This method for cleaning your art table will have your kids begging to help clean up!
Every few months, here in my home daycare, our art table gets to the point where it’s so messy and caked with paint, glue and glitter that it needs a good cleaning.
For years, I always tackled the job myself because, well, kids typically don’t love it when they’re put to work, and even if they do enjoy helping with a task, they generally don’t stay at it too long. They often tire quickly of the job, and run off to play.
Well, I’ve discovered a way to involve them in cleaning the art table, and they love this method so much they get truly excited when I mention that the table needs to be washed. And this particular method keeps them at the table, cleaning and scrubbing for ages!
It’s so fun, in fact, that the kids often suggest it themselves when they see that the table has become covered with paint and goop.
You can use this fun cleaning method to clean all kinds of toys and play equipment in your home or preschool classroom. We often wash our toy cars, farm animals and riding toys this way.
Guaranteed, whatever you’re washing, your kids will be begging to help out!
What’s the secret?
The hooligans LOVE it when I get out a can of shaving cream. We use it often for cool art techniques and sensory activities here in my daycare. It feels wonderful, smells great and it provides tons of sensory fun for the kids.
Let me show you how much fun we had cleaning our table at the end of last week.
To clean your art table you’ll need:
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- shaving cream (the foam kind works better than the gel kind)
- scrub brushes and/or scrubby pads
- liquid watercolours or food colouring (if you want to make things even more fun)
- bowl of water, hand towel or facecloth (in case the kids want to wipe their hands)
- razor blade (for you to finish up with)
A little bit about our art table:
Our art table rocks!
Not in the wobbly way (ha-ha). I mean our art table really rocks my world.
It’s an old coffee table with a laminate finish, and I picked it up at a second-hand shop for $6 about five years ago.
This coffee table has seen us through a LOT of crafting and messy art and science activities, and sometimes it sits outside for weeks in all kinds of weather. It has held up very well, and is still going strong.
If you ever see a cheap, laminate coffee table at a yard sale or thrift shop, pick it up! It will be one of the best investments you ever make for your classroom or daycare.
So, to clean the table, the hooligans give it a big ol’ shot of shaving cream. This is always an exciting part of the process, and the kids take turns with the squirting.
Then the fun begins as they swish their hands through it, covering the table with the white, fluffy foam.
Ooooo, it feels so GOOD and it smells amazing!
Of course, if your kids are young enough that you worry about them putting the shaving cream in their mouths or eyes, please hold off doing this activity until they’re older.
We’ve never had a problem with it though, and you’ll see in the posts that I’ve linked to at the bottom of this one that we’ve done all kinds of art and sensory activities with shaving cream over the years; even with the toddlers. They’ve always heeded the warning not to taste it or touch their eyes with their foamy hands.
The kids use the brushes and scrubbies to loosen up all the paint, glue and glitter and whatever other mysterious substances the table has been coated with.
For fun, I like to add a few drops of liquid watercolours or food colouring, and they have a great time swishing those around. It’s always a fun way for them to see what happens two colours collide, and we talk about the new colours that can be made from combining certain colours.
They have a blast sinking their hands in and getting all goopy with foam, and they’ll play at the table for ages.
Look at the fun they had with it!
This has been a favourite for the older hooligan for years. Check out this picture of her the first time she ever played with shaving cream. She loved the sensory aspect of it so much that she climbed right into the bin, and painted her body.
When we’re all finished, and they’ve got as much paint off the table as they can, they rinse their hands and they hose the table off with the garden hose.
When we’re in the house, we just use several wet wash-cloths to clean off the shaving cream.
Removing hot-glue and acrylic paint:
Sometimes there’s hot-glue and acrylic paint that can’t be removed by the shaving cream, so that’s where I come in with the razor blade.
A quick scrape to those stubborn areas, and those tough to remove substances peel right off.
And there you have it! Try using shaving cream the next time you need to clean the art table in your classroom or daycare! Your kids will love it, and your table will look as good as new!
Looking for more ways to play and create with shaving cream? Check out:
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