Messy Play with Shaving Cream

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Shaving cream is a great messy activity to do with children aged about one and up.  We used a budget brand shaving cream and I gave the can to Tyson (who’s 4) to squirt out onto the table.  He carefully squirted it onto the table.

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I then showed Tyson the dye droppers and explained to only do one or two drops or it will be too much.  He very carefully dropped the dye onto the shaving cream.  Once he had used all the colours he wasn’t sure what was next.  “What do we do now?”  he asked me.  “Put your hands in it,” I replied.

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Tyson rubbed his hands into the cream on the table.  I asked Kaiah if she wanted to do it.  “No,” she said and just looked at the table frowning.  Her Mum said she doesn’t like getting messy or dirty.  I put my hand up to Tyson and said “high 5” and he gave me a high 5 and the cream splattered all over us.  Both Tyson and Kaiah laughed.  I then put both my hands in the cream to show Kaiah.  Then I clapped my hands together and the cream splattered everywhere again and she laughed.  I offered her a paint brush to use instead of her hands but she wasn’t interested.

Tyson then wanted to wash his hands in the bucket of water.  Once Tyson had left the table Kaiah came over to it and gently touched the cream on the table with one hand then held it up to me for a  high five. She laughed.  Kaiah then explored the cream on the table with her hands and then washed her hands in the bucket and then went back to the table.  She did this a few times before washing her hands and drying them to go inside.

I was so happy we had converted her from not wanting to touch it to getting right in there and exploring the cream!

REMINDER: This is MESSY play. Please dress children in old clothes if you don’t want them to ruin what they’re wearing.  When parents/teachers are anxious about getting dirty and messy the child can get stressed about this too. Make this a fun experience not a chore. Shaving cream doesn’t stain and most dyes and paints come out of clothes with a good soak!

Shaving cream is a tactile sensory learning experience.  Messy Play like shaving cream encourages children to:

  • Relax and enjoy the process rather than the end result.
  • Provides for a range of social interaction eg. Co-operative play, parallel play, turn taking, verbal skills,
  • Develops fine motor skills essential for literacy and writing
  • Body movements encourages expression and creativity
  • Strategies for sharing space to gain spatial awareness
  • Allows children to make a mess and explore carefree
  • Affirms individuality and builds self esteem as they engage in spontaneous play

Sensory experiences allow children to develop their senses and emotional development.  It helps children to regulate their moods.  Sensory play builds nerve connections in the brains pathways which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.

What else could you add to this experience?

  • Paint for a brighter colour.
  • Add two colours and mix to see what colour they will make
  • Animals
  • Glitter
  • Utensils – spoons, paint brushes, milk bottle tops,
  • Make prints onto paper.  Make a pattern on the table then press paper on and take it off to see the print

This activity could be done on a table, in a tub, on a bench or even in the bath!

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