1-2-3 Come Make Some Shaving Cream Stuff With Me!
If you haven't heard of using shaving cream in the classroom yet, you and your students are missing out on a lot of fun. Yes, it's a little bit messy, but oh the joy of hands-on learning.
Clear the work tables or student desks, and have children don a paint shirt. Shake up a can of shaving cream (they sell a variety at The Dollar Store) and squirt a few big dollops in front of each child's place. The whole key to not making a mess is to give them just enough to make a writing board.
Tell them to smooth it out to make their very own "whiteboard!" Using their index finger as a pencil, have students write letters, numbers, or draw shapes. This is a super-fun way to whole-group assess.
As you call out each letter, number, shape or whatever, students draw that on their snow "board." When you've checked everyone's work by simply a glance, have them "erase" their board by smoothing it over, so you can call out something else for them to write/draw.
After you review, give your students one last dollop for them to write their name or draw whatever they like.
An extra bonus is that the shaving cream takes off sticky glue residue, as well as crayon, permanent marker and ink marks. Depending on the fragrance you choose, your room should smell simply wonderful.
The cream also makes your kiddo's hands feel smooth and soft. Take a teachable moment to talk about friction, as students rub the tabletop or their desk. The shaving cream will disappear, and their hands will feel warm. We take a bathroom break to wash our hands, and then everyone pitched in with wet paper towel, to wipe and dry our work space. Our tables were so clean and shiny!
Shaving cream is also an excellent "frosting" or "snow" for winter "craftivities". The results pack a huge "Wow!" affect and were some of my students' favorite artwork. Shaving cream creations make an outstanding decoration for your hallway, but hang them above any one's reach, so little fingers aren't tempted to poke the fluffy "snow." To make the "snow frosting," mix Elmer's glue with equal parts non-menthol shaving cream; mix quickly to whip up a frothy-goopy consistency.
I plopped 1 or 2 spoonful's on each child's project and then they smoothed their "frosting" with a Popsicle stick. Depending on how thick the artwork is, shaving cream craftivities need at least 24-48 hours to dry. Here are 2 of my all-time favorite shaving cream creations.
Shaving Cream Frosted Cookie Ornaments: I have my students cut their cookie out of light brown paper, frost it, and then add their photo to the middle.
If you have an Ellison Die Cutter at your disposal, these cookies are adorable cut into your students' initials. Add a few real candy sprinkles and these honestly look good enough to eat; they look so real!
These make a darling bulletin board too. Cover with aluminum foil to make a giant "cookie sheet". Caption: "We're cooking up a batch of fun, learning letters in _____________'s class."
Shaving cream would also look cute on a frosted gingerbread man, and would be fun for your kiddo's to decorate like mine did with their snowmen below. Scatter them on your aluminum foil background above. Caption: "Some Sweet Fun With Our Gingerbread On The Run!"
By far, my favorite craft that I ever made with my Y5's, was the shaving cream snowman. The first time I made these, I hung my students' snowmen as a border, just under the ceiling in the hallway.
We got zillions of compliments and everyone wanted to know the secret of the awesome looking "snow!" I've also made them into a bulletin board accompanied by stern "Don't touch!" warnings.
Not sure why I used a yellow background here, when blue snowflake wrapping paper would have been awesome.
Before hand, have students draw their snowman on a pre-cut piece of tag board. (5x7 or 8x10) Little ones have a tendency to either draw way too small or way too large, so demonstrate drawing 2 simple circles “just the right size.”
I used a template to pre-draw the ones for my Y5's. You really need to make sure that there is a definite "neck" as the "snow" spreads and puffs up to the point where a snowman could look just like a big blog. Make sure students have written their name in the corner.
You don't want to use colored tag board, because when it gets wet it bleeds. If I remember correctly I used 4 cans of shaving cream for my Y5's. I had 2 classes, so this was about 35-40 students. It's always a good idea to have 1 or 2 extra cans just in case.
You can always use it for tabletop fun. I also had a gallon-sized container of Elmer's, so I didn't go through a bunch of smaller glue bottles. Use equal parts of shaving cream and glue.
I collected a large tub of pieces and parts to decorate the snowmen via a note home making a request, searching my house, taking apart jewelry and going junking.
Put several scoops of “stuff” in paper bowls and set 2 on each table. Give students 5-10 minutes to pick out 2 eyes, 1 nose, something for a mouth and 3-5 items for their snowman's buttons.
It’s very important to have children design their snowman BEFORE you give them a dollop of shaving cream, because they need to work rather quickly spreading their “snow” with a Popsicle stick.
It’s helpful if they arrange their parts on the side, so that they don’t forget what they chose for each feature. Children get so excited when they get the “snow-goop” that they sometimes forgot and this really helped. Also remind them to stay INSIDE the lines as one of my kiddo's was having so much fun "frosting" that he frosted the entire piece of tag board instead of just the snowman.
I also did the shaving cream board, discussed above, a day or two before. This really helped to avoid children's curiosity of how shaving cream felt, so they got down to the business of creating a snowman, instead of getting off task and simply playing with the shaving cream.
Mix up a huge bowl of “fluff” and use a wooden spoon to give each student enough dollops so they can “frost” their snowman. I also demonstrate how this is done. When they are satisfied with the results, they gently plop their decorative pieces in the appropriate places.
Remember to remove the bowls of decorations before you give students the frosting, to avoid children taking more and putting it all over their snowman, or it won't look like a snowman.
After they have completed decorating, set aside in a designated "keep out!" drying area.
Again, you will need at least 24-48 hours of dry time. Because of that, I always did shaving cream art on a Friday.
When you return to school they should have dried and really “puffed” up! They look simply amazing! Click on the link to view/download the Shaving Cream Snowman “craftivity.”
I hope you have a delightful time with these ideas. If you take pictures, I'd LOVE to hear from you and see your "mess-terpieces!" email@example.com
If you run into a Grinch that says: "You can't do that!" or "Shaving cream's not allowed in our school." I recommend reading Lisa Murphey's Ooey Gooey article. It's a humorous read, chock full of lots of factual information you can arm yourself with.
Want more shaving cream ideas? My kiddo's made a puffy apple in September; a plump pumpkin in October, the snowman in January and a cloud in April.
I tinted the shaving cream with powdered tempera. I've also used liquid paint, and added more glue and shaving cream, so it didn't get soupy. You could also drip some drops of food coloring in, but I don't think the colors come out as vibrant. A heart for Valentine's Day would be fun as would a shamrock for St. Patty's Day. Oh the ideas are endless!
Every Day Life has still more ideas including a shaving cream experiment.
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I have lots of winter boards. I blog and design daily, so I hope you can pop by tomorrow for even more FREEBIES.
"If you don't mind smelling like peanut butter for several days, peanut butter makes good shaving cream!" -Barry Goldwater