These bubble wands will work for a variety of bubble-blowers from the youngest toddlers to the adults who love them. Bubbles are cheap, easy entertainment that inspire wonder and a sense of playfulness. Start out with a good, homemade bubble solution (or buy the commercial version if you must). If you don't want to negate the frugality of bubbles, consider making some of these bubble wands with items you probably already have sitting around in your house.
1. Take a Look Around the House for Bubble Wands in Hiding
These diamonds in the rough will have handles or holes or be easily adaptable. Cut the bottom out of a foam coozie and you've got a great bubble blower. One end will be soaked in bubble solution and the other will fit perfectly around your toddler's mouth. Toddlers often have problems aiming their breath at those tiny, plastic bubble wands included in bottles of solution, so bubble blowers that remove that obstacle are a plus. The cans that frozen juice concentrate come in can be modified in the same way. Get creative as you look around the house. Try these:
- a slotted spoon
- a bamboo carpet beater
- fly swatters
- a potato ricer
- 6-pack rings
- a silicone steaming basket
- mason jar lid rings
- cookie cutters
- a cocktail strainer
2. Wire Hangers
Wire hangers can be manipulated (by a safety-conscious adult, of course) into a variety of shapes and sizes. Just use pliers to straighten the wire first. Then bend a large loop at one end leaving room for a handle. Close the loop off by wrapping a bit of the end around the handle. Plastic-coated wire hangers work best for this, though any stiff but flexible wire will work. If you take some fabric and wrap it around the loop, even more bubble solution will soak in. (You can use jute, yarn, fabric scraps cut into strips, or bias tape for that). If you're having a hard time getting a perfect circle, try using a gardening container or other large, round object as a guide.
3. Pipe Cleaners
The principle here is not unlike using a wire hanger, it's just smaller and fuzzier. That fuzz comes in handy, too, as it helps these little bubble-blowing wonders soak up a lot of soapy solution. Pipe cleaners (also known as chenille stems) are also a lot easier to handle and manipulate than hangers and can be used to satisfy a large number of bubble-blowers at one time. With a little help, toddlers and younger kids can even have a go at making their own bubble wands and can learn from what works and what doesn't. Since pipe cleaners aren't expensive and they're plentiful, kids get many chances to experiment. To make different shapes, use cookie cutters as guides.
4. Straws and String
Straws and string make the most beautiful pairing since chocolate and peanut butter. At least for making bubbles, anyway. You need two straws (that serve as handles) and string in a length at least four times that of one of the straws. The string must be thin enough to be threaded through the straws. You can use a longer length to make really huge bubbles but keep in mind that younger kids will probably have a hard time getting the hang of blowing bubbles this way. It's mostly for adults to make giant, impressive bubbles that kids and dogs can chase and pop in the yard. If you do decide to make a toddler-friendly version, I've found that the giant straws that come with boba (or bubble) tea work great and make quite sturdy handles.
5. Bubble Solution Containers
Now that you have some bubble wands worked out, you need to match them to a container. For indoor bubbles, a sturdy bowl or cup works best with pipe cleaners and small objects like slotted spoons. Foam coozies and juice cans work best with a flat, shallow dish like a pie pan or a baking dish. For giant bubbles like those that can be made with wire hanger bubble wands or straw-string bubble wands, it's best to take the action outside and use a mop bucket, 5-gallon bucket or a kitty litter tray (just make sure it's not been used, eww). If you're going on a bubble walk, adults and kids alike can carry sand pails full of bubble solution.