OTFC’s Top 10 Resources- Part 6

We have covered a number of OTFC’s favourite resources, but I am amazed we have forgotten to discuss one of the cheapest and most effective resources that anyone can use!

Shaving Cream!

Shaving cream has to be one my favourite resources for working on handwriting, visual motor skills, messy and exploratory play and most importantly, tactile sensitivities. It is great for all ages, inexpensive and easily cleaned up after use. It can be used indoors, outdoors, in baths, showers etc. It is one of the most versatile resources we use at OTFC, and the benefits are numerous:

Some kids have a great ‘sensitivity’ to lots of textures, so playing with shaving cream can work on reducing such sensitivities. Messy play, such as using shaving cream, can provide a fun way to address tactile sensitivities in children. While it is important to respect a child’s tactile defensiveness, if shaving cream activities are provided in the right way, children can begin to develop a tolerance to it, and hence can help reduce their tactile sensitivities. For example, children can go from avoiding, to placing a finger in, to tolerating the cream for a few minutes, before wanting to wipe it off.

Children who have a strong avoidance can start by using other items in shaving cream (e.g. a stick, paintbrush) or pushing a toy car or other favourite toy through the shaving cream. The toy  (e.g. a car) can “drive around the letter track”. Some OTs have placed puzzle pieces, tokens and other fine motor items in the cream. Here, children have to work on both tactile and fine motor skills. A nice activity I have started using in clinic is covering a rubber ball in shaving cream, and bowling it at skittles. Children, even those slightly avoidant, enjoy seeing the skittles being knocked over and are more willing to pick up the ball, to knock over skittles.

Developing tolerance to the shaving cream can support increased tolerance to textures on the hands and, in time, can promote increased tactile awareness to support fine motor skills such as pencil grip.

While some kids can be sensitive to textures like shaving cream, some  require an enhanced tactile input, often seeking things with their hands, and shaving cream can provide this. For these kids it can be a calming activity, as they are getting their sensory needs met (intense tactile input). For these children try cream with colours (e.g. using dye, or placing shaving cream on a multicoloured/mat) to increase the experience. The unique texture and shape of shaving cream makes it a very motivating activity for many tactile seeking children. 

For pre-school children, shaving cream is a great medium for practicing pre-writing patterns, such as waves, angled up and down points, curly and bendy lines and basic shapes (e.g. circle, cross, square).  From here, school aged children, particularly those not too keen on writing, can use shaving cream as a fun way into working on letter formation. It can be a very motivating for reluctant writers to ‘have a go’, without the pressure of a pencil, and have fun working on writing and forming letters.

We often use shaving cream for ‘lazy 8’s, an activity to help children cross the midline and work on hand dominance. Here, you can get one finger, start at the mid point and follow the arrows, around the 8, encouraging the drawing hand to move over the other side of the body (crossing the midline).

While I could sit here for another hour writing all the other great uses for Shaving cream, I think it’s time you all go out and try some fun ways to play with shaving cream! I’m sure there are a number of other ways to use this versatile resource, and we’d love to hear them!

Feel free to leave a comment about your favourite shaving cream activity!


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