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Toddler Talk: Bubble Recipes

I remember the first time my toddler discovered that Gymboree bubbles taste delicious. He spent a good half-hour popping bubbles. With his tongue. Including about a hundred on the Gymboree floor. (That's, um, immunity-building, right?) His Gymboree teacher said that there is corn syrup in their bubble mix, and that all the kids try to eat it. (She politely refrained from discussing how many attempt to eat them off the floor.)

While we love the long-lasting, apparently delicious, Gymboree bubbles...I don't love paying a premium for a tiny bottle of bubbles that we can go through in less time than a Doc McStuffins episode. Making bubble mix at home is easy, affordable, and a great outdoor activity for these warm (slash-humid-as-a-rainforest-what-are-we-doing-to-our-planet?!) days.

A few DIY bubble tips: water and soap will create bubbles, but add one or more of the "extra" ingredients listed below and you'll get bigger, stronger bubbles (you're lowering the surface tension, if you want to give your older kids a bit of a science lesson). Word on the street also says that if you let your bubble mix chill overnight, it works better the next day. (Don't we all?)

Here are five parent-tested bubble recipes—for those magical bubbles that your kids will love to pop, but won't break the bank.

1. Sugar Bubbles

This is probably the easiest recipe to make, simply because most of us will have all the ingredients in our house. Just mix the following together, and get ready to blow!

1/3 cup dishwashing soap

1 1/2 cups water

2 teaspoons sugar

2. Glycerin Bubbles

Some call these the world's greatest bubbles. You can buy glycerin at your local pharmacy or online, say via a little place called Amazon.

1 gallon water

2/3 cup dishwashing soap

2-3 tablespoons glycerin

3. Corn Syrup Bubbles

Most corn-syrup bubble recipes call for light corn syrup, but dark works just as well.

6 cups water

1 cup corn syrup

2 cups clear dishwashing liquid

Some recipes combine both corn syrup and glycerin, which is basically turning your bubble recipe up to 11, something I fully support.

4. Glow-in-the-Dark Bubbles

Lots of glow-in-the-dark bubble recipes call for breaking open a glow stick and dumping it into your bubble solution, but there could be dangerous chemicals or glass inside. Here's a recipe that uses glow-in-the-dark paint. It should be safer, though I'd definitely keep this as an outdoor activity (unless you're hoping for a Jackson Pollock-effect on your living room walls).

Combine the water, soap and glycerin. If you want one color of bubbles, then add two tablespoons of paint to your mix. If you'd like two colors, divide the mixture into two jars and add a tablespoon of paint to each. Mix well, cover, and let rest 24 hours. To get your glow, put the jars in the sunlight for several hours before blowing bubbles/your children's minds.

1 cup water

1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap

1 teaspoon glycerin

2 tablespoons water-based glow-in-the-dark paint

5. Giant Human-Sized Bubble!

Presentation is everything, right? One Charming Party threw a bubble birthday party, and what a great finale this makes. Take your bubble mixture of choice, let it age overnight or longer, then fill a child's outdoor pool with your bomb bubble mix. Using a child's hula-hoop as your "wand," stand your kiddo in the pool and slowly lift the hula-hoop up and over his or her body. Take pictures to capture the delight—and the pop!

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