Saturday, September 26, 2015

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Frozen Halloween Bubbles!

How do you tie science, Halloween, and a huge age range of kiddos into one activity that could last over an hour?  With Frozen Halloween Bubbles, of course!

Making these frozen Halloween Bubbles has become a bit of a tradition for us: we usually include them as part of a special Halloween Science day the week of Halloween--nothing screams Halloween more than awesome "creepy" bubbles flowing out of a cup and onto your bare skin!

Our kids love to pop them, but it is really easy to make them last longer so you can actually hold the bubbles too!  And everyone, from the toddlers to adults, wants in on the action!!

To make your own Frozen Halloween Bubbles, you will need these

Simple Supplies:

* plastic tubing
* cups or funnels (we've used both...I just happened to take pictures on a cup day last year)
* duct tape
* 2-liter bottle
* dry ice 
* dry ice tools (we just use a small hammer and big spoon)
* water
* bubble solution (you can make your own or buy some)
* hand towel or blanket (optional)
* gloves or socks (optional)

Preparing the Supplies:

1- Cut a hole in the top of the 2-liter bottle that is small enough to be covered by your cups or funnels.

2- Cut a small hole in each of two cups and securely duct tape the plastic tubing inside the hole.  This must be air-tight!  Note: we have used paper cups, plastic cups, and plastic funnels in the past.  The paper cups are easiest to cut holes in, but after an hour can start to fall apart. If your tubing fits easily inside (or outside!) your funnel, that lasts the longest.  Plastic cups last a long time, but seem to split easier when you are cutting a hole for the tubing.

3- Pour some bubble solution onto a plate, tray, or platter!

4- Gather your crew for some awesome science fun!!

Easy How To:

1- Fill the 2-liter bottle about 1/3 full of water.  Let your kiddos break pieces of the dry ice off with the hammer and scoop them into the water with the spoon.  This part always reminds people (even our preschoolers) of a Halloween brew!

2- Place one of your cups or funnels over the 2-liter bottle, making sure no air escapes.  Sometimes it's fun to pause here too...don't worry, you'll have plenty of dry ice for the bubbles!

3- Place the other cup or funnel in your bubble solution!  You can make lots of little bubbles...

...or dip the cup (or funnel) in the bubble solution and blow bigger "frozen" bubbles!

Our preschoolers think popping bubbles is one of the coolest things ever, but sometimes older kids (and sometimes even the preschoolers!) like to keep the bubble for a moment.  They can do this by carefully setting the bubble on a cloth (like a dish towel), holding it with gloves or sock-covered hands, or covering their hands with bubble solution and carefully holding the bubble with soap-covered hands.

What's Going On?

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide.  It "sublimates," or goes directly from a solid to a gas, at room temperatures.  When you toss it in the water, you can see the gaseous carbon dioxide rising up quickly from the 2-liter bottle.  When you send that gas along the plastic tubing, it "blows" bubbles when it hits the bubble solution on the other end!

Changing phases (solids, liquids, and gasses) is a physical change because the chemical formula of your substance (in this case, CO2) remains the same.

**A few notes about supplies**
(Just in case you're wondering!):

1- You can usually get dry ice at select supermarkets.  You usually need to show ID (and be over 18).   Also, many stores run out of dry ice on Halloween because lots of people enjoy doing fun Halloween Science activities like this!  Either go shopping early, or do your dry ice experiments a day or two before Halloween!

 Please remember dry ice is extremely cold and can burn you or your children if you touch it with your hands.  It is very important to use the hammer to break it and a spoon to scoop it.  Never use your bare hands to touch dry ice.  Your safety and your children's safety is paramount.  If you cannot use dry ice safely, do not do this activity!

2- Plastic tubing is relatively inexpensive and available at most hardware stores.  We picked ours up from Lowe's.

3.  Bubble solution is easy to make and also inexpensive to purchase.  You can find it at supermarkets, dollar stores, and in most places that carry children's toys.

I'm sharing this post with the STEM Saturday Crew!  Be sure to check out these other fantastic science activities:

Magic Leak-Proof Bag Experiment from P is for Preschooler
Why Are Bones Hollow? from The Usual Mayhem
Frozen Halloween Bubbles from Preschool Powol Packets

I may share at any of these parties!

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