While all of us parents know keeping a child entertained takes an enormous amount effort, we are feeling the pressure even more having been cooped up in our homes due to COVID-19. One of my favorite things to do is fun art projects and experiments with my 3-year old daughter, especially if it involves some sort of sensory component, and ESPECIALLY if it is easy.
While this project does involve shaving cream, it isn’t intended to be a messy project (you know your own child – gauge on your own how messy things could get!). If you do have a toddler who is predisposed to getting messy (and even if you don’t!) this is a perfect project for one of these quick-drying bad boys: For the Ladies/For the Fellas.
You will be shocked at how easy this paint project is, and how beautiful the canvas will turn out! Here are some pictures of one that my daughter and I did together (**we did add a little extra Mary Poppins cut-out décor because my kiddo is obsessed and put in a special request…you’ll need a Cricut Machine if you want to get extra fancy and use cut-outs).
Here is what you will need:
2. A pan/baking sheet
3. Foam Shaving Cream (do not use gel!), tried & true Barbasol works perfect. I do not recommend ordering from Amazon for this. You can get what you need cheaply at the grocery store!
4. Food Coloring or Liquid Water Color Paint (we opted for food coloring because we have an unnecessary over abundance in my home).
5. Something smooth to spread the shaving cream evenly across the pan. We used a rubber spatula. If you don’t have a rubber spatula you can even rip off the side of a cardboard box – doesn’t have to be fancy!
6. Stick to swirl the colors. You can use a skewer as well. We opted for chopsticks because we have a lot of those lying around the house.
7. Credit Card (preferably an old one!) or used gift card for scraping.
Ok – now the fun starts! The key to this project is letting your child do as many of the steps as possible and letting them take total ownership of the experience.
1. Let your kiddo squirt shaving cream all over the pan/baking sheet. Remember – use the foamy kind! The gel won’t setup and you’ll just end up wasting perfectly good shaving cream.
2. Next spread the shaving cream around the pan so that it is completely smoothed into a thick, consistent layer.
3. Once your shaving cream has been smoothed, drip the food coloring and/or liquid watercolor all around the pan, leaving some white space throughout for the swirling (that comes next!)
4. My favorite part! Take your “stick” (skewer or chopstick) and swirl all of the colors around the pan. You’ll want to keep swirling until you get a pattern that you are happy with! The more swirls, the more marbling you’ll transfer to your paper.
5. Paper time! Have your child press the paper (gently!) into the surface of the shaving cream. Give it some time to absorb the color, no more than 20-30 seconds.
6. Gently pull your paper up from the pan by one of the corners and place it shaving cream side up on a flat surface.
7. Bust out that credit card! It’s time to scrape. (This part can be messy, so you’ll want to make sure you have something handy to wipe the excess shaving cream on, and also something protecting the surface underneath your paper). Have your child scrape your scraper of choice (credit card, cardboard scrap, etc.) over the surface to remove the excess shaving cream.
Ta-da! Simple as that! I love this project because not only do most folks have all of these supplies laying around anyway, but it makes you feel like a professional art/science parent without having any artistic inclination whatsoever.