My twins are nuts about the ocean and all its amazing creatures. With summer starting, this is the perfect time for some fun ocean activities to beat the heat! We’ve got several ocean-themed activities to share over the next couple of weeks, and first up is this simple but fantastic sensory play idea that kept them busy all morning long. Read on to see how we whipped up a giant batch of soapy sea foam for sensory and pretend play!
Soapy Sea Foam Sensory Play
The twins have always adored bubble play. The first time we tried playing with soap foam was back when the twins were about 18 months old, and I’ve been meaning to try it again for ages. However, I never thought of coloring the foam until I saw rainbow soap foam over at Fun at Home With Kids (genius), and I thought making an ocean-themed foam would be an incredibly rad way to kick off our ocean series.
I think I was right!
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When the twins walked in and saw their large tub of ocean foam, they were super excited and couldn’t wait to dive right in. I had hidden ocean creatures from the Safari Ltd Ocean TOOB along with some large shells from our nature collection at the bottom of the tub, so they were surprised and delighted with each new discovery. They alternated between swirling, scooping, and generally immersing themselves in the beautiful puffy foam and using their ocean animals to act out very intense dramas 😉
Making our sea foam was super easy and used ingredients we already had on hand. I played around with the proportions until I got the best results for my particular mixer, but it’s by no means an exact science…less water will give you a more dense foam, while more water will give you a puffier foam. Too much water and the foam won’t last too long, and you’ll have a lot of water at the bottom of your bin. But I guarantee your kids won’t care either way, so don’t sweat it too much.
Soapy Sea Foam Recipe
- 1/3 cup water (I’ve read that distilled water yields the best bubbles, but our tap water did just fine)
- 1/3 cup Dawn dish soap (you can use whatever you have on hand)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour in the UK)
- A few squirts liquid watercolors in your desired color/colors (we used turquoise and green). I’ve also seen food coloring and Koolaid used to color soap foam, but beware of staining with both of those types of coloring. The liquid watercolors washed right out of our clothes and skin with no problems.
To create our foam, I simply combined all the ingredients above in the bowl of our KitchenAid stand mixer. If you don’t have one, no worries- you can use a hand mixer, blender, or even a food processor. Just mix equal parts of water and dish soap and then add a small amount of corn starch to act as a stabilizer. When I was testing the recipe the bubbles I made using cornstarch felt more dense and lasted much longer than those I made without, but if you don’t have any on hand it will still work.
Turn your mixing apparatus on high and mix for a couple of minutes until your foam is nice and fluffy. Then scoop the foam into a large container (we used a clear plastic storage bin) and repeat until you have the desired amount. I made a couple batches of blue, a couple more of green, and some plain white and swirled them all together to suggest the waves of the ocean.
This was one of those activities that I may have enjoyed just as much as the kids did! All those mounds of beautiful foam were completely irresistible.
And the foam lasted extra long thanks in part to the cornstarch. All in all, this was a winner. I hope you try it!
This activity is a super fun form of sensory play, which you can read more about in this article: Sensory Play: Is This Really Necessary? Themed sensory play activities are fantastic for young children because they are so engaging and are full of opportunities for imaginative play. I love seeing my kiddos incorporate new things that they’ve learned (such as knowledge of ocean animals and their habitats) into our play setups. You can see our entire sensory play gallery by clicking HERE– we’ve got tons of fun stuff to try!