Bubble painting bubbles over with fun for all ages and is just right for a summer activity outside! Try it with your children, and you’ll find it’s hard to stop blowing these colorful bubbles!
Don’t miss the 2 sections at the end of this lesson that show how this art activity can:
- Help your children in other areas of learning: in addition to 5 other benefits, this type of painting activity encourages experimentation, creativity, and lots of relaxing fun!!
- Help point your children to God: follow the simple outline to discuss with your children how special and unique each one is.
- Tempera paint in various colors (See safety Notes below)
- Small plastic containers such as yogurt containers in which to mix paint, liquid detergent, and water (I used a paper cup for one color, and it didn’t hold up well)
- Straws, plastic ones will hold up longer
- Liquid dish soap–any brand (Not dishwasher detergents)
- Plastic spoons or forks for stirring
- Heavy construction paper or watercolor paper
- A wide plastic dish tub for cleanup, but not essential
Safety Notes before you get started: This is a safe activity, but here are some things to do and some things to avoid so it stays safe:
- I prefer tempera paint since children will be blowing into it with straws, and some may forget and inhale. Children’s tempera paint is nontoxic. There will still be liquid dish soap so especially with young children, you can poke a hole in the straw near the top with a pin, and that will make inhaling harder.
- Most children have blown bubbles in their milk or other drink ( often, to your dismay, in a restaurant!!) But to be sure, if you have young children, you may want to have them practice blowing out with a cup of plain water. And this time you won’t tell them to stop!
- For additional safety, you could buy children’s bubble mixture to use instead of liquid dish soap. If you use this, you won’t need as much water in your paint mixture!!
- While acrylics or liquid watercolors (an intense, pre-mixed form of watercolors, not watercolors you mix yourself, which wouldn’t be bright enough) do produce brighter colors, they aren’t as safe.
1.In each plastic container, mix a blob of paint with some water—enough to be runny. Then gently stir in several drops of liquid dish soap. You don’t want it to be frothy.
Hint: There are lots of recipes for how much of each, but every tempera paint is different and it’s best just to experiment a little. Mix one color and try blowing bubbles in the mixture
(my paint is pretty thick and the blob was about a tablespoon, which gave me good color. I did keep adding dish soap and water throughout the process as needed. Remember, if you’re using pre-made bubble mix, it won’t take as much water.)
2.Gently blow bubbles in the mixture until the bubbles round up over the top of the container Don’t blow in hard bursts. Blowing in a steady, gentle way produces the most bubbles , and the most interesting patterns as they each pop against your paper.
Hints: The bubbles themselves won’t look very colorful, but don’t worry, they’ll look colorful on the paper!
The more bubbles you get, the more interesting the patterns. Here’s a container with very few bubbles, and it didn’t produce a very interesting painting:
3.Take your paper and gently touch it on top of the bubbles. If you push down hard, you’ll get mostly just a ring of color, like in the above painting. This is because you’ve broken the bubbles before they could adhere to the paper. Experiment until you get the hang of it
Hint: If your paint/bubble mixtures stop making bubbles, add a little more water. Another drop of dish liquid may also help, but again, experiment!!
That’s it. Your mixtures will make lots of bubbles and give you many paintings, so have fun! Enjoy the process!
Notice how this bubble splattered paint as it burst:
One More Helpful Hint:
You can use one straw throughout. Just wipe the paint off the end with a paper towel before changing colors, and it won’t affect the next color.
Clean up Hints:
- The paint mixture in the containers could stain your patio or deck, so it’s a good idea to put down an old plastic tablecloth to catch spills
- Drips will happen, so old clothes are a good idea, especially if your children may be tempted to blow a little paint in the direction of a sibling J
- When finished, put all plastic containers and utensils in the plastic tub and rinse away most of the paint outside with a hose, leaving only a little cleanup for inside
Variations and Extensions:
- Try making a trail of bubbles
- Make some bubble designs in just warm or cool colors
- Find shapes in the bubbles and draw around these to complete a figure. Can you see the baby donkey’s face in this one?
- Cut out areas you especially like and use to decorate cards or posters
- Use bubbles to create flowers—just draw or paint in stems and leaves
How this art activity can help your children in other areas of learning:
- First of all—this type of painting activity encourages experimentation, creativity, and lots of relaxing fun!
- Opportunities to make choices as in this activity, enhances problem-solving skills.
- Learning to blow gently and lowering the paper gently over the bubbles helps children develop fine motor skills.
- Discussing with your children why they chose certain colors builds vocabulary and social skills.
- Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary. Help them see nuances of color in the layers of bubbles
- Encouraging children to find objects or shapes, colors, patterns, etc. in the bubble paintings improves their observational skills.
How this art activity can help point your children to God:
- We are able to make beautiful art because we are made in God’s image, with the ability to be creative and think and plan Read Genesis 1:27 together.
- He has given us hands that can hold a straw or a pencil and eyes that can see colors and patterns
- He has given us mouths so we can talk and share about our art with others
- And just as no two bubble paintings ever look alike, so God has created each of us to be unique and special Read Psalm 139:13-15 together.
- Ask children to share how they’re unique—their eye color, hair color, their laugh, their favorite foods, their favorite things to do, etc.
- Our unique and beautiful bubble paintings can bring love and beauty to family and friends. God has breathed into each of us to make us His unique and beautiful painting to show His beauty and love to the world.
- Ask children some ways they can be a beautiful painting in the world for God.
End with a prayer thanking God for making each of us unique, with special ways to make the world a more beautiful place.
Molly loves how the colors of this sunset are spread over her, and she hopes you enjoyed blowing colorful bubbles!
And Molly and I hope to see you right back here soon for Another Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!