fun with glowsticks

i think glowsticks are one of the easiest ways to up the fun factor of anything. i bust them out any chance i get because they are always a crowd pleaser (ironically no matter what crowd). it’s funny how you can put a few glowsticks out at a dinner party and the next thing you know you’ll be dancing in the dark with all your friends.

so when i found out we were going to have my boyfriend’s niece come for her first sleepover i picked up a few glowsticks to entertain. after cracking them open, watching them glow, making necklaces, and dancing in the dark with them i turned to pinterest to see what else we could do.

i had seen this pin for glow in the dark bubbles. but when i read kriegsman‘s review of the store bought bubbles i was disappointed to hear that the bubbles themselves didn’t actually glow in the dark.

since we already had bubbles and glowsticks i figured we’d give the glowstick method a shot to see if produced better results.

this mini set of bubbles was perfect ($1 at Walgreens) because it made for a high proportion of glowstick innards to bubbles. plus it would allow us to try 3 different colors.

i was surprised by how the “glow” in the glowsticks just sank to the bottom. it remained completely separate of the bubbles, like oil in water (i guess i thought it would dissolve more). this was cool because you could see the glowsticks as they dripped into the bubbles.

however, it was kind of disappointing because the bottom of the bubbles definitely glowed brighter than the rest of the bottle.

i tried stirring the bubbles but it didn’t do much.

shaking worked better (but remember shaking bubbles makes them ‘bubble’ everywhere when you open them).

the glow in the dark bubbles were a lot of fun! but if you’re like me your probably wondering when i’ll answer the big question: do the bubbles themselves glow? unfortunately, nope. slightly… but mostly not.

a few things to note:

  • BEWARE: the glowsticks spray everywhere (the picture doesn’t do it justice). so if you are concerned about having glowstick innards all over make sure to take this activity outside.
  • TIP: i had some old glowsticks that we used first and although the glowed great inside the stick, they didn’t glow nearly as bright once added to bubbles. so use new sticks for the best results.
  • TRICK: to get the “glow” out of the stick, you will need to cut open both sides.cutting open the side you aren’t pouring the “glow” from will create a vent for airflow allowing the “glow” to rush out. (and i don’t exaggerate when i say “rush” so make sure the end the “glow” is coming out of is already in the bubbles when you cut the opposite end)
  • BEWARE: the bubbles themselves might not glow in the air. but the residue from when the bubble hits the floor definitely glows! so again, this is better as an outside activity.

the next morning we threw the remaining glowsticks in the bath tub with our 3 year old house-guest. she loved it! it was a perfect way to keep her entertained since we don’t have other bath toys on hand. i’ll admit. i was skeptical that any kid would want to sit in the dark to see the sticks glow in the bath, but i was very wrong. she had no problem bathing in the dark (we have a small window in our bathroom so it wasn’t pitch black but definitely dark enough to see the sticks glow).

UPDATE: i have had a couple people ask me about the SAFETY of cutting open glowsticks. prior to this i had checked that the ingredients in glowsticks are non-toxic, but due to these questions i have researched further.

while the information on the internet varies most glowsticks have an “activator” which is the chemical that reacts with the other chemical in the tube to glow (generally hydrogen peroxide). this activator is actually contained in a mini glass vial within the glowstick so when you crack the glowstick you are cracking the glass open to release the activator and start the chemical reaction. i didn’t see any part of this glass because i had cracked the stick before cutting it open and had poured the insides directly into the bubbles. however, it’s obviously a potential hazard.

as far as the two chemicals that react with each other: while they are labeled “non toxic” most the information i found was consistent in noting you should not ingest it and it should not come in contact with membranes (eyes and nasal) or a burning irritation will occur. because ingredients in glowsticks can actually vary most of the other information around the two chemicals was inconsistent.

just remember you are doing this at your own risk.

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One thought on “fun with glowsticks

  1. Yes I agree, we tried it out and the wash room was full of little glowing sprays. Look nice. No glowing bubbles, however. Will give a try in the bath, and other late night fun. Thanks for the tip. My trash bin is full of glow on tissue paper, which is giving me new ideas for kids projects.

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