Monday, October 5, 2009

Building Stronger Bubbles (and learning about them)

Do you ever look for activities to do with your kids that will not only be fun but also educational?

On this Monday’s segment on WUSA9 News Now, I showed Peggy Fox and the viewers a nifty trick with bubbles. We made stronger bubbles that we could bounce and play with.

But before I forget, here is a reminder about the Private School and Enrichment FAIR that will be taking place next Saturday.

Saturday, October 10th 11:00 am- 4 pm
NEWSEUM in Washington DC
555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Enter at the 6th Street Entrance
FREE Admission
Hands-on Science Activities
Door Prizes

If you have been thinking about going to the Newseum but thought it was a bit pricy, this is a terrific opportunity for you. We will be giving out discount tickets to the Newseum at the FAIR. The FAIR is free and you don’t have to go through the Newseum to get to it. You enter on the 6th Street entrance. And when you get there, just ask for your discounted tickets to the Newseum. Be sure to let the kids do some of the hands-on activities we will be doing at the FAIR. There will be door prizes and seminars on topics of interest to moms and dads.

Active, Healthy Lifestyles for Kids (Presented by Richard Romero)
Preparing Kids for Success in School (Presented by Monica Gourovitch, PhD)
Family Wills, Trusts & Selecting a Guardian (Presented by Carrie Tipton, Esq.)
Panel Discussion -- Meet the Directors
School Admissions Questions and How to Choose a School
-----Bekah Atkinson, The Siena School
-----Leigh Ann Cahill, Independent School Options
-----Bobby Edwards, McLean School of Maryland
-----Susan Matilla-Goin, National Cathedral School
-----Theodra Washington, Metropolitan Educational Consulting Group
-----Karen Weinberger, Congressional School of Virginia
Hands-On Science Activities with Your Child & Discussion
and Resources for Science at Home (Presented by the Children's Science Center)
Special Needs Within Private Schools (Presented by Sally Neuberger, LCSW)
The Bully Prevention Parenting Seminar (Presented by Dr. Marc Grande, Psy.D.)

Special Prizes:
· Family Weekend Getaway for four to Massanutten Resort
(includes accommodations and indoor water park tickets)
· $500 School Tuition
(to the private school of your choice)
· Shred Sled Skateboard
· Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker
· DVD’s
· Books
· … and more

Click Here for all the information on the fair.

Now, about those strong bubbles. First, what is a bubble?

According to Wikipedia:
A soap bubble is a very thin film of soapy water that forms a sphere with an iridescent surface. Soap bubbles usually last for only a few moments before bursting, either on their own or on contact with another object. Before they pop on their own, the bubble itself usually starts to thin, then it reaches a point where it can thin out no more and it pops. They are often used for children's enjoyment, but their usage in artistic performances shows that they can also be fascinating for adults. Soap bubbles can help solving complex mathematical problems of space, as they will always find the smallest surface area between points or edges, for example.

Surface tension causes the layer of soap to act as an elastic sheet with the water forming the bubble. Liquids have surface tension and it draws them together. Have you ever seen 2 drops of mercury get close to each other and then suddenly become one drop? That is surface tension. Another example easy for children to see is when rain drops are running down the window. When they get close to another rain drop they join together and become a larger rain drop.

This is all a part of the laws of physics.

If you just let a bubble sit on the table or your hand, it will eventually pop because the water evaporates and the surface tension is too much as the bubble contracts. You can freeze bubbles but you have to have the temperature at -15 degrees Celsius. (5 degrees F).

A Chicago company called Chemtoy began selling bubble solution in the 1940s, and they have captivated children ever since. According to one industry estimate, retailers sell around 200 million bottles annually, perhaps more than any other toy.

What we did this morning was add glycerin to our soap and water mixture. This makes the bubble stronger. Then we tested our bubbles.

(FYI the trick to making the solution produce really strong bubbles is to let it sit at least overnight before you start using it.)

If you try to catch a bubble with your bare hand, you will most likely pop it because of the dirt and oil on your hand breaks the surface tension of the soap and water bubble. If you put on a soft fabric glove, you can catch the “strong” bubbles and bounce them around. Or you can just hold one in your hand until it evaporates and pops. It is great fun. Here is the recipe we used for our strong bubble mixture.

Strong Bubble Ingredients:

Cup of distilled or bottled water

Tablespoon of dish soap

Teaspoon of Glycerin

Bubble wand or straw

Be sure to let it sit for 24 hours. Then you can blow and bounce to your heart’s content.

Do you have any activities that are fun and relate to science? I would love to see them. Send them along and we will share them with other parents.

Happy Parenting,

P.S. Remember – we want to see you next Saturday at the Newseum for the Private School & Enrichment FAIR.

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