hard way after several students’ strings kept sliding off their sticks!
Remember that the longer you make your strings, the larger your triangle will be, and the larger your bubbles will be. If your strings get super long, you may need to use longer sticks. I used these wooden skewers because I didn’t want to buy special sticks and I randomly happened to have a whole pack of them in the trunk of my car (life of a pediatric occupational therapist!). I have seen video tutorials that recommend using wooden dowels from the hardware store for larger bubble wands, and I have even seen one tutorial that uses full-length fishing poles (yes, you read that right, fishing poles) as giant sticks for GINORMOUS bubbles! Watch that one here. It’s pretty amazing.
If you will be doing giant bubbles with a child who has difficulty grasping thin items, you can easily create a built-up handle so it will be thicker and easier to grasp. I did this for my students by cutting out a 5-inch-long chunk of dollar store foam pool noodle and then poking the skewer right through it. I then wrapped tape above and below the ends of the foam so it wouldn’t slip when the sticks became slimy with bubble solution. Yes, this bubble solution (specifically, the guar gum) makes everything pretty slimy and slippery!
Stay tuned for my next post filled with ideas for how to incorporate giant bubbles into therapy. Even if your child doesn’t receive occupational therapy services, this giant bubble activity is still beneficial for them, too!
Once your bubble solution has soaked for an appropriate amount of time and you have made your bubble wand(s), it’s time to have fun making bubbles that are so big you have to see it to believe it!
How to Form Giant Bubbles:
Step 1: Put bubble wand sticks close together, slowly lower them into the bubble solution until all the string has been immersed, and then slowly lift the sticks and string up and out of the solution.
Step 2: Gently pull the sticks apart so the string makes a triangle shape, and let the breeze blow through the triangle to create giant bubbles! If there is no breeze, you can gently blow into the triangle to create bubbles, or you can walk with the sticks to create wind and bubbles.
Check out my short video below for a quick visual tutorial and demo of these giant bubbles in action! We took our bubbles to the park on a breezy summer evening and they worked great. Many even floated across the street or up above the trees before they popped.
Isn’t that awesome!
I have found that when you are done with your bubble wand, it’s helpful to wrap the string around the sticks so they don’t get tangled up prior to the next use, like this:
So there you have it!
Bring these giant bubbles to your next party, play group, or family gathering and they are sure to be a hit.
Take a minute to learn all about the therapeutic and developmental benefits of giant bubbles.
And then bring (or share) this one-page printer-friendly version of the directions so your friends and family can make giant bubbles for themselves as well. Click on the image below to access this handout for free!
Because I have made about a dozen gallons of this bubble solution and 20+ bubble wands for lots of different kids this summer, please let me know if you have any questions or need help with any troubleshooting and I’ll see what I can do to help you out. Have fun!