Note: I am now making letter craft foam shapes of some of my son's favorite letters and the ones we've been working on at home. I like trying to incorporate a little bit of learning into fun and fun into learning.
With summer over and the pools closed, my kids have been in swimming detox. My three year old has realized that he can still get his fix by getting his gills wet in a play-bath. Baths are even more fun with toys, as I'm sure you know. We have boats, cups, waterslides, mermaids, duckies, whales, and so on and so on. Then there are all the toys we had a subsequently had to get rid of because they are just SO FREAKIN' HARD TO CLEAN! And have you ever let your kids color with those bath crayons? They get in the tile every time and are virtually impossible to clean.
That's when inspiration hit. I remembered in a past Family Fun magazine, there was something about craft foam bath toys. I remembered thinking it was cute...if only I could remember what they did.
But here is what I did:
First obtain sheets of craft foam. I can't remember the price, but I got a pack of 12 sheets from Wal-Mart for super cheap (and I still have 8 or 9 sheets left!). Then we cut the foam into random shapes. A few bigger shapes, and then a variety of different shapes and sizes. I kept nose, eye, and mouth related shapes in mind. My daughter had the great idea to cut out some letters (specifically ones that would spell BOO).
Once the shapes were cut, the kids threw on their bathing suits and jumped in the tub for a play bath!
When the craft foam is wet it clings to surfaces, most importantly tub sides, tile walls, and other pieces of craft foam. The kids used the foam to make Mr. Potato Head-esque monsters.
My son has taken a number of baths playing with his craft foam shapes and just loves sticking them on the wall. Right now, he puts them up and calls them his symbol power (note: that is a Power Rangers Samurai reference.)
Take Away Tips:
1. Larger Shape are Preferable. They don't get lost in the tub or bubbles causing widespread panic (okay, very controlled panic, but it feels as if there's enough panic to suit the world imploding upon itself)
2. Be prepared for the shapes to rip at some point. The first couple of baths in which these were used there was no sign of ripping, but then as I wiped them off for the umpteenth time I ripped a set of eyeballs in half. Not long after that, the kids ripped a piece in the tub. Just be prepared with a super enthusiastic "WOW! NOW YOU HAVE TWO THAT'S EVEN BETTER!" and remember you have tons of craft foam to cut more shapes if need be.
3. These are so easy to clean with some Clorox wipes. Rinse, wipe, then I store them in a mesh bag so they are ready for next play bath time.