Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sensory bin: soap flakes Oh, yes.

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I've seen this all over the internet: put a bar of Ivory soap (it must be Ivory*!) into the microwave and it bubbles into a fantastic mountain of soap.

I am here to tell you that it is all true: the soap does bubble into a fantastic mountain, the mountain comes out dry, and it is all terribly fun to watch.  Plus, the clean-up is minimal.

You start with a bar of Ivory soap.

I love the smell of Ivory soap. Since it floats, it is the soap we used in the lake.  To me, it smells like part of summer.  I thought I'd let my child experience one of the smells of my childhood summer.

I could have stopped her, but I knew this wouldn't go far.
Actions and consequences lesson in 3... 2...1...

There it is.

She's just discovered this week that she can use her teeth this way.
I'm so proud!

After your kid is done making observations about the bar of soap, set the microwave timer for 2-3 minutes.  This small bar took about 2 minutes with frequent stopping.
A great question to ask here is "What do you predict will happen to the bar of soap if we heat it in the microwave?"

For about 20 seconds, the answer is nothing.


Kablam!  Soap cloud!  Let the kids oooh and ahh over it while it gets gigantic.  Then stop the microwave and ask them how they think it will feel.  (It looks like it should feel like bubble bath.  V. called it "bubbles" the whole time we were doing this.)

 Guess what?!  It is dry!  And fluffy!  And brittle!

I pulled the "cloud" off the chunk of soap every time it filled the microwave.  I put the cloud into a bowl, and kept microwaving the chunk.  (Careful!  The chunk will be hot.)

It took about 2 minutes on the timer, and with all the stopping and playing, about 6 minutes.

Then we played with the cloud.

Guess what, Mom?  It tastes the same.

Make more observations.  Then make soap flakes.

It is so much fun to crunch up!

Now I have a bar's worth of soap flakes.  I'm going to put it in a bin tomorrow and add some water.  Once she has her fun, I'll make homemade handsoap.  (And if that works, I'm going to try it with Dr. Bronner's Fancypants Soap next!)

*Ivory soap is whipped with air.  That is why it floats.  It is also why it "bubbles" out - the air pockets inside get hot and expand.  If you are doing this with kids old enough to compare and contrast, try other air-filled, porous things, like marshmallows or Peeps!

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