Want to impress your kids in the cold weather? Freeze a bubble. A fun cold-weather activity that involves, well, freezing bubbles, it’s a great way to keep kids occupied in the winter, as well as introduce them to some fun, accessible science. They’ll be amazed that you can turn a bubble — something that usually only survives a few seconds — into a strange, otherworldly orb. It’s hard to think of any better activities for kids stuck home on a snow day.
Prep Time: About 10 minutes.
Entertainment Time: Indoors, 10 minutes. Outdoors, 10-30 minutes.
Energy Expended by Child: Indoors, minimal. Outdoors, plenty.
What You Need:
- A freezer or cold weather
- A baking sheet
- Bubbles; extra bubble solution
- An area largely shielded from wind
How to Play:
To freeze a bubble indoors, start by putting a metal baking sheet in the freezer for five to ten minutes. While you wait, ask your kids how they think bubbles work. When the sheet is good and cold, take it out of the freezer and pour on some bubble solution from the container. Next, take out the bubble wand (the smaller ones work best) and, after dipping it in the container, blow the biggest bubble you can toward the portion of the cookie sheet with bubble solution it. The goal is to get the bubble you’re blowing to stick in the solution on the pan. It’ll take some practice, but it’s fun. Because: bubbles. And you can let the kids take turns, as well. If they don’t like to share, everybody gets a cookie sheet ⏤ problem solved.
Once you get a bubble to stick in the solution, gently move the baking sheet to the freezer, making sure to only loosely close the door. (If it fully seals, the pressure imbalance when you reopen the door will likely pop the bubble.) Most kitchen freezers keep food well below 32 degrees, so it won’t take long for your bubble to freeze. In about five minutes or so, gently open the door to check in on the freezing process. When the bubble starts to freeze, its surface will look like cellophane.
When it appears frosted and crystalline, carefully take out the sheet, summon the kids, and get the camera. If it popped while freezing — this process could take some trial and error, we’re dealing with bubbles, after all — try again, but not before showing the kids how weird a half-frozen bubble looks. If you were successful and have a fully frozen bubble, snap some pics before letting the kids pop it. It won’t disintegrate in the same way normal bubble falling through the air does — it’s more like a thin sheet of plastic ripping — and they’re likely to be wowed.
You can also bundle up and freeze the bubbles outside. If so, you have two options: 1) Similar to above, you can blow the bubbles on to a cold baking sheet and watch them freeze; or 2) If it’s really frigid, simply blow them just big enough so that they don’t detach from the wand. Then hold the wand in your hand for a few seconds until the bubble freezes. In fact, if it’s cold enough for method two, you might as well bust out bubble kits for everyone and let the kids go nuts. The results can be stunning.
Freezing bubbles is the best way to burn half an hour when you’re cooped up on a cold winter’s day, not to mention a way to get kids outdoors learning and having fun, even in the worst of weather.