Incidental Science Blog #4

When your children are small, it's easy to get caught up in creating a solid routine; naps, eating, drinking, potty training etc. Not everyone has the time or inclination to plan detailed play lessons for their bundles of joy/chaos. I recommend paring it down - simple is not only easier for you but also just as effective for young kids. Case in point; you're cooking and your toddler gets into a cupboard, pulls out a pot and lid and spends the next 20 minutes completely entranced. It may be a loud and annoying toy, but it's a cheap and effective one.


I give you one word: Bubbles. You may have forgotten this incredible toddler tool in your box of entertainment tricks but it's a powerful one and I implore you to utilise it one of these brisk Autumn days. Liquid soap is your weapon of choice and anything with holes in it is your friend. Straws, string, toilet rolls, the other end of the spatula... just to name a few. 


And so you're armed with a few Science tidbits to teach your little one, here are some cool facts:


1. A bubble is air wrapped in soap film and the inside and outside surfaces are made of soap molecules.


2. Bubbles pop because the water between the soap molecule layers (like a sandwich) evaporate.


3. In really cold places, bubbles can freeze!


4. The colder the weather, the higher a bubble can fly because the warm air from your breath is lighter than the air outside.


5. Bubbles get their colours from the light waves reflecting the bubble's soap surfaces.


6. Bubbles can reflect what's around them (you might be able to see your face if you get close enough!).


If you want a more portable version of this activity, we sell bubble kits of all sorts for all ages at the Science Shop - check out our recent bubble feature below.



And on top of that we've just released a short video of our Bubble Workshop at Cashmere Early Learning Centre. I was lucky enough to hang out with them for the morning and enjoy learning and playing with all sorts of bubbles. Bubbles are the ultimate Child Whisperer, except they'll stay awake and be entertained for hours. 



Geni McCallum is the Marketing Manager and Community Educator for Science Alive! She lives in Christchurch with her partner, step-daughter and cat. 


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Science Alive!