Nothing makes a child happier or more proud than to present a gift he’s made himself to someone he loves. This is an important first step in helping him realize that giving can be just as satisfying as receiving.
If the gift is special and unusual, something he understands the receiver will value and use, making and bestowing the gift will work wonders for his self-confidence and self-esteem. It will be one of his first experiences at being a real contributor on a special family occasion.
And what parent or grandparent would not love a collection of decorative soap shapes to display with pride in their washroom or guest room?
Making decorative soap shapes is very easy. It can be done with an individual child or a number of preschoolers. Of course, the more children there are, the more adult helpers will be needed.
If there is a group, the children should work at tables, 4 in a group, with an adult to supervise each table. Each child should wear a painting smock or a large apron. Each group will require its own a set of supplies.
A large bowl
3 cups of soap flakes (Ivory Snow is recommended)
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of water
liquid food coloring
lightly greased candy or soap molds, or ice cube trays
a package of paper doilies
one small container per child: a wicker basket, a colorful plastic dish, a decorative cup, or a small gift box.
(1) Pour the soap flakes and water into the bowl.
(2) Add a few drops of food coloring. Each group may use a different color.
(3) Mix with hands until the mixture has the consistency of play dough. Let each child take a turn mixing.
(4) Rub a few drops of vegetable oil on children’s hands.
(5) They can take turns pressing the soap dough into the prepared molds and ice cube trays.
(6) Set the soap shapes aside to dry overnight.
(7) Go to washroom to wash up.
The next day, put all the coloured soap shapes together and let the children take turns choosing one until all the soap has been taken.
Each child will arrange his soap shapes on a paper doily in a container. The adults can decorate each with a brightly-colored ribbon bow if desired.The gifts are ready to be taken home for the special occasion.
Containers of the small multi-colored soaps should be kept on display for awhile in the washrooms or guest rooms of those who have received them. Don’t be surprised if the child drags everyone including the mailman in to admire his masterpieces.
If you’re working with only one child, or with an older group, there are other innovations you may try such as fragrant oils, decorative toppings or skin-softening agents, but for a beginning experience, the above procedure will be quite satisfactory.