Long ago I was an “Itinerant Therapist.” This meant that I traveled to children’s homes to work with them, lugging all my equipment and bag of trick with me. I will always be exceedingly grateful to the many families who opened their homes week after week for me to”play” with their children. The forbearance and fortitude of these parents, willing to do anything to help their children was an inspiration to me!
Over the years I’ve collected many wonderful memories of the many children and families I met along the way. One of my favorite recollections is arriving at a bustling kitchen and the mom exclaimed, “Here comes Jill Mays, here comes a mess!”
Which brings me to shaving cream. It is messy, but I promise it is truly worth it! Shaving cream is inexpensive and while messy, can be cleaned up in a matter of minutes. As a matter of fact, the best way to clean up shaving cream is with a big sponge, which is a fabulous hand strengthener.
- Provides a big boost of tactile (touch) stimulation.
- Good activity to increase energy level of children.
- Makes a great template for random drawing and practicing letters.
- Using two hands reinforces bilateral motor coordination.
1. Provide a clear surface that can be easily cleaned up.
2. Squirt cream onto surface. If the child is comfortable with the sensation you can squirt onto the child’s open hands.
3. Instruct the child to explore and have fun!
4. If there are several children, you may consider demarcating boundaries for each child.
5. Have towels at the ready for easy clean up.
6. Important rules: #1 No tasting #2 No slapping the cream
Special Considerations and Extensions:
- Some children may be uncomfortable with touch and if this is the case, allow these children to explore very gradually….maybe just touching with the finger tip one time…making dots with the tip of the pointer finger. Be sure to have a towel ready for quick clean up.
- Some children can’t get enough touch stimulation. Be sure to set parameters to make sure the cream doesn’t go all over the place. Creating a game, such as building a snow man or finding objects in the cream helps to keep these children in control of their exploration while still offering maximum stimulation.
Suggested ways to extend the activity are:
- Practice writing and drawing
- Finding objects hidden in the cream (spray a pile into a large bowl)