Since the forecast shows snowflakes in our future, I thought I would post this project so you can be prepared. If the snow fails to materialize, this is still a great rainy day activity for restless kids.
If your kids are anything like mine, a Snow Day means a morning of joyous frolicking in the winter wonderland and an afternoon of “Mom, I’m bored.” I like to have special activities in my mental files just for these days. The last one I posted was Snow Candy, which is always a family favorite. My sister emailed me this new project that we gave a dry run the other day because I just couldn’t believe that it would work.
Soap Clouds are simple to make.
Step 1 – Take a bar of Ivory soap (it MUST be Ivory. This will not work with any other brand) and put it on a microwave safe paper plate or large square of wax paper.
Step 2 – Microwave the bar of soap for about 3 minutes. The time will vary with different microwaves so keep a close eye on it. The bar will begin to grow and flow within seconds, almost like lava. Stop when it seems to have stopped growing.
The Soap Clouds look like they are liquid but are actually a brittle solid that will crumble easily. Put it into a large bowl and let the kids have a go at playing with it and crumbling it. Any large, hard pieces of soap left in the cloud can be microwaved again. If any of the crumbles spill, try to sweep most of it up. Wiping a large amount of it with a wet cloth will result in a soapy mess.
Each time you microwave a bar, it makes different formations and is strangely fascinating to watch. With older kids, try to get them to figure out how this works (hint: Ivory is whipped full of air bubbles, which is why it floats in water. The air bubbles expand in the microwave when the water in the soap turns to steam and result in the Soap Clouds.) No shame in trying to sneak a science lesson in.
Once your Soap Clouds are reduced to fine crumbles in the bowl, you can add a few teaspoons of warm water and mix with a fork until it is a crumbly mixture that easily forms into a ball when gently squeezed, like a proper pie crust dough. Add colors and fragrance during the mixing if desired and let the kids press into cupcake tins, cookie molds, or they can make simple free-form sculptures. Be sure they are packed tight otherwise they will fall apart when dry. Let them dry completely for a few days and you have beautiful hand formed soaps for use or for one-of-a-kind gifts.
- Once again, use only Ivory soap. Others will melt and/or burn.
- The fresher the bar (newly unwrapped), the better it will puff up
- Young children might be tempted to taste the marshmallow-like soap clouds so supervise them closely.
- Use unscented Ivory soap if possible. The scent will magnify in the microwave and become overwhelming if you use the regular scented bars. Your microwave will smell like a soap dish for days. Trust me, I found out the hard way. This also allows you to add your own scent during the last steps if you want a scent.
- Don’t use food color to color the soaps. Food color will stain skin and other surfaces. You can purchase colors and scents specifically for soap-making online or at a craft store like Michaels.