Afternoons are always a busy time in the preschool. The students are excited and re-energized from rest and nap time, and ready to have some fun! During this time, different areas are “open” with open-ended activities for the students to engage in. We try to have a variety of activities to stimulate different areas of development for the students. One of my favorite activities to run with the kiddos in the afternoon is also probably one of the simplest: table full of shaving cream!
It might sound strange, but shaving cream is actually a highly versatile classroom material! Usually the first thing people notice about shaving cream is its sensory qualities; they’re not subtle. Shaving cream is ooey, gooey, squeezy, smelly fun; and kids love it! And while it might be tempting as the adult on-looker to minimize the mess, to keep things contained, (“Please don’t put shaving cream ALL the way up your arms.”) ultimately these kinds of hands-on tactile experience are wonderfully beneficial for a young child’s sensory development and integration. Don’t worry, it doesn’t stain clothing, and will actually clean tables pretty well.
But wait, there’s more! Shaving cream alone is fun, but for an added bonus, throw some animals in there. To stick with the season, we stuck some creepy Fall critters on the table. Adding animals or figures to sensory activities opens the door for a wider range of play. As a teacher, I love to sit closely during these times so I can overhear the pretend conversations and stories that get created. I might hear a black widow spider go over to a snake to “check in with them” after bumping them, “Are you okay?” Often times these scenarios are modeled after real life scenes in the classroom, but in the realm of dramatic play there is an added safety buffer to practice different social scenarios in a fun silly way.
Filling the table with shaving cream also offers a wonderful opportunity to practice letters, numbers, shapes, or anything else you can draw with your finger. By actually making the shape of the letter with their fingers, students are gaining a tactile input for that letter in addition to the more standard visual input. This can be very helpful for students who are more kinesthetically inclined.
Well that’s about all for shaving cream. Have I sold you? Go find a bottle and spray it all over your kitchen table. I promise your kids will have a blast. And I bet you will too!