Shaving Foam Sensory Play Ideas
Shaving foam is a lovely sensory play activity for children, especially in the warmer months! Young children enjoy the foamy, slimy sensation when they squeeze it and rub it. You can also add different things to it or use it in many different ways. Below we will look at five different shaving foam play activities and how they can benefit children.
There are many learning benefits to sensory play. The development on new connections in the brain is enhanced when we use and engage our senses (sight, touch, smell, taste, sound or vestibular & proprioception – our sense of balance, body position and place in space). The more sensory experiences we have, the better the ability we have to develop pathways in the brain for thought, learning and creativity (Gascoyne, 2016). It can also be an excellent way for children to make marks and practice drawing and writing.
What you need for shaving foam sensory play
- Shaving foam
- Food colouring
- Glitter (optional)
- Paintbrushes (for shaving foam paint)
- Cornflower / corn starch (for foam dough)
- Mixing bowls
- Puddle suits or old clothes are helpful for this type of messy play
Shaving Foam in a Tray
My children enjoy playing with plain shaving foam as well as the many ‘enhanced’ types of shaving foam. For straightforward and quick shaving foam sensory play, I spray some shaving foam out on a metal or plastic tray or in a tuff spot. Children enjoy running their fingers through it, squeezing and squashing it as well as making marks in it. We sometimes also add food colouring to make it look beautiful and mix colours. Glitter can also be fun to mix around in it. This activity is a great way to get children to make large marks and shapes which will help them develop motor skills and dexterity required for writing.
Shaving Foam Paint
Shaving foam can also be used for painting. It isn’t a permanent form of paint, but it can work well using it as finger paint or with paintbrushes on windows or a tuff spot. To make shaving foam paint, I get several bowls and fill with shaving foam. Then add several drops of food colouring into each bowl and stir with a spoon or paintbrush.
Then children can use their brushes or fingers to make marks on a tray or windows.
My children particularly enjoy painting with shaving foam on sliding glass doors as they are such an ample space to paint on. Having a large area to paint on is also helps prepare children to write. Making large marks and shapes will help develop strength and motor skills. It’s also easy to clean up with some spray bottles filled with water or a hose and a squeegee.
Frozen Shaving Foam Play
This activity is a fun twist on typical shaving foam play. To prepare frozen shaving foam, squirt some into several containers. Then you can mix in different colours of food colouring or glitter and place it in the freezer for several hours. When the shaving foam has frozen, children can then scoop it out with their fingers or spoons to use for play. My children loved feeling it with their hands as well as spreading it out on a tuff spot to draw pictures and mix colours. **See my Frozen Shaving Cream Foam Paint Post for full details on how to do this.
Shaving Foam Sensory Play
This activity is another fun sensory play activity with shaving foam. To do this, I freeze some water in ice cube trays with a little bit of food colouring. Then I spray shaving foam in a tray and spread it out and place some ice cubes on top.
My children love the sensation of the fluffy shaving foam combined with the ice. This activity is especially fun on a warm day.
Shaving Foam Sensory Playdough
Shaving foam playdough is an easy way to take your shaving foam play further. Shaving foam playdough tends to be stickier than regular playdough, so I let my children use it in a tuff spot outside rather than using it inside. Usually, I let my children play with plain shaving foam first and then later add in some cornflour/corn starch so they can mix it all. You can sprinkle some cornflour on top while they mix it and keep slowly adding more in until it makes a dough. It is squishy and fluffy, so children enjoy squishing and squashing it. Instead of making it this way, you may want to mix up the ingredients before giving it with children. *Mixing up the ingredients yourself is the less messy option.
Questions to ask
- How does it feel?
- What do you notice?
- Is there any difference when you add? Water? Ice? Cornflour?
- What can you make?
What they get from it
Playing with shaving foam is a lovely sensory play activity. It provides children with the opportunity to make marks, develop fine motor skills and build strength in their fingers and hands. As we mentioned above, multisensory play and learning experiences help with the development of people’s thought and creativity (Gascoyne, 2016). Children enjoy the experience of running their fingers through the foam to make marks. It makes it an enjoyable experience and one that they will enjoy repeatedly doing. For children who are afraid of making mistakes, this transient way to make marks and practice letters in the foam may help them try.
Take it further – Shaving foam sensory play ideas
You may want to see my post on Edible Mark Making Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers for more mark-making activity ideas. These are an excellent alternative for children who still like to explore with their mouths.
Gascoyne, Sue (2016). Sensory Play: Play in the EYFS. Andrews UK Limited.