Thursday, December 6, 2012
Soap clouds! very fun for you and your kids
We call these “Soap Clouds.” Where are all of our chemical engineers? I need to know why every awesome science project involving soap, hinges on the use of Ivory soap. Thoughts? Are there magical ingredients in there? I’ve always wondered that. I bet whoever came up with the original recipe never expected that so many science experiments would ensue with its use! I think the same thing about Elmer’s glue. Anyway, grab a bar of Ivory soap-yes, only Ivory! It’s cheap, but don’t worry, you can even use it as soap when we’re done here so we’re not being wasteful. So you don’t need to write us lengthy emails about being earth-hating-soap-haters.
Place a piece of waxed paper, parchment, plastic wrap, or paper towel in your microwave. Just don’t use foil, or we’ll have issues on our hands that are much bigger than your next burrito tasting slightly like a fresh mountain spring. This really doesn’t make a mess, so don’t be scared.
Start your microwave for a couple of minutes on high power. You don’t need to let it run that whole length of time, but you can just stop it when you need to. Want to see what happens?? It’s a little hard to see through my microwave door, but check it out (and ignore me when I say you need to turn your microwave turntable off, that’s for if you’re trying to video this experience:))
Ten bonus points for anyone who can reference my children’s ramblings about “the great devourer.”
I don’t know how it does it- but it starts growing! Sometimes the “clouds” are seriously HUGE, and other times they are sort of wimpy. I’ve noticed generally, the fresher the soap (as in the more recent I have purchased it) the bigger the result. We’ve done this a million times and my kids still get a kick out of it.
It looks like it should be foamy and wet, but it’s not. You can actually pick up the whole big chunk.
If you smash it, it will break into pieces and you’ll end up with soap dust everywhere, so be careful with little hands who like to smash things :)
It’s the weirdest looking thing. I love how it’s different every time.
Now. You have a giant blob of dried soap fluff and your kids were entertained for a total of 3.5 minutes. That’s a start! Sometimes I let my kids just take the whole darn thing in the bath tub and have at it. It’s one way to make sure they actually get cleaned in there. Or sometimes I hold it up over them in the tub and let it “snow” by smashing it and letting it sprinkle down like little snow flakes. Or, you can let them make their own little soaps. First, put the fluff in a bowl and let them do what they’ve probably been trying to do already- smash it to smithereens. It just kind of falls apart, so it’s actually kind of fun. And if it gets all over your counter, take my advice and sweep or vacuum it up first, then wipe it down. Otherwise you’ll end up with a big soapy mess.
Then, either in a bowl with a spoon, or with an electric beater, or in a food processor, like I’m using, add warm water, just until it comes together. Just like pie crust, folks! This is why I love kitchen crafts. To test it, grab some with your hands and hold it in your fist. If it holds together in a ball, it’s ready.
Take the mold-able mixture and let kids press it into cookie cutters. Make sure kids are old enough to know it’s not food, or they are likely to attempt to eat it!
These photos below are from a batch I made a while back, (and photographed with my regular camera) and I let my kids add just a couple of drops of food coloring to make colored soaps. After the soaps are molded, but still wet, you can gently push them out of the molds. Let them sit in a cool, dry place for a few days and soon you will have little soaps to wash (or play!) with.
Funny how my kids are always very interested in getting extra clean when it’s with soap they’ve made themselves.
Now go have some fun with your own kiddos today! Or, just grab some soap and have fun in your office break room at lunch. C’mon- you know you want to.