Over the years I have come up with many different youth ideas. Most of them are epic, I mean, epic ideas, but when I start to think about all of the stuff that it takes to make them come to reality I realize that they probably aren’t the best use of my time.
At my current church we have Youth Vacation Bible school that is sort of designed around these epic moments, so I have gotten to play a little more than I used to. This year I decided to finally try something that had been in my head a long time and make a giant soap foam pit.
For the youth I made a game out of the pit throwing balls down under the soap that they had to dig around and fish out. For the kids (when we did it a month later) we simply filled up the pit and let them play.
The best thing about this soap foam pit idea is how easy it is to set up compared to how memorable and cool looking it is. So here is how you do it.
- Set up tables in a 16×16 foot square (2 8 foot tables to a side)
- For the kids version I staked down an 8 foot piece of floor board that I had cut to about a foot and a half so that the kids had an easier way into and out of the pit.
- Cover the pit with a tarp (see the pictures).
- Fill the pit with just enough water to coat the bottom to at most half and inch. You can do more if you want, but that should be enough. The reason why you want to put water in the pit is that it keeps it looking like you have foam longer. These easy homemade foam machines don’t put out as much as a big professional one and the foam disappears as people play in it so a nice covering of water helps the foam to spread out, and it is fun to play in too.
- If you are doing the pit on grass and don’t mind your tables getting wet you don’t actually have to buy the tarp. The bubbles will sort of stick around in the square. If you are doing it this way I would suggest thinking about making the square smaller or adding a 4th bubble machine because of the disappearing factor.
- Set up at least 2 (and I would suggest 3) foam making machines like you see in the youtube video (see link below).
- I don’t know who that kid is in the video, but I sure am glad he came up with the idea. Basically all you need are some bungee cords, a towel, a trash can, and a shop vac that blows, not just suck. (You would be amazed how few people have these that go both ways, btw.) We just made an announcement in the bulletin and asked to borrow them.
- You will need to start making the foam about 30 minutes before you plan to use it. Any earlier and it will disappear, any later and you won’t get the full effect that you are looking for.
- Be sure to keep all of your electrical connections above ground and dry. We used card tables to get our shop vacs and plugs of the ground.
- You will need to keep filling up the trash cans with water and bubbles. You may want to experiment before the big event just to be sure you know the optimal levels of each, and and what it looks like when it runs out of one or the other.
The youth loved the idea and having the game and competition helped break down some of the hesitation they would have had for jumping in. For children of course it was a blast. The parents had a good time standing and watching and taking pictures.
We also made a small pool of bubbles for the very little guys. We used a air mattress pump, a bucket, and a dish towel to create a mini effect.