Kids’ Soap Lab (Chemistry 101)

Kids’ Soap Lab (Chemistry 101)

Inside: Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color.


I love to engage my kids in activities with a dual purpose: educate and entertain. If we do a bit of bonding and memory-making at the same time, all the better. Soap making is a fun kitchen science. Kitchen science means that you can do it in your own kitchen with equipment readily found in your cupboards and with ingredients found in a supermarket.

 

Soap making is a lot of fun, but it’s also a great example of chemistry in action. By definition, chemistry is a science that deals with the composition and properties of substances and various forms of matter. Different soap ingredients have different properties depending on their chemical makeup. When we heat the ingredients and mix them, we’re creating a chemical reaction.

 

Making your own natural soap is easy, even with kids!  Customize it with coffee, cocoa, cinnamon, lavender, or favorite essential oils.  Bathtime has never been as much fun!  Read on to learn how to make homemade soap the easy way.  #DIY #kids #family #detox

Around the world, across the globe, people of all ages regularly get into showers and bathtubs and get themselves clean. It’s such a common practice that not many of us give it much thought. We just turn the water on, reach for the soap, and cleanse our bodies of dust and sweat.

 

Do you know that archaeologists found a formula for soap written on an ancient Babylonian clay tablet that dates to 2800 BC? And ancient Romans had such high standards for cleanliness that citizens tried to get to the public bath every day? Can you imagine getting yourself cleaned in a communal bath with an oily mixture that had to be scrubbed off your body with a knife? I would rather not!

 

Soap has come a long way since 2800 BC. Moisturizing soaps, goat soaps, and oat soaps are only a few of the recent additions. But are you aware that many commercial soaps are loaded with preservatives and chemicals? Certain manufacturers do create natural soaps, but their products are crazy expensive.

 

Making your own soap means you can control what goes into it. You can experiment with different flavors, and, most importantly, have fun together. In the process, you will expose your kids to a world of possibilities, broaden their minds, and develop their critical thinking.

 

Are you ready?

 

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

Soap Making 101

There are essentially two ways to make soap:

(A) completely from scratch with lye or

(B) with a soap base.

 

Lye is a highly caustic and harmful ingredient that (supposedly) becomes harmless after it goes through the process called saponification. But, in handling lye, you are instructed to wear a mask, goggles, and gloves. It’s also recommended to remove all small children from the working area. Since I am doing this project with small children, I had to go with plan B: soap base (or melt and pour method).

 

Just like it sounds, the melt and pour method means you melt the soap base and pour it into the mold. Then you are done. If this method doesn’t sound hands-on enough, consider this: most professional soap-makers use melt and pour exclusively.

 

Even with this method, you can go wild experimenting. Rose petals? Oat flakes? Lemon oil? Cocoa? Throw it all in, but maybe not at the same time.

 

The only trouble with the melt and pour soap base is finding a truly natural base. It would be a pity to go through the trouble of making soap at home but end up with the same harmful chemicals and artificial fragrances that commercial bars of soap are made of. My goal was to avoid parabens, sulfates, MPGs, propylene glycol, and PEGs.

 

I ended up buying Shea Butter Stephenson Melt and Pour Soap Base. They claimed to be made from natural ingredients, and when I ran each ingredient through the Environmental Working Group database, they all came classified as “not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful.”

 

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

Soap Lab for Kids

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links. If you make a purchase through my link, I will get a commission that is used to keep this site going. 

 

What you need

Natural soap base 

Molds* (we like hearts and flowers)

Mason jar

 

*Note: Silicone molds are the best, but you can use anything, even a bread pan. If you do use something other than silicone molds, just remember to line it with parchment paper for easy removal.

