Thursday, May 5, 2011

Preschool Art (and sensory) Project – making Soap Clay

I have had this little project in mind for ages.  I first heard about it from MaryAnn Kohl (are you surprised, really?  You know we are her biggest fans).

We bought 2 bars of Ivory soap, and M used our cheese grater to shred the soap.  As much fun as playing and molding with the soap was, I think grating it up was M’s very favorite part.  He loves using a new tool!  Believe me, I would not let him do this at a much younger age, and I was right beside him the entire time, making sure those little knuckles didn’t get grated too.  I’m happy to say not a drop of blood was shed in this activity. :)  That’s always a good thing, don’t you think?

beginning to grate the soap watching the soap flakes pile up in the middle of the grater

Getting pretty good at grating

bowl full of soap flakesWe ended up with about 2 cups of soap flakes.

M poured in a tiny bit of water at a time…soap clay (5)

And stirred, until it began to form into a ball:soap clay (6)

Then the fun of grabbing a glob of it in his hands and squishing it all up began:soap clay (9)I had to get in on this action too!  The smell, the feel - it was a great sensory experience.   

We tried using a play dough mold to make some dinosaur-shaped soap, which would have been so cool!  Except there was no way to pop it out of the mold without completely destroying it.  Maybe if we had left it in to dry a bit, but neither of us had the patience for that.  This was a hard plastic mold.  I really think a silicone candy mold or even cookie cutters would have worked much better.soap clay (7)

So, M ended up adding some food coloring (blue, because that’s all we had, ha ha), and rolled it into some bath crayons.  They really work well, and he could hardly wait to take his next bath. ;)soap clay 

We will definitely do this again.  It would be a fun project for Mother’s Day – maybe add some dried flowers or oatmeal?  And use a flower-shaped cookie cutter as a mold.  The food coloring from the tub crayons does not seem to leave any stains, so a bit of color in the soap is apparently ok, which opens up a lot of fun possibilities, doesn’t it? ;)

Definitely a successful sensory activity, and not a bad art project either!

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. What a fun activity! We will certainly have t0 try this sometime!

  2. I don't shred cheese half the time without getting my knuckles......

  3. I thought WE were MaryAnn Kohl's biggest fans! :) I love these sorts of projects. So many possibilities, and thus is something you could do with older kids too. I just got the Preschool Art book in the mail yesterday and we are huge fans of First Art.

  4. I love this idea! I will definitely do this with my three-year old soon (even if I have to do most of the grating, he'll enjoy molding it).

  5. This sounds really good! I think daughter will enjoy using a grater too. She already tried with potatoes but gave up after about 2 minutes.

  6. Definitely going to try! My little one loves grating!


  7. How cool!
    My kids would love this! :)

  8. oh I am so glad you did this - I have been thinking about a similar craft for a while, but wasn't sure how to go about it (or whether I should wait a little longer with my two), but looks like you had fun! And we should DEF give it a go!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Crafts Party!



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