blowing a chain of bubbles from the bubble snake wand

Bubble snake experiment for kids

Looking for a fun and easy science experiment to do with your kids? Look no further! In this blog post, we will teach you how to make a bubble snake. This is a great activity for children of all ages and can be done with items that you probably have lying around the house. All you need is an empty bottle, an old sock, food coloring, and some bubble solution.

Keep reading to see ours and learn how to make your own!

Blowing bubbles with the bubble snake wand

What is a bubble snake?

Basically, a bubble snake is a DIY bubble maker, but, they’re not just any ordinary bubbles! This activity makes a long chain of tiny bubbles! And, you can use this activity to teach children about surface tension, liquids and solids, chemistry, and geometry! So, depending on the age of your children or students, this would be a great finale for a related science unit.

The science of bubbles

According to Science World, bubbles are just a sphere of soap film wrapped around a pocket of air. I describe this to students as a “soap film sandwich” (tasty, right?). That link will teach you more about the science of bubbles if you’re curious! It will also help inform you how you could use bubble experiments to teach different scientific concepts.

But, what’s happening in our experiment?

When you cut the bottom off of the bottle and put the sock over the top, you’re creating a small opening for the air to escape. By dipping your new bubble wand into the bubble mix, you’re coating the outside of the bottle with soap. The food coloring is just for fun!

The science behind this experiment is surface tension (the force between molecules at the surface of a liquid). The soap makes the surface more “stretchy” by decreasing the surface tension of the water. When you blow into the bottle, you push air into the liquid’s surface, trapping it inside the bubble.

Download a scientific method worksheet before starting

This is totally optional, but you may want to head over to my TpT store and download the Scientific Method worksheet for free. This way, you can emphasize key learning moments while introducing your preschooler to the scientific method. By practicing this, they will become confident in their ability to hypothesize, test, and evaluate experiments!

Plus, if you write down the step-by-step instructions and tuck this away in a folder for later, they can re-create the same activity another time.

bubble snake materials

Note: the first time, I used a cup with the bottom cut off. An empty water bottle is definitely easier!
food colouring suspended on bubble snake wand
Since I used a nylon sockette, the color beaded on top of the sock – Cool, hey?! Once it was wet the color was easier to apply.

Making the Bubble Snake Experiment: What you’ll need

Here are the everyday items required to make bubble snakes! BTW, I would recommend making a few and using different-sized bottles! Does it change the bubbles at all?

Materials needed for the bubble snake maker:

  • Box cutters (for the bottle)
  • An elastic band
  • An empty water bottle (or a few!)
  • A clean sock that you don’t mind ruining
  • Liquid food coloring
  • Bubble mixture
    • You can make your own with dish soap and water. Simply mix 6 parts water to one part dish soap
dipping the bubble snake wand in the bubble solution
Dipping the bubble wand into the bubble solution
blowing a chain of bubbles from the bubble snake wand
Next step: Blow bubbles!

How to make bubble snakes

Creating bubble snakes is super easy. When I first did this, I added food coloring, expecting it to create more vibrant rainbow-bubble snakes. Unfortunately, only the first bubbles were colored, and the rest weren’t. I also tried dipping the bottle into colored bubbles – The same result!

Here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Very carefully cut the bottom end off of a plastic bottle with box cutters
    • This step must be done by an adult! The rest requires adult supervision
  2. On the end that is cut, pull a clean sock over the bottle
    • I like to cut just the bottom part of the sock off, but it really depends on the length of the sock you’re using
  3. Secure the sock with a rubber band (or duct tape if you’re in a pinch!)
  4. Add a few drops of food coloring to the sock (optional)
  5. Dip the sock end of the bubble maker into the bubble mixture
  6. Blow air through the other end of the bottle (the end you didn’t cut)
  7. Watch as tiny bubbles come streaming out of the end of the bottle!
adding food coloring to the bubble wand
You can try adding color to the top – Mine only worked for the first string of bubbles.

Extended learning

Like I mentioned before, you could use this as a fun way to end a unit for multiple different scientific concepts! I use bubble experiments at the end of a unit on states of matter since it involves a solid (the bubble maker), a liquid (water/soap), and gas (air).

Here are some questions to ask after you’ve had fun playing with the bubbles:

  • Do the bubbles look the same if we use a different size bottle?
  • What would happen if we used something other than a sock? (Try it!)
  • What does this experiment teach us about the way soap and water molecules interact?

If you try this experiment, we would love to see the results!

Elke Crosson
Elke Crosson

Elke Crosson has her BA in International Relations with a minor in Spanish at UBC (Okanagan). She is currently in her second year of the Master of Teaching program at the University of Toronto, with dreams of becoming an elementary-level teacher.