 

Optional Additions 

*Note on additions:

  • If you want to use wheatgrass, buy it fresh and dry it between the pages of a heavy book before use.
  • Himalayan pink salt, cornmeal, and powdered oats add a scrubbing quality to soap.
  • Plain white or cream-colored soap looks gorgeous enough, but if you want a bit of color, then there is a wide range of natural ingredients that are perfect for coloring your soap. Try turmeric, coffee, cocoa, red clay powder, hibiscus powder, and cinnamon.
  • Possibilities are endless. My favorite at the moment is a combination of hibiscus powder and rose oil. (Unfortunately, a recent home experiment showed that my rose oil is far from pure). And my #1 choice for kids are lavender flowers (I use cooking grade lavender) and lavender essential oil.

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

What To Do

  • Set up the soap lab. Line up the oils, salts, and powders you might be using for soap making. Add mixing spoons and molds. If you expect a lot of spills, cover the working surface.

 

  • Cut the soap base into smaller chunks, place them in a mason jar, and put the jar in a pan of hot water. You can also melt the soap base in the microwave. It takes about 30 seconds for 8 oz, and, if you are not careful, it will boil over like milk.

 

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

 

  • Once the soap has melted, invite your kids to add oils, colorants, and any other additions.

 

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

 

  • Pour mixture into molds.

 

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

 

  • Cool the soap and remove from molds.

 

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

 

Note on Foaming

You might want to know that since it’s a natural soap, it’s not going to be as foamy as the commercial soap bars. The foaming doesn’t come from soap, but from synthetic foaming agents that we didn’t use in our soap-making lab. Foaming is not needed for cleaning but is added purely because it makes people feel better.

 

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Our Favorites

Energizing Morning Blend: Coffee Soap

I don’t drink coffee, but my husband does. My kids say that the aroma of coffee is what makes them immediately think of dad. They call it his daddy smell. So, of course, when it comes to making daddy’s Father’s Day and birthday soap, it’s coffee soap all the way.

 

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

Coffee soap recipe

    • Melt the soap base.
    • Add a few spoons of coffee.
    • Stir.
    • Pour into the mold.

 

Kids’ Paradise: Chocolate Soap

This soap remains my kids’ #1 pick. It’s no surprise because the chocolate aroma is intoxicating. Resisting the urge to eat it is perhaps the hardest part of the whole process.

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

  1.  Melt the soap base.
  2.  Add a few spoons of cocoa powder.
  3.  Stir.
  4.  Pour into the mold. 

 

Relaxing Lavender Soap

It’s especially beneficial before bed to wind down and relax. I like to give each of my kids a bar of lavender soap, load them all in a bathtub, and do some relaxing yoga stretches on the floor in front of the tub. They are unwinding in the tub, while I’m getting my daily dose of relaxation next to them.

 

The combination of steam and lavender melts away tension as if by magic. So I get the benefit of lavender without even getting wet, and my kids get clean and relaxed. And yes, I even get my yoga done. Win-win-win!

 

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

Lavender soap recipe

  • Melt the soap base.
  • Add dry lavender and lavender essential oil.
  • Stir.
  • Pour into the mold.

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

Safety precaution: I wouldn’t try this project with kids younger than five because their body coordination is still developing, and they might possibly upset the hot soap. But even with older kids, exercise the same vigilance as when cooking.

 

Homemade Gift

Homemade soaps make for a unique gift. Put the soap in a drawstring gift bag and attach a tag. Voila! 

 

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

 

If you are interested in this post, you might also like homemade lipstick and homemade sunscreen

 

Soap making is a fun and educational project for kids. All you need are a few inexpensive, easily accessible items, plus essential oils for fragrance and kitchen staples like cocoa and turmeric for color. #kidsactivities #scienceforkids #chemistry101 #formoms #homemade #handsonlearning #rainydayfun #homemadesoap

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3 Responses

  1. Wow… I loved this post. I actually have been thinking of making some soap myself. It looks so easy to make . I would make the lavender and coffee soap. I know where to go when I’m ready to make them. Thanks Eva. 🙂

  2. This is so cool. I love DIY beauty products if only I had more time to make them. I’d love to make the coffee soap. Anything for exfoliating!

  3. I didn’t realize how easy it was to make soap! I love the idea of giving out lavender soap as a gift – what a great way to use my essential oils 🙂

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