by Katie Brazerol
Aquatic animals are included in the A to Z Animals theme in the Fireflies® May Curriculum Guide (p. 45). As a part of the discussion about fresh and salt water, we create our own version of sea foam! Explain that when the ocean churns up dissolved salts, proteins, dead algae, organic material, and pollutants, the materials mix together and wash ashore as sea foam.
Here is a step-by-step picture tutorial of how to make the recipe. Please note: Dishwashing liquid should be placed out of the children’s reach after the activity. Remind the children not to place their hands near their eyes or mouths during the activity.
- large bowl
- dishwashing liquid
- measuring cup
- measuring spoons
- food coloring (optional)
- electric mixer
- tub or sensory table
Step 1: Add ¼ cup water and 2 T. dishwashing liquid to a large bowl. Add a few drops of food coloring, if desired. (Please note: food coloring may stain skin and clothing. Use with caution, and have children wear paint shirts or aprons.) Talk about the ingredients in the bowl. Can they see the soap in the water? How does the food coloring look?
Step 2: Begin mixing the ingredients together on the highest speed setting. Caution: An electric mixer should be used by an adult only. Please use extreme caution and have children stand back while the mixer is on.
As you continue to mix the ingredients, a foam will begin to form. Keep mixing until thick peaks of foam have formed. Ask children, “Where do you think the water went?”
Step 3: Once the foam has formed, scrape it out of the bowl into a large tub or a sensory table with a spatula. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until you have the desired amount of foam. (You may wish to create various colors of foam to see what happens when they mix together in the tub.)
Have children wash their hands and then inspect the foam. Ask, “What is the foam made of?” Can the children see the tiny bubbles that create the foam? Have them place their hands in the foam. How does it feel? What does it smell like?
Offer cups, spoons, seashells, and small aquatic plastic animals to enhance the play experience. Invite children to play freely in the foam for as long as interest lasts. After a while, the foam will begin to separate. Talk with the children about how the foam is changing as they play with it. Keep paper towels handy, and have children rinse off the sea foam once they finish playing.