Friends–now that swim and dive season is over, we’re doing a whole lot more free bird play, lazy mornings, and long afternoons at the pool.
It’s been great, and I am so thankful.
But each and every day we try to do something where there’s some sneaky learning involved. Something a little more focused or directed.
Something that allows my crew to use their brains and let their imaginations run wild.
One day last week, we had the pleasure of having some pals over, so we rocked out some early morning soap experiments.
And we used materials we had around the house: soap. And some food coloring.
And–I’m willing to declare that even though there was some fun science learning involved–and even a worksheet–that the kids had a blast.
Here’s the skinny . . .
Soap Experiments–Easy Backyard Summer Fun:
For our tabletop surprises, all I did this day was place a few things on the table.
And all you’ll need for these soapy experiments are:
- soap! (grab a few kinds: Ivory, Dial, Irish Spring, and Dove soap)
- a plate
- a bowl of water
- food coloring
- access to a microwave
- a copy of the Soap Experiment sheet (download below)
Then let your kids at it!
This does take a bit of parental support, since heat and a microwave is involved, so be aware.
What I did was begin by talking about a few things:
- Have kids open each bar of soap, feel it, and smell it.
- Talk about the weight of each: Which is heaviest? Which is lightest? Which feels hollow? Solid?
- Talk about how each bar of soap feels: Which is smooth? Which is more coarse? Which is more creamy? Which is sandy?
- Compare each bar of soap in the big bowl of water: Which floats? Which sinks? Does their behavior change over time?
Then because we had a big group–six kids!–we unwrapped one more bar of each soap and closely watched what happened when we placed each bar in the microwave.
And this is where it got really cool.
My kids remembered doing our soap experiment a few summers ago, when we made Soap Dough, so they had an idea about what would happen when we placed the Ivory soap in the microwave.
They were not sure, however, what would happen to the other brands of soap.
So one by one, we put a bar or soap on a plate and watched it in the microwave.
And when we ended with the Ivory soap, and the kids watched it blow up into a beautiful and amazing sculpture, the kids were in awe.
Each of the girls had so much fun microwaving their Ivory soap to the max and then letting it cool.
By now the boys had lost interest, strangely enough. I guess we couldn’t compete with a dual Minecraft building session. . .
We talked about what happened.
We walked through the why’s of this experiment, pulling the floating experiment back into the loop. I asked them:
- Why did the Ivory soap act the way it did?
- How did Ivory compare in weight to the other soaps?
- How did Ivory soap compare to the others in water?
- What might have made Ivory behave the way it did?
- Let’s look at the cost of each soap. Why was Ivory so much less expensive than the others?
- How might that effect your skin?
It was a lot of fun.
The girls, I think, had the most fun outside, on the porch, making their Ivory into soap dough.
Just a few drops of food coloring, I said.
But they didn’t listen.
And their hands paid for it later: Red hands. Blue hands. Purple hands.
Quite a mess they made.
But they had fun, and you know what? Maybe they learned a little something along the way.
I know I sure did: that even big kids must be watched with food coloring.
Want to give the soap experiment a go?
Try it. Let your kids in on it, and who cares if you get a little messy? It’s all good, clean fun right?
Take a minute and download the experiment sheet below:
Soap Dough Experiment pdf: soap dough teachmama.com
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Take a look at the original Soap Dough post:
Want a few more fun summertime ideas?
What did you do that really rocked this week? We’d love to hear it!
Check out our summertime fun posts:
- crayon melts
- backyard learning
- backyard chopped challenge
- dissect flowers
- backyard fragrance experiment
- backyard water fun
- pimp the ole coupe
- rainbow hunt
- learn with seashells
Find something fun to do this summer by following our summertime fun board:
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