If you are new to our site, take a minute to check out these posts to help take the stress out of the mess of creating with your kids!
- 5 Steps to Take the Stress Out of the Mess
- 10 Things You Need to Have for your Kids’ Art Projects
- Plan Ahead: The Secret to No Stress Fun with Your Kids
What you need:
- Things you probably have around the house
- Knife or skewer – to mix food coloring
- Paper – regular computer paper is fine
- (Optional) Tray
- Things to buy – schedule a reminder 1 week before you want to do this activity
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Ideal Age Range:
Ideal age is 1+. (Be careful with young kids that are still mouthing everything, shaving cream isn’t for them!)
Medium. Shaving cream gets messy, but it wipes up easily. Food coloring can temporarily stain hands/ clothes, but you may want to put down a splat mat.
Less than 5 minutes
How to Prep:
1 week before you want to do this, set yourself a calendar or task reminder to purchase any supplies you don’t have from the list above.
The only prep that you need to do for this activity is the pumpkin shape. You can print out the templates at the bottom of this post, cut them out and you are ready. Also feel free to draw your own pumpkins or just cut a pumpkin shape out of your paper. There are no rules!
If you kids would rather have another shape, you can use this technique with lots of other fun fall shapes – leaves, witch hats, cauldrons, ghosts, black cats and more!
This is really a mixture of a creative project + and easy sensory activity. After we decorated our pumpkins, we extended the life of the shaving cream (and the time my toddler was actively engaged!) with some additional play. See my note after the step by step instructions on this!
- Use a cookie tray (or something similar) to contain the messy area. Spray an even layer of shaving cream to fill the tray.
- For younger kids, you will want to do this step on your own (and may want to prep it in advance). For older kids, the spraying can be part of the fun!
- Use the desired colors of food coloring and spread drops evenly across the shaving cream pile.
- For older kids, this is a great way to teach color mixing!
- Use your knife, skewer or anything else to swirl the food coloring drops around. Don’t over mix the colors, you want it to have a marbled look because this is what will transfer to your paper.
- Kids can use their fingers to do this – but be wary, the food coloring will stain their hands for about a day.
- Take your printed template (full page or cut out) and place it face down on top of the shaving cream. Kids can pat and/ or swirl the paper around on top of the shaving cream.
- Peal the paper off of the shaving cream + set to the side to allow colors to set for a minute.
- I recommend having several different papers prepped because this is a fast activity. You don’t even have to end up using all of them, but the kids will like being able to quickly pat several things into the shaving cream (before they dive in with their hands and you lose all control!)
- After you let your paper sit for a minute or two, you can use a paper towel or dish cloth to wipe the excess shaving cream off. The shaving cream should wipe off, leaving the marbled color behind.
- The thinner the paper, the more delicate a process this will be.
- Set the wiped paper aside for 30+ minute to fully dry. You can then cut your pumpkin out to finish the project!
Bonus activity for older kids: if you have thicker paper, you can test a few different methods for finishing your product. Wipe the shaving cream off of one paper. Gently rise the shaving cream off of another paper in sink. Have kids observe the difference in the finished color between the two methods.
You can’t let a pile of perfectly good shaving cream go to waste! After you are done making a few prints, let your kids go at it and smush their hands into the shaving cream!
This alone might be enough fun for them, or if they need some extra encouragement, you can also:
- Hide a few small toys in a mound of shaving cream
- Provide a spoon and an additional tray and have your kid transfer between the two
- Add another clean tray with larger cookie cutters, using their hands or a spoon, have your child fill the cookie cutters and to make shaving cream shapes
- Add a bucket of water and have your child clean off the toys hidden in shaving cream (this was what my son ended up doing for over 30 minutes…!)
If you would like to pin this activity, please use the image below.