Ivory Soap + microwave + kids = unexpected fun

More than six months ago, I pinned this interesting pin on Pinterest, figuring I'd one day try it with my grandsons—crafting with Ivory soap that had been heated in the microwave. It may sound odd, but it looked like good, clean (plus cheap and easy) fun.

I decided we'd finally give it a shot during my recent stay with Bubby and Mac, so I packed several bars of Ivory Soap for the trip. I was right about it being good, cheap, easy fun. The clean? Well, surprising as it may seem, this was one of the messier projects I'd done with the boys. More on that later, though, after you see how much fun we had, regardless of the mess.

What you need:

• One bar of Ivory Soap

• A microwave

• A smidgen of water

• Cookie cutters (optional)

What you do:

Unwrap the bar of soap and place on as large a microwavable platter or paper plate as will fit in your microwave.

Put the plate with soap in the microwave, turn the timer to about 5 minutes (knowing you'll likely stop it before time's up), hit Start, then watch the magic!


The bar of soap will expand and puff up into a nearly basketball-sized chunk of fun. As it gets bigger and bigger, stop the microwave as the soap becomes large enough to soon touch the walls or top of the microwave interior. (This is about 3-5 minutes, depending on your microwave.)

Using hot pads, remove the soap from the microwave. It will be hot but cools quickly.

Allow the kids to marvel at it.

Once the soap has cooled completely (beware the center as unpuffed remains of the bar of soap will be hot), have the kids tear it into pieces and place in a large bowl.

Add a small amount of water—about 1/8 cup, a little at a time—then mix and mix and mix with a wooden spoon until the chunks are relatively smooth and about the consistency of Play-Doh.

Divide the mixture between the kids (I put it on paper plates in hopes of containing the mess). Let them have at it, enjoying the texture and shaping as desired.

Bubby loved the soapy surprise:

Mac loved it, too (though I did have to make sure he didn't taste it):

Pressing the mixture into cookie cutters is an option, too, one we opted for the second time we did this, when we just had to show Mommy and Daddy how cool it was.

Whether made free form or pressed into cookie cutters, let the shapes dry and harden for about a day. Once hard and dry, they provide another round of fun at bath time.

As I mentioned at the outset, you may think this would be a clean project, considering it's just soap. It is...until you start breaking the chunk of soap apart and it flakes and creates white soap specks everywhere.

 

The first time I did this with my grandsons, it was a pretty big mess. Washing up the soap flakes turned them into lathery streaks that took several washings. Plus, spots the boys touched were marked with hard chunks of soap—chair backs, their clothes, even Mac's ear that he had scratched mid-molding.

The second time we did this, though, I was more determined to contain the flakes and powder from the soap. It made for a cheap, easy, relatively clean, and unexpectedly good time.

This post linked to Grandparents Say It Saturday.

Today's question:

What did you most recently use your microwave for?