Miranda’s blog – July 2014

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Welcome to the July child care blog,

At this time of year, many of you will be working in holiday clubs where children at the top of the early years age range will be playing alongside older peers. So this month we have a summer activity for you that works really well with a mixed age range – bubble play. By following the instructions below, you can involve children in the creation of bubble mixture and large bubble wands that will enable them to create strong, super shiny bubbles in various shapes and sizes – including huge!
Bubble mixture
You will need:
• Twelve cups of clean water
• One and a quarter cups of washing up liquid (good quality brand)
• Seven tablespoons of glycerine
Pour the water into a completely clean washing up bowl or bucket, and add the washing up liquid. Add the “secret ingredient” – the glycerine (available from cook shops and some supermarkets). This gives a thick consistency, and bubbles will be stronger and longer lasting. Stir with a clean wooden spoon, being careful not to make the mixture foam up. Also avoid this when you transfer the mixture into another vessel for play – this will need to be deep enough to allow large bubble wands to be completely submerged. If the mixture does foam, leave it to settle completely for a few minutes before use. Adjust the recipe as necessary to make your desired quantity.
Bubble wands
You’ll want plenty of wands for group play, so you might like to ask children to bring in any they have at home. But it’s fun to make your own wands too, capable of producing impressive, giant bubbles – it is this that engages older children who may have grown out of “ordinary” bubble play, alongside their younger peers.
You will need:
• Dowel/garden cane in lengths of about 50cms
• Sandpaper
• Thin polypropylene rope or wide nylon cord
To make a wand stick, lengths of dowel or garden cane should be sanded at each end to avoid splinters. Next, cut the cord or rope into lengths of around 60cms. (This can be bought cheaply from a hardware store. Make sure nylon cord is the wide sort, or it will be too lightweight). Simply knot one end of a cord length to the top of a stick, and tie the other end about three quarters of the way down. This will form a loop that will create giant bubbles when dipped in the mixture. Children can experiment with the size and shape of bubbles by sliding the knotted ends of the cord up or down the stick. Waving the wands gently in the air will create wavy, free form shapes, or children can create long tubular bubbles by holding their want high in the air then dropping their arm quickly.
You can extend the activity by adding a few drops of food colouring or powder to the mixture. Children can then chase the bubbles and catch them on paper, creating colourful prints.
If you’re looking for more activity ideas for a mixed age group, check out my book A Practical Guide to Activities for Older Children, which focuses on themed activities for the 4-12 age range. You may also be interested in A Practical Guide to Playwork.
Miranda

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