Updated: Jul 21
This week we made our very own Bath bombs! And I think, if I had to decide which of the crafting activities were my favourite to date, the Bath bombs are right up there. They not only allowed the children to experiment with the science of how different substances work together and react in different ways, but the end product was something that they loved using in the bath – and so it had real practical value for me as a parent as well (rather than gathering dust). We have since made a second round of bath bombs, with equal amounts of pleasure and success, so I guess that speaks for itself.
The part that was most challenging the first time around (and we learnt from this for the second round) was that it is all too tempting to put in too much water to help the mixing process. But this actually makes the citric acid and bicarbonate of soda react and fizz – and can very easily result in a wet, soggy bath bomb, rather than something that will harden and fizz in the bath tub. Sticking just to the oil (and adding only a tiny amount of water) was the way forward – and meant that the bath bomb’s consistency was much better.
On the plus side, adding too much water allowed the children to learn a bit more about how, when citric acid and bicarbonate of soda are mixed together with water a chemical reaction takes place that creates CO2 (among other things) and how the two compounds react with one another to produce bubbles (when they are dry they don’t react with one another).
For the younger ones, the sheer fact of just mixing different powders, oils and ‘potions’ (as Isla put it) was pure joy. They loved the whole process of measuring, pouring, watching and then mixing some more!
I am convinced, that once we’ve perfected the consistency of our bath bombs they will make great gifts for family in particular. The kids are keen to experiment with different colours and fragrances, possibly add some flower petals for extra effect and maybe even try different shapes and sizes…!
What you will need to make your Bath bomb:
· 100g of bicarbonate of soda
· 50g of citric acid
· 2 tbsp oil – we used olive oil, but you could also use coconut or sunflower oil
· A few drops of essential oil, such as orange, lavender or sage
· A few drops of food colouring (optional)
· Flower petals or orange peel to decorate (optional)
· A few tiny drops of water
1. Make sure you have a mixing bowl and whisk (or other mixing gadget – we used chop
sticks) to hand for each child
2. Put the bicarbonate of soda and citric acid in the bowl and mix until fully combined
3. Pour in the olive oil, along with a few drops of essential oil and food colouring (if using)
into a second small bowl. Combine well, making sure the oil and the colouring combine as
much as possible
4. Add the oil mixture slowly into the bowl with the dry ingredients bit by bit and mix well as
5. When all the oil is added, add a few tiny (!!) drops of water and mix again. It will fizz as
the bicarbonate of soda and citric acid react with the water, so mix it in quickly. The aim is to
have a slightly clumpy mix – not too soggy – so it will keep its shape when you press it
together with your hands and transfer it to your moulds.
6. If you are adding flower petals for decorations, put these into the bottom of your moulds and
then press your bath bomb mixture on top.
7. Leave your bath bomb to dry for 2-4 hours, then carefully remove and add to the bath
I found that once we had made the bath bombs once we were much more confident to try different variations. And it also became increasingly easy to get started, as we had all ingredients in the house!
Some questions I was asking myself that you may find useful:
Where do I get citric acid
Larger pharmacies often have citric acid, or you can buy it online too. It is used in homemade cordials (we tried it in elderflower cordial many years ago and the result was wonderful) and winemaking.
Are the ingredients safe for children?
Absolutely yes – the ingredients are all safe for children to use in a bath; having said that, they are not edible, so supervising little ones is important ;-)
What can I use as a bath bomb mould?
It is best to use something flexible as your mould, so that you can easily and gently remove the bath bomb from the mould without damaging it, when it has dried. We used plastic packaging from a toy the first time around and then plastic biscuit cutters that we placed on a tray the second time. Other things that would work are Easter Egg packaging, silicone ice cup trays or cupcake holders and cleaned yogurt pots or pudding pots.
Do you make full or half shapes?
In both cases we made ‘half shapes’ as we couldn’t get two halves of a sphere to stick together. But maybe we didn’t overfill each side enough to make them stick together properly! The half shapes were completely fine for the children though, and to be honest they got used in the bath so quickly that what shape the bath bomb actually had (or even if it was intact) was irrelevant to them!
Should I use any particular food colouring?
It is important to use liquid food colouring rather than gels as these will clump together and they will be much harder to mix in.
How do I get my bath bomb to dry?
Now this is more of a theoretical answer, as in my case the bath bombs didn’t last more than 30 minutes before they ended up in the bath…. BUT in theory, leave them uncovered in a cool dry place away from humidity (if it is humid they will just take longer to set)
Can you make more than one colour?
Again, in theory yes – you could make different colour mixes and then layer them up in your mould and press them all together when you are done. This could be a good one for a gift – and you could even put different children in charge of different colours and then get them to work together on the end result: A rainbow bath bomb
How do I get the mix to stick together successfully?
Once the dry ingredients are mixed with the oils and you add a tiny bit of water, make sure you work quickly, to minimise the amount of fizzing that happens. Push the mix into the mould as soon as possible!
As always, have fun and try not to worry too much about the mess being created, or if things don’t go to plan. It’s all about spending some quality time together with the kids and having a laugh along the way ;-)
Next week, we'll be making Bird Feeders – join us then for the last of our ‘craft inspired’ sessions for now. And we will then look at other parenting topics, such as
Kids’ chores and how to get everyone involved in what needs to get done in the house.
Love languages – how understanding your children’s (and spouses!!) love language can make all the difference
Praise vs. Encouragement – how to foster a ‘growth’ mindset in children and why this is so important.
I’d love your comments as we go and do share any topic suggestions that you might have. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or respond to me on Instagram or FB at mummymadethis.
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JULY 2023 UPDATE: OUR MONDAY NIGHT CONVERSATIONS HAVE BEEN REPLACED BY OUR TIP TUESDAY REELS. TIP TUESDAY, ALONG WITH ALL OLD MONDAY NIGHT CONVERSATION VIDEOS CAN BE FOUND ON OUR YOU TUBE CHANNEL HERE:
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