A bubble-blowing party is a splendid form of entertainment for a half-holiday afternoon when five or six children have been asked to tea to celebrate a birthday.
Children ranging in age from three to ten will enjoy taking part in the fun, for as each bubble-blower has his or her own special bowl of soapsuds and bubble-blowing outfit, the fact that the guests are of widely different ages does not matter. Tiny tots will bubble away contentedly, pipe downwards, into their bowls, raising beehives of bubbles, while the bigger children engage in all sorts of more elaborate bubble-blowing experiments and contests.
The little guests should be invited to arrive at half-past three, wearing their oldest nursery frocks and suits, with sleeves that will roll up above the elbow -this is very important-and provided with overalls; for bubble-blowing in earnest is very damp and messy work and ruinous to good clothes.
The wise hostess will provide a pile of small Turkish towels, and insist on pinning one on, bib fashion, round the neck of each child, to prevent any possibility of splashes of cold soapy water penetrating through its garments to the chest, before allowing it to take its place at the bubble-blowing table.
A bubble-blowing party should take place, if possible, in a room without a carpet; the linoleum or polished boards can be mopped up with a cloth after it is all over, and nothing will be any the worse.
The table at which the bubble-blowers are to sit must be a deal-topped one, stripped of its cloth, and the chairs arranged all round it should, if possible, be provided with extra cushions, so that the children can sit high above their work.
The necessary outfit for bubble-blowing consists of:
A two-ounce bottle of glycerine.
A small basin to contain the soap mixture.
Six big soap-dishes or soup-plates-one for each child.
Six penny clay pipes with long stems. It is best to have an extra half dozen in reserve as they so often get broken.
Six small sheets of glass-old half-plate negative glasses from which the films have been stripped do very well; but if these are not handy, suitable glasses can be cut for about a penny each at any framemaker's.
Some short lengths of straw cut from a bottle-cover, or those used by children for frame making, and a few lengths of bright iron wire twisted round a wine-bottle to make a circle, and the two ends twisted together to make a little handle, together with two or three tin funnels, complete the list.
To make the best soapy mixture, put the contents of two packets of dry soap into a jug, with a quart of hot water. Stir it until the soap shavings have entirely dissolved, or if ordinary primrose soap is used, cut it up into shreds and melt it down in boiling water until the mixture is almost of the consistency of cream. When the soap mixture is cold, add two ounces of glycerine to it, mixing it in thoroughly. This last not. only ensures the bubbles being much bigger and stronger, but makes them assume the loveliest of iridescent colours as they float up in the air.
Before the children arrive, set out a bowl or plate, a pipe, a sheet of glass, two or three straws of varying lengths, and a wire ring before each place. Put a small hand-basin containing the soap mixture, and a ladle to distribute it with, in the middle of the table, with the funnels and one or two small white china ornaments and trays, such as the figures intended for mantelpiece decorations, which may be picked up at a penny bazaar stall.
When everyone has arrived, the hostess proceeds to pour a good ladleful of soap mixture into each child's plate, and the fun begins.
After a dozen big bubbles have been blown all round, the children vying with each other to see who shall succeed in throwing off the best and biggest from their pipes, questions begin to be asked as to the use of the straws, glass, china ornaments, and funnels, and the hostess may proceed to give a demonstration lesson with a special set of implements put in readiness for the purpose.
"When blowing bubbles, the first thing to remember is that a bubble will always burst if it touches anything dry. If you want, therefore, to make a bubble perch on a little ornament, for instance, you must dip the ornament in soap mixture first," she will explain.
"Who would like to blow one bubble inside another? " she next asks.
"I would ! " comes in a chorus.
"Well, each take your sheet of glass and smear soap mixture all over it, and then with your pipe blow a bubble - as big as the size of the glass will allow - upon it."
This having been done, she proceeds further.
"Now, each take a short straw, dip it in soap mixture, and push it firmly through one side of the bubble - it goes in quite easily without breaking it, as you see. Gently blow a second bubble inside the first one.
A bubble-blowing party " - quite a fascinating way of amusing five or six children who have been invited to tea to celebrate such an occasion as a birthday
"Now withdraw the straw, take a longer one, and dip it in the mixture again, and push it through the two bubbles to blow a third bubble inside the second one."
To please the babies of the party the hostess next places funny little white china animals, rabbits, puppies, and cats (first well dipped in soap) in the middle of a soapy glass, and proceeds to blow bubbles over them with the help of a funnel, so that each china toy stands, as it were, in a miniature transparent case of its own.
Blowing huge bubbles with a funnel dipped in soap mixture will delight the boys, and the little girls will probably enjoy attempting to balance small delicate bubbles on top of the basket carried by a china figure - which has been dipped first in soap mixture - or on the bare head of a small china damsel to take the place of a hat. The wire rings can be used to dip in the soap mixture to pick up a film of soap, then a bubble can be blown with a pipe to stand upon the ring - a very pretty effect.
The elder bubble-blowers will much enjoy entering for some such competition as the following.
Then two competitors, standing one each side of the table, take it in turns to blow a big bubble, and, with a neat twist of the pipe, set it floating in the air above the net. They proceed to blow it to and fro over the net; the one who lets it down on to the table or ground loses a point to her opponent. If the bubble bursts in mid-air it is counted a "let."
There is no rule against the bubble being blown up again when almost touching the ground by a player crawling on all fours beneath it, and such incidents add much to the excitement of the contest from the onlooker's point of view.
The game may be fixed at six or ten according to the number of couples to enter for the little tournament, and when each pair of opponents has been in, the winners of each contest must meet one another until the victor is announced and awarded a prize.