I had picked up a can of shaving cream awhile ago, but hadn’t gotten a chance to use it. Also, I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to use it. Shaving cream had been a staple in the preschool classroom I worked in, but we used it a lot for letter practice and not necessarily in sensory tables. There were two things I remembered about using it – one, it’s easy(ish) to clean up since it is basically a form of soap; and two, I loved the smell and the feel of it.
Because it’s been a long time since I used shaving cream to play, this activity was also about mommy learning and adjusting the activities. I like to call these “tweaks.” And as long as I stay calm, I can make lots of tweaks and everything is okay. Luckily for you (if you are reading this), you get to learn the lessons ahead of time that I had to learn on the fly.
So I got the idea that I wanted to put ocean animals underneath and on top of the shaving cream, then add food coloring to make the cream blue, then let Ava just get messy and squish the shaving cream until she found everything.
Everything started out well. I put a few spoons and cups into the table (things she almost always wants when she plays) and let her play. Here is a sampling of my thoughts as we played: “Oooooo it looks pretty!”
“Oh this is so fun and squishy! Wait, does she know there’s stuff underneath? Ava, put your hands in! Oh, look what I found – what animal is this?”
“Wait, what animal IS this? I can barely see it. Oh no. The toddler has shaving cream ALL over her hands. Ava don’t touch anything. No, don’t touch your shirt. Where is a towel? Oh NO, did I forget a towel? Ava – DON’T MOVE. DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING. I’ll be right back. What? Water? Oh yeah, that’s a good idea. Okay, hold on!”
The toddler out-thought me on this one. Of COURSE we need water for this. I hurried and filled a bucket of water, put towels under the buckets and on the floor, and then the activity really took off. Ava could feel around for a ocean toy in the bucket, then rinse it and see what it was. It also added water play to the mix, which is never a bad thing.
She loved rinsing the animals and using her cups to move water back and forth between the two soapy tubs. It wasn’t exactly what I pictured, but I think it was better.
If you want to try this at home, I will give a heads up that shaving cream does have a strong soap smell, so if your little one is sensitive to smell (or has sensitive skin) you may want to test it out before you have them play in a big tub of it.
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