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Ivory Soap in the Microwave

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Everyone knows about the Ivory soap in the microwave trick: you take your bar of soap, stick it in the microwave for a minute, and watch it all but explode! But is it really as fun as everyone says—and is it worth the hassle?

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The process: Take a chunk of a bar of ivory soap and stick it in the microwave for a minute on a microwave-safe place or in a bowl. Don’t use the whole bar. First of all, the entire thing won’t melt down. Second, even just a little piece makes a lot of fun and expands to a much larger size. A tablespoon-sized amount of soap expands to cover most of a lunch plate—mounded.

Watch it expand and change in texture, then hand it to your child to play with—or do a little bit of playing yourself!

The verdict: Fun, fun, fun! This one gained enough time to, oh, bake a batch of cupcakes—which isn’t bad for a bored toddler. Even the big kids want to get on the fun—except that they have to do their schoolwork, so they don’t get to play for long.

The dreaded cleanup: Actually isn’t too bad. The soap makes literally no mess out of the microwave; the plate is easy to wash; and if you don’t get it all off of the surface they’re playing on…well, it’s soap. It’s used to do the cleaning, not the other way around. Also, as you play with it, it smushes down and gets smaller again. If you’re really worried about the mess, play with it in the bathtub and wash it down the drain! That’s the beauty of this particular project: it actually increases cleanliness, rather than destroying it!

Warning: If your child tends to be sensitive to different kinds of soap, exercise caution with this particular project. You don’t want them to have an allergic reaction over a little bit of fun.

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