About the Making Soap Activity
Soap-making is an easy and fun activity that most preschoolers will enjoy. Apart from the creative satisfaction of making something with their own hands, they will also be able to surprise family and friends with some lovely and useful soap gifts. Be prepared for some ‘I made it’ chiming after this activity.
Let’s look at how to make soap for preschool. Please ensure that there is a responsible adult available to supervise this activity, so that there are no chances of the preschoolers putting anything in their mouths. If there are many children involved in this activity, allocate them into small groups of about three or four for easier supervision. Sit them around a table, wearing protective smocks or aprons, and, if working with extracts or coloring, wearing gloves as well.
Assemble the required materials and point out and explain each to the preschoolers so they will know what goes into soap-making. The basic materials needed are as follows –
- Soap flakes – Ivory snow laundry flakes are recommended, but any others will do
- Vegetable oil – coconut, olive or any other
- Warm water
Apart from these, if you want scented and colored soaps, you will need to include extracts of vanilla, peppermint, almond, etc. and food coloring.
Then you will need a large bowl for mixing the ingredients, cookie cutters to cut the soap into desired shapes, a butter knife to tidy up the shapes and wax paper to keep everything from getting too messy.
Soap Making Process
- Set out the bowl and the ingredients on a wax sheet on a table before each group.
- Mix soap flakes and vegetable oil in the bowl, and add a little water gradually while mixing until you get a mix of dough-like consistency.
- Add extract to give the soap fragrance and food coloring to give it color. Put on gloves while doing this or you might have a hard time cleaning the stuff from your hands later.
- Give each child a few handfuls of dough, depending on how much there is and how many children there are, and ask them to pat or roll it into a flat base of one or two inches thickness. They can then cut it into the shapes they want with the cookie cutters. You can show them how to spruce up the shape edges with a butter knife. Another more easier idea is to simply roll the dough into spheres or ovals.
- Place the shapes on wax paper and set them to dry in the sun for the next few days.
Prepare little baskets with colored papers and ribbons. Place the soaps in these, and display each child’s creations in a prominent place for everyone to see.
Importance of Soap
Use this opportunity to teach children about personal hygiene, in addition to learning how to make soap. For preschool, this would include talking about the necessity of soap in maintaining good hygiene and cleanliness. Why is soap used? Can the preschoolers tell you? Make a list of things soap is good for –
- For keeping you clean.
- For cleaning your clothes.
- For cleaning your kitchen utensils.
- For cleaning your walls and floors.
- For washing your pet.
Explain to the preschoolers how important it is to wash hands with a nice soap before eating and after activities like playing in the mud, playing with your dog and so on. Washing your hands with soap gets rid of germs that might otherwise make you ill.
What else to do
Take the preschoolers to visit a soap-making factory.
Take them to the department store to see the different types and brands of soaps available there.
Discuss the different ways in which old soap can be reused.