Bubble snakes

After discussing what my son had been doing at preschool (he goes a couple of days a week), it emerged that his class had made 'bubble snakes' and he liked them.  However, he said he'd not been able to have a go himself and seemed a little sad about it.  I've seen this idea around, and they're very simple to make, so I thought we could make some and he could try blowing them himself.

I cut the bottom off a 500ml drinks bottle (check this isn't sharp if you try this, you could stick tape around it if it is) then put a piece of the netting from around some oranges over the bottom.  I secured it with an elastic band then dipped the netting end in a little bubble mix which I put in a saucer.  If you then blow through the neck of the bottle towards the netting, it produces bubbles which join together.  This is because they form in adjacent 'holes' and then they touch as they fill with air.  The layers of soap and water that form the outside of the bubble join together giving the smallest surface area for the volume of air inside.

First attempt, using netting

It wasn't brilliant, as the bubbles were big and they tended to blow away, and my son explained that the one at preschool was better(!) so I found a baby sock to use instead. The sock has smaller holes between the threads and produced a better 'snake' of smaller bubbles connected together, formed as air is forced through the air holes. With more connections between the bubbles, this seemed to hold together better and actually formed something long and thin and snake-like.

Blowing his bubble snake

My son had a few goes of dipping the sock end and blowing.  Once he'd got the hang of it, he experimented with what happens when you suck after you've blown (the air comes out of the bubbles that haven't yet closed and a few others pop).  He was quite fascinated by the disappearing bubbles until he sucked a bit too hard and tasted the soap!  He then decided it was more fun to get me to blow and then he could pop the bubbles.  We got one impressively long snake (although I was blowing so didn't get a photo!) but there was quite a breeze so it tended to break in the wind and we mostly got short 'snakes'.

Bubbles joined together in a 'snake'

Both boys liked the 'snakes' of bubbles, particularly popping them. I'm sure I will be asked to bring the bottle and sock out again soon! Maybe next time I will get my older one to have a closer look at the shapes of the bubbles which are all joined together and compare them to the spheres and hemispheres he made when we made bubble wands and blew bubbles on a flat surface earlier this year.