Free play-based STEAM activities for kids

Fun and easy play-based STEAM activity for toddlers, preschool & kindergarten

Bubbles with Angles? - Fun shapes experiment

Easy supplies science & arts activity

Activity summary

This is not JUST another science activity – it’s a play-based, hands-on STEAM activity. It will keep your children extra engaged & motivated, which helps them learn!

In this activity, your children will be little investigators helping Kelvin the investigator to solve tricky problems and find creative answers to the question: What different shaped bubbles can I make? By doing that, they get to practice concepts like shapes, and more.

Duration icon Activity length: 20-30 minutes

Subject icon Subjects: Science, Arts, Mathematics, Engineering

Adapt for your age group

Register for free to get free weekly lessons, tips from experts on how to engage different age groups:

Beginner: Ages 3-4 Standard: Ages 4-6 Advanced: Ages 6-8

Supply list

For this activity, you need only these simple supplies:

  • cardstock paper shapes

  • a bowl

  • bubble solution

  • wooden sticks or toothpicks

  • soaked peas

  • yarn

What will your children learn?

Your children will learn to:

  • Observe the shapes of bubbles and the shapes of squares and triangles.

  • Practice the prediction skills when reflecting and considering the shape of bubbles

while practicing these concepts:

  • shapes

Instructions

Step 1: Introduce the problem with a story letter

Play-based learning starting circle
Teacher introducing the reseach problem through the letter that arrived from Supraland

In this play-based activity, your children will lead the investigation as an investigator. When children role play as investigators, they learn so much better! Try starting with a little ‘spin’ to get into character! Then, they can help Kelvin the investigator solve some tricky problems in their new role.

Before the activity, prepare your supplies and print the letter.

Pro tip:

When children play as scientists, they think like scientists. Try using “scientist jackets” to help them really get into character!

When you start the activity, introduce the research problem in the form of a letter that arrived from Supraland where Kelvin the investigator lives.

You might be wondering: “Why should I use a story?”

Well, when you introduce a research problem through play and imaginary characters rather than just stating cold facts, children will be extra motivated to solve the problem for their new imaginary friends. Academic research shows this results in increased engagement, better focus, and improved learning outcomes.

You can find the story for this activity below (register for free to print this & many more free activities!).

Dear scientist friends,

Hoseli the Robot and I have been on an adventure but it’s coming to an end. We have just started packing and cleaning up our camp.

Then a gentle gust of wind blew towards us, and these beautiful and transparent, round spheres began to rise upward with the wind. The balls were sparkling in the sunlight with all the colors of the rainbow. 

We were admiring the colorful spheres, and we began to wonder, could it be possible to make triangular or square-shaped bubbles as well? 

Can you become investigators and help us find out how?

With bubbly greetings,

Your friend Kelvin

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Step 2: Have the kids conduct the experiment

Preschool science & arts activity project Kids conducting a play-based activity Children experimenting
Activity photos

After the child understands the problem, it’s time for some hands-on experimenting!

When children are doing the experiment, remind them why they want to solve the problem – to help Kelvin the investigator. This helps them stay engaged. If they get stuck, you can ask supporting questions like: “What do you think might help Kelvin the investigator to solve this problem?” If needed, you can get more ideas for guiding questions and adaptation tips for different age groups (register here to get free weekly activities).

Here are the basic steps for his activity:

  1. Study the shapes the teacher has cut out of cardboard: circles, triangles, and squares. Which shape corresponds to the shape of the bubbles we saw earlier? Would it be possible to make bubbles in the shape of triangles or squares, just like the plates Hoseli and Kelvin had?

  2. Use a triangular piece of cardboard as a model to make a triangular bubble blower of peas and toothpicks.


    "What shape do you think the bubbles will be when you use a triangular bubble blower?"


  3. Now make a square-shaped bubble blower using the square cardboard as a model and predict what kind of bubbles will you get now.

  4. Make observations on how the shape of the bubble blower affects the shape of the bubbles that are formed. Compare your observations to your predictions.

  5. Interpret your findings together: Because of surface tension, the bubbles form as spheres regardless of the bubble blower’s shape. It is because a sphere is the tightest formation a group of particles can achieve.

Extra experiment: 

  1. Observe the shape of a cube together: can you find a familiar shape in it? Interpret: you can find many squares on a cube. 

  2. Count how many faces, edges and vertexes (points) the cube has. 

  3. Assemble the bubble cube blowers using the peas and sticks. Attach a string to one corner of the cube.

  4. Make a prediction based on the previous experiment: What shape will the bubbles be when you use a bubble cube blower?

  5. Dip each side of the bubble cube blower in the bubble solution to form a film on each side. 

  6. Observe: What kind of shape forms in the middle of the bubble cube blower?

  7. Observe what happens when you blow in the bubble cube blower: what shape are the bubbles? Notice how the bubbles still appear as spherical.

Pro tip: give children the freedom to get creative and explore their own solutions!

  • Remember: It’s an imaginary world. It’s more than ok if children don’t give the “correct” answers right away – give them time to practice their skills.
  • Academic research shows children learn best through child-led play and inquiry rather than following strict instructions or memorizing facts because play allows them to build meanings and connections in an age-appropriate way.
  • This perhaps unintuitive approach is also proven to keep children more engaged and improve their learning outcomes.

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Step 3: Conclude the story

Play-based learning ending circle
Adult wrapping up a play-based activity by encouraging children to share their findings with the character they’re helping.

To encourage children to analyze and share their learnings, you can gather in a circle to report to Kelvin the investigator.

Again, lead with the problem the character was experiencing in the letter. Encourage sharing wild and creative solutions without correcting children if they don’t fully understand the concept.

Remember: in playful learning, we’re not leading with scientific explantions – we’re putting the problem at hand into a context that makes sense to them. We can start building meanings from there.

Scientific explanation (for adults!)

The formation of soap bubbles is connected to the phenomenon of surface tension. Surface tension causes a thin film to form on the surface of the water. Usually, water’s surface tension is strong, but it can be weakened, for example, with dish soap. When the surface tension is weakened, you can stretch out the film by blowing on it and eventually create a bubble.

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What others love about Kide’s activities

Julia, Preschool Teacher

Julia

Preschool Teacher

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This program is incredible. The characters, the stories, the experiments are so much fun. I do not need to spend any time planning. Everything I need is given to me be Kide Science.

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Elsa, Kindergarten Teacher

Elsa

Kindergarten Teacher

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Super easy to plan, and the items are usually things that we already have. Planning is made very easy & the children are very motivated!

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Marju, Parent

Marju

Parent

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Was just observed doing one of these lessons. Principal was shocked and so was I - one of the kids with pretty severe attention issues was engaged the entire time!

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Kids attending a lesson with stories