Shaving cream paint is always tons of sensory play fun. But, the ooey gooey stuff can get kind of messy. Actually, more than kind of messy. Add in glitter and you’ve got a recipe for a sparkly disaster. Or, not.
Clean Messy Fun
You’re all about messy fun. Most of the time. Exploring with sensory materials grabs your little one’s curiosity and sets her up for a simple science lesson. That doesn’t mean you always have the right space, set up or time to spread the mess out.
Even though shaving cream paint is a super-awesome way to explore through the senses, it’s beyond messy. Many recipes use food coloring or bold powdered paints. Those vibrant rainbow hues make this artsy activity so very inviting. But, they also stain clothing, your home or your child’s hands. This can make the activity a challenge for children who have issues with getting dirty or don’t like the idea that the paint color will transfer onto their hands.
Then there’s the glitter issue. It gets everywhere. We know. It’s in your kiddo’s hair, on her clothes and stuck in the floor boards.
While shaving cream sensory play and glitter art will never be completely clean, you can make it less of a mess. At least, when we’re talking about the color. Toning down the mess factor may make the activity more inviting and less stressful – for both of you.
Learning and Development Objectives
- Sensory exploration – senses of touch and sight
- Fine motor development – dexterity, eye-hand coordination
- Color recognition and identification
- A clear zipper baggy – preferably freezer size
- Shaving cream – we like the plain ol’ foamy kind
- Open the baggy and squeeze the shaving cream in. Point the canister down, put it inside the bag and let your child have at it. Of course, you need to stand close by and supervise at all times.
- Add glitter. Pour three or four colors of glitter into the bag, covering the shaving cream. Ask your child to identify each glitter color as she pours them in.
- Close the bag, zipping it all of the way shut. If you want added protection, cover the top of the bag with packing tape.
- Mush, mash, mix and blend the shaving cream and the colors without actually touching them. As your child manipulates the outside of the baggy, the glitter may start to disappear Ask your child what is going on and where she thinks the glitter is going. Did it really disappear? What would happen if she added more to the mix? Also ask how the bag feels in your child’s hands. How does it feel when she twists or moves it?
- Hold the baggy up in the sunlight. Your child can tilt and move the bag, exploring how the light bounces off of the glitter.
Optional: Add powdered tempera paint or a few drops of food coloring to the bag, turning the sparkly stuff into a multi-colored glitter cloud.
Sensory Play Extensions
Keep the fun going and add more to feel inside of the bag. Open the zipper and toss in a few leaves that your child collects on a nature walk, a pebble or two, a cut up straw or anything else that won’t poke through the bag. As your child feels her newly-made sensory play baggy, ask her how it’s different from the paint or glitter-only versions.
Place the bag on a flat surface and ask your child to move the new items around in the bag without opening it. This adds in an extra problem-solving experience and encourages critical thinking.
Are you looking for more sensory play ideas? Check out these activities that are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.
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Erica is a mom, educator and parenting writer, with an MS in child development. When she’s not teaching, she’s busy creating kids’ activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies.