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10 Shaving Foam Sensory Activities for Children

Sensory play is important for small children. While teaching them to explore all of their five senses, it also encourages fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, cognitive and language development and much more. It’s often calming and always FUN!

One of the most common items used in sensory activities is shaving foam, thanks to its squishy, fluffy texture and easy availability in supermarkets. It’s also easy to clean up, since it just melts away into liquid – if you use a tray for your shaving foam play, you can just pour the leftovers down the drain. Even easier is playing outside for a simple hose down afterwards. Another fun activity for the kids!

If you’re worried about really small kids putting it in their mouth during playtime, you may prefer to whip up your own batch of aquafaba, a vegan alternative to egg whites that whips up into a shaving cream-like consistency, using a tin of chickpeas instead. It’s a genius non-toxic alternative and super-easy to make, so grab the instructions here.

There are so many interesting ways to use shaving foam or aquafaba foam to engage children in some sensory play, I've rounded up some of my easy activities that are perfect for children of all ages, especially those with SEN.

1. Frozen Shaving Foam

This fun sensory activity is so easy and it doesn't require many items or equipment, just a bit of preparation. A day before, freeze some coloured water (large ice cubes are best, especially for little children) with glitter and pop the frozen cubes in a tray of shaving foam. Kids will love the icy texture and watching the colours swirl into the foam as the cubes melt. A brilliant activity, especially for a hot day!

2. Connect the Dots

I love this clever pre-writing activity. Create shapes or letters using dots of shaving foam, and let your little one connect the dots with their finger or a cotton bud to complete the shapes. This excellent fine motor activity is a great lead-in to letter and shape recognition in readiness for reading and writing.

3. Rainbow Cloud Dough

A simple, two ingredient recipe which creates the most gorgeous, fluffy rainbow cloud dough is perfect for a fun sensory afternoon activity. Just mix equal parts corn starch and shaving foam, add your desired food colouring, then gently knead into a dough consistency for easy sensory fun.

4. Puffy Foam Paint

This puffy foam paint recipe from Dabbles & Babbles is so easy – just place equal parts shaving cream and white craft glue in a ziplock bag, add your desired food colouring and squish the sealed bag together until all your ingredients are nicely mixed. Snip off a corner of the bag to pipe the paint out, or place in a cup for little kids to use with a paintbrush.

5. Marble Paintings with Shaving Foam

With some shaving cream and acrylic paints, kids can make their own pretty paper to use in arts and crafts or for wrapping gifts. Start by spraying shaving cream all over a cookie sheet. Then take 3-4 colours of acrylic paint and put drops all over. Take a straw and make swirl designs, making sure there's still white showing. Place a piece of paper on top of the shaving cream and press it down so all of it touches. Carefully lift up one corner and set aside. Wait 2-3 minutes then take a straight edge (we used a wide popsicle stick) and scrape off all the shaving cream.

6. Find the Letter

This is another great phonics or pre-reading game to play! It’s as simple as popping your Scrabble letters into a bowl of shaving foam. Give the children a measuring cup to scoop out the letters and have some fun naming and matching the letters they find while you’re at it.

7. Colour Mixing

For a less messy sensory play activity, pop some different coloured poster paints into the corners of a ziplock bag, then add shaving foam. Seal the bag and let your child squish and squash the bag until the colours spread and mix together. Great for colour recognition and a calming sensory activity for when you need some quiet time.

8. Sandy Foam

Slimy AND gritty (my idea of hell!), but this fun sand foam is made by combining shaving foam with sand and the finished product is a lot like wet sand from the beach. Great for burying and digging up little objects like toy dinosaurs, or driving cars and construction vehicles to leave cool tracks.

9. Rain Cloud

I use this one a lot during my Attention Autism sessions, and it is always a favourite. Show the kids how clouds turn into rain with this clever experiment using water, shaving cream and a few drops of food colouring. It really is that simple!

10. Tracing Letters

This was a staple activity for my class when it came to phonics. This fun letter and word recognition activity is so simple to set up. Just spread some shaving foam on a tray and use letter or word cards as prompts. Show your children how to trace letters and words in the foam using their finger or a paint brush or cotton bud. We would have a letter of the week and practice tracing this letter over and over in our shaving foam and various other textures before moving on to name objects beginning with that letter.

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