A very simple invitation to sensory play

As I mentioned in my previous post, my grandson and I are exploring summer preschool together and for one of our first experiences I put out a simple invitation to play of shave cream on a tray.

A simple invitation to play by Teach Preschool

This was my two year old grandson’s first experience exploring shave cream which, by the way, looks a lot like whipped cream. Right out of the gate, he took his finger and scooped up a quick taste only to spit it out. We wiped his tongue and face and that was that last of the tasting he tried. Although I only put out a small mound of shave cream, my grandson saw it from across the room and brought a car over with him to see what this was all about…

A simple invitation to play by Teach Preschool 9

He let the edge of the car touch the shave cream then drove around the shave cream for a bit while thinking about what to do next. Before a minute passed by, he brought over more cars to add to the shave cream tray…

A simple invitation to play by Teach Preschool 4

Each car drove around the shave cream until they got closer, and closer, and then right through the middle…

A simple invitation to play by Teach Preschool 5

My grandson then decided to explore the shave cream with his hands…

A simple invitation to play by Teach Preschool 6

Sensory play, especially messy sensory play, can be a bit daunting for some children. They need to feel like they have control over the experience. My grandson took control by using his cars as a testing mechanism. In fact, I doubt that my grandson was even thinking about using his hands, but as the car play progressed, the idea of using his hands to explore became an appealing idea and a natural next step…

A simple invitation to play by Teach Preschool 7

After rubbing the shave cream between his fingers and rubbing it around on the tray and even clapping the shave cream between his hands, my grandson was ready to wash up so we headed off to the sink. He was very concerned about washing his cars too – so we brought them along as well…

A simple invitation to play by Teach Preschool 8

For each step of the shave cream experience, I let my grandson take the lead and responded as needed. Today was about introducing the idea of messy sensory play but keeping it at a level he was ready for so the interest will continue to build…

A simple invitation to play by Teach Preschool 10

By the way, I recently tried using a new shave cream that I picked up from the Dollar Tree. I liked this shave cream because it almost had no odor (no menthol smell) and was just as creamy to play with…

A simple invitation to play by Teach Preschool 3

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

DIY Ramps and Cars for Toddlers by Teach Preschool

DIY Paper Car Mat by Teach Preschool

30 Ways to Play with Shave Cream by Play Create Explore

The use of shave cream in the classroom by The Ooey Gooey Lady

By |2013-06-11T06:00:07+00:00June 11th, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Kari June 11, 2013 at 7:19 am - Reply

    I think it is cool your grandson was able to explore with shaving cream, but in North Carolina shaving cream is not allowed in the classroom.

  2. Erin - The Usual Mayhem June 11, 2013 at 7:47 am - Reply

    I love how he’s exploring with it! Wonderful photos, Deborah.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 11, 2013 at 9:38 am - Reply

      It was fun to just watch him check it out Erin. He loved it!

  3. Mary Kay June 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the info on the shave cream and cars. Can you please tell me where you got the trays from? It looks like a perfect size. Thanks!

  4. LeAnn Beland June 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    We are not allowed to use shaving cream at our preschool – because of the menthol. As an alternative, we use Mr. Bubble spray bath foam. It comes in several different colors and the kids love it!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 11, 2013 at 11:15 pm - Reply

      I will check that out LeAnn! Thanks for the tip!

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