Whether it’s winter and you’re looking for something fun to do indoors with your children, or whether it’s summer and you need outdoor ideas, soap carving might be just what you’re looking for! Soap carving is fun, inexpensive, and great for children of all ages. You don’t need fancy tools (though you can use them if you have them!) or special soap. You probably already have everything you need for some fun soap carving with your children!
I do not remember when I first did soap carving, but sometime when I taught public school I saw the idea, and it was a (cheap) hit with my students.
Recently, my sons were asking about trying out wood carving, but all the classes in our area were for older kids who could handle a knife. I remembered the soap carving activity and thought it would be a fun alternative.
I just let my boys have fun and do whatever they wanted. However, you could easily use soap carving as an extension activity for history, science, or even phonics!
I use Ivory soap. It’s cheap and soft, making it easy to carve with household tools, even by little ones. But you could use whatever brand of soap you like. You can even use your own homemade soap for those who are particular about the ingredients in your soap.
And be sure to either cover your table with an inexpensive tablecloth or newspaper, or you can use plastic trays like the ones my boys are using in the photos. These are all good ways to catch the slivers of soap that are left over after your soap carving. You may want to use these leftover bits and pieces for homemade laundry detergent or some other project–or you can melt them together (a job that’s best for an adult) to make another bar of soap to use.
In addition to the soap bars, here are some helpful everyday household tools to use to carve:
- butter knives
- paint brushes (to remove excess soap)
- putty knives
- cheese grater
- stainless steel straws
My children are young, just 7, 5, 3, and 1, so our carvings are quite simple. Older children, however, could really go to town with this!
Check out some of these stunning images I found of Ivory soap carvings! Wow! I hope some of your students (or even you moms and dads!) will take an afternoon to give this a try!
Check out this beauty from Soap Carving Art:
And an adorable reptile from Uptown Soap:
A quick Google search will give you lots of great soap carving ideas and templates! (Of course you’ll want to supervise your children while they search, or you can do the search yourself!)
Not only can soap carving be lots of fun, but it can be incorporated into your homeschool in lots of creative ways!
You can carve:
- letters that you’re studying in phonics. Practice the sounds they make.
- several different letters. Make words out of them by rearranging them.
- whatever animal you’re studying in science. If you’d like, carve it some food or a home too.
- buildings or structures you’re learning about in history.
- all sorts of projects for art/design.
- clothing designs.
- blocks for balancing. (How many can you stack before they fall over?)
- a bridge! Which structure is strongest?
- numbers for practicing math facts or addition and subtraction.
- plants that you’re studying in science.
- a healthy meal that you’re learning about in health/nutrition.
We would love to see your creations. Please tell us what you’ve carved and how you’ve used soap carving in your homeschool (or how you plan to use it!). Do you have ideas to add to our educational ideas list?
Liz was a cheerleader swept off her feet by the football player back in high school. They are the proud parents to four boys and one girl. She’d always envisioned working and sending her kiddos off to school so she could live the ‘normal’ American dream. However, life and the Lord surprised her and she’s learning to ‘redefine having it all’ while being a homeschooling housewife. She enjoys finding strength from God’s word, the Today show, talking on the phone with friends, and being real about finances and parenting.