The basic formula is the same for all bubbles: dish soap and water. The addition of glycerin will make the bubbles last a little longer in-flight. You can buy glycerin in almost any health-food store and many of the pharmacy sections of the larger chain stores carry it. My 8 oz. bottle of vegetable glycerin cost me $2.99 at our local health food store.
Also, a note about dish soap and water. Using any old dish soap will not result in the best bubbles. Yes, you can use the cheap stuff or the eco-friendly stuff, but the bubbles are NOT going to be all that great and may frustrate some kids. Original, blue Dawn or original Joy (I think it sells as "lemon") are the best soaps to use. And, if you really want to be precise, distilled water works best for the longest-lasting bubbles. The type of water you use, though, is not nearly as important as the soap.
So, I'm not going to include instructions for these recipes unless there is something out of the ordinary that you're going to have to do. It's simple enough: pour it all into a bowl or something, stir. Don't stir too fast or you'll end up with your bubbles 'pre-made' and, if you're a bubble-blowing professional, you know how those things can ruin the perfect giant bubble!
Recipe #1 - Long-Lasting Bubbles
1oz. dish soap
1 c. water
Recipe #2 - Sugar Bubbles
4 c. very hot water
10 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 c. dish soap
Mix sugar and water. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add dish soap. Do not use these if you have bees or wasps in your yard!
Recipe #3 - Colored Bubbles (a bit expensive, but might be worth it one time!)
1 c. liquid Tempra paint
1/3 c. dish soap
1 Tbsp. liquid starch (in laundry section of the store)
If you make these bubbles, take some paper outside. Have one person blow the bubbles and another person (or people) try to "catch" the bubbles on their paper. Please keep in mind that these are not going to be incredibly brightly-colored bubbles. Think about the thickness of the wall of a bubble and you can see why. Tempra paint will stain, so make sure to wear old clothes!
Recipe #4 - Super Bubbles
1/2 c. dish soap
1 c. glycerin (yeah, it's a LOT)
1/4 c. white corn syrup (Karo syrup)
Don't have any bubble wands? No worries, I've got you covered (and you'll be the COOLEST mom or dad - Ever!)
Impromptu Bubble Wands
Plastic 6-pack holders
Bent metal coat hangers
Fly swatter (clean it first - Eww!)
Your own hands!
And one last idea that my kids LOVE:
Plastic water bottle
Old pair of Nylons
Cut the bottom off of the water bottle. Pull the nylon over the cut end so it is flat across the bottom. Secure it with the rubber band. Cut off excess nylon material if it is hanging. Dip the nylon into bubble solution and blow into the top of the water bottle. You'll be making what my kids refer to as "bubble snakes"! Try experimenting with different types of cloth. The mesh from an onion bag, for instance. As long as it is woven loose enough to hold the bubble solution and to let air pass through, it should work. We've used old T-shirts, washcloths (they hold a LOT of solution so you don't have to keep refilling, and an old football jersey (made from netting.) BTW - this idea was born from one of those "I'm bored" days. I don't know how it popped into my head, but it did and we've used it many times since!
*** Bubbles are a great educational tool. While I'm an unschooling type of mom, I would jump at the opportunity to teach my kids about geometry, surface tension, etc. if they asked about it during a bubble-blowing session. If you want to use this activity to teach, here's a great site: http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/bubbles/bubbles.html
Have any great bubble recipes?
How about bubble games?