Friday, November 25, 2016

Painting with Shaving Cream

Shaving cream is one of those things teachers either love or hate. I tried it once in my kindergarten classroom in a whole group lesson and learned my lesson not to do that ever again! However, I didn’t give up on it… I tried it again in small groups and it was much more manageable, but it’s not like it came out once a week… or once a month even.

Now that I’m homeschooling the shaving cream has come out of the cabinet a few times this year. We’ve practice writing letters, our names, sight words, and numbers. I’ve figured out a few tricks through the years that have made things a little easier, which I’ll share with you later.

This week is Thanksgiving week, so we’re taking a break from the routine and just having fun so I gave the kids a choice…

Shaving Cream or Watercolor Paint

It was a tough choice. They love both, but obviously, they chose Shaving Cream! Since they love painting also and they didn’t choose that I thought maybe they could combine both worlds by painting with shaving cream. They liked the idea, so I pulled out the paint brushes and this is how we got started!

Painting with Shaving Cream:

Shaving Cream
Paint brushes (any size will work, but small watercolor paint brushes work great)
Squeegee or cut plastic square (I’ll share more about this later.)
Optional Decorations: beads, cut pipe cleaner, cut straws, bells… the list goes on!

Tip #1.  Choose a good spot. Shaving cream can get messy pretty fast, but it can be cleaned up pretty easy if you do it right. I like to be near a sink or water source. You don’t want 10 five-year-olds walking down the hall with shaving cream covering their hands, because that’s not the only place the shaving cream will be in the next 5 minutes.

Tip # 2. Choose a smooth surface. You want clean up to be fast and easy to make transitioning into the next activity fast. We have a plastic picnic table that has a gritty surface. While it might be a fun sensory experience at some point, in general the rough surface would make clean up difficult unless you could just spray it off with a hose.

Tip #3. Wear a smock to cover clothing. Even a large old t-shirt would help.

Tip #4. Keep some wipes or paper towels nearby to do a quick wipe up of any shaving cream that drips on clothing, the floor, or anywhere else it is not supposed to be.

Tip #5. Go through your behavior expectations before you spray the shaving cream on the table. It’s important to mention rules like, “Do not clap while you have shaving cream in your hands.” I even explain the WHY. “It might go in your eyes or your friends and it hurts. Even still they might try it, so be prepared with wipes or a sink for eye washing. Also, it’s important to let them know where the shaving cream is allowed to be and where it is not. For multiple students painting in a general area, let them know where each student’s personal painting area is. If they have a difficult time understanding this concept, use painter’s tape to mark a square in front of them.

Tip #6. Squeegees work well to easily clean up shaving cream from a table, but there have their cons. One drawback is their size and shape. Even the smallest size is pretty big so whether you keeping just one or one for each student, storing them could be a setback. Instead, I recommend using a cut plastic square. How? you may ask… It’s simple.

Take a plastic folder and cut it into about 3 inch squares. These are great because storage for even 30 would take up minimal space. They are cheap. One folder would make enough for several students. Also, these work great as erasers. Their small size makes them easy to have on hand for each student. Just show the kids how to use the edge to scrape the table clean and the bend the plastic square while smearing the cream back on the table in a pile. In addition, you can also have them use the squares to spread the shaving cream evenly in front of them.


1. Spray a pile of shaving cream in a central location. I typically choose the middle of the table if students are sharing. As I learned during my first experience, less is more with shaving cream. You can always add more.

2. Provide the students with a paint brush that they can dip in the shaving cream and then paint a chosen object or scene in front of them. They can also paint words or numbers if you want to add academics back into this activity.

3. When finished, have them use their “eraser” a.k.a. cut plastic square, to wipe their area clean and begin again.

Even I joined in the fun...

Christmas Activity:

We had fun shaping the shaving cream into a triangular Christmas tree shape. Then, decorated the tree with cut pipe cleaner as garland and a yellow star topper as well as beads for ornaments. It would be fun to see what designs kids could create. There are many shapes that would be fun to decorate in this fashion from wreaths to snowmen.

Last Thought… If you have some food die to change the color of the shaving cream, I think it would even make this activity more interesting. We might try that next time!

Do you love this idea? Try it! I’d love to hear all about your learning experience and share your pictures too!

God Bless You on Your Learning Journey ~

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