Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Janet from Chicago, IL. Janet Wonders, “How do you freeze bubbles?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Janet!
How do you keep yourself entertained on the coldest days of the year? It can be difficult! After all, it’s not like you can just round up your friends for a game of tag in negative-degree temperatures.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a place that gets lots of snow each year, you might have an easier time. Maybe you go sledding or organize a snowball fight. Or maybe, if the temperature gets low enough, you go outside and freeze bubbles!
Have you ever made frozen bubbles or seen pictures of them? If so, you know they can be a beautiful sight. Below the glossy surface, complex ice crystals are observable. Some people even practice freezing bubbles until they can make them form around pine needles or blades of grass.
Have you ever WONDERed how to freeze bubbles? The first step is to get the right mixture of ingredients. Many people have experimented with recipes over the years. Today, most bubble freezing experts recommend some mixture of warm water, corn syrup, dish soap, and sugar.
Each of these ingredients has a special job to do to make the perfect frozen bubbles. The water is for freezing, of course, and the dish soap is for making the actual bubbles. The corn syrup makes the solution thicker, which helps the bubbles last longer. Sugar helps make the ice crystals more apparent.
Once the ingredients are mixed, it’s important to let the solution cool in the freezer. Remove it after about 30 minutes. Then you’re ready to make frozen bubbles—but make sure you dress warmly! The temperature needs to be quite low for this experiment to work.
How cold does it need to be to freeze bubbles? Very cold—frigid, in fact! If you’ll be freezing bubbles outside, the thermometer needs to be at -10° F (-23° C). You should also practice care in choosing your bubble wand.
Some people use a simple metal wand, but others find it’s more fun to use a squeeze bottle and straw. Just fill the bottle with the bubble solution and insert a straw. Place tape over any gaps between the straw and bottle. Then squeeze the bottle and watch the bubbles fly!
Did you know every bubble has three layers? It’s true! When you look at a bubble, you’re seeing a sphere of water surrounded on each side by a layer of soapy water. In frigid weather, the middle layer of water freezes to make the ice crystals you can see in frozen bubbles.
It’s best to freeze bubbles on a day with no wind. This makes it more likely that they’ll freeze before popping. Of course, even a frozen bubble won’t last long. The air inside the bubble can escape through even the smallest crack in the ice. This will cause the frozen bubble to pop.
Have you ever made frozen bubbles? Would you like to? It can be a fun way to enjoy a wintry day and learn about science at the same time!
Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2