Oh the joys of shaving cream! If you are averse to extreme child mess, this photo may get your heart racing. But I assure you, shaving cream play is worth it on so many levels. Just hear me out:
If you have small kids of any age you know what I mean when I say, “one of THOSE days.” No family is immune from those times when everybody is getting under everybody else’s skin, nobody is using patience or kindness, and the aggrevation in the air becomes contagious and toxic. As parents, we know the sources of these days are plentiful: not enough sleep, too much sugar, too much stimulation, not enough stimulation, the list goes on. Whatever the reason, on those toughest of days, shaving cream play is an awesome reset button.
Here’s how it works:
- Stock up in advance: You never know when these days are going to hit, so I always like to keep a stash on hand. You want basic white foam shaving cream, NOT gel. I buy the off-brand pharmacy stuff and it usually costs around $1.00-$2.00 per can. I try to keep one can on hand for each child.
- Clear the table: We use the kitchen table because it is on a hard floor and no fabric to ruin anywhere near by. You want to find a similar space because this will get everywhere. Don’t try this anywhere carpeted!
- Strip Down: My kids usually play with shaving cream in their undies or nude. I don’t think shaving cream would ruin clothes because it is basically just soap but being naked will enhance the sensory benefits of the shaving cream and be that much easier to clean up in the end!
- Give each child a bowl: Or a baking pan, or cupcake holders, or as many different dishes you will allow. I like to keep things simple so we usually just do one bowl for each kid.
- Set some ground rules: Your kids will probably be looking at you like, “is she really going to let us do this?” Make your boundaries clear. In my house we cannot throw the shaving cream, or touch each other’s faces, and I always remind the little one not to eat it. (She tries to eat in anyway.)
- Uncap and go for it: Show the kids how to spray the shaving cream into the pan or bowl and let them at it. I usually have them spray about half the can initially then add more as it loses its foaminess. Once they get going, they will love watching it expand and pile up. Encourage them to go wild. Ask them how it feels on their cheeks, on their arms, on their torso? How much can they hold in their hands? On their nose? Some kids may be apprehensive about it at first but step back and give them time to explore. You’ll likely find that they end up covered.
- Enjoy the shift: This activity can often keep my three kids happy for over an hour, sometimes up to two. No matter how cranky they have been, it gets them grinning, and the sensory benefits calm them.
- Bathtime: When I feel like the end is nearing, I pop into the bathroom and run a warm bath without bubbles. As the kids finish up, I help them to the tub where they enjoy another calming sensory experience. Already covered in soap, the bath water becomes soapy on its own.
- Clean-up: As the kids enjoy their tub I grab a few wet sponges and towels and wipe up the suds. It only takes a few minutes and when I’m done, the kitchen table, chairs, floor, and walls are clean!
- Enjoy: So you’ve just entertained your kids for an hour or two for just a few bucks and you’re left with a clean kitchen, clean children, and a fresh start for an otherwise doomed afternoon. I encourage every parent to try this and keep it in your back pocket for those days when you really need a boost. Have fun!