Summer is finally here—or, at least, creeping in around the edges. Days are getting warmer; the kids are done with their schoolwork for the year…and now you need something for them to do with their days. You want them active—nothing is worse than kids who spend their entire summer inside, glued to a tv screen—but you also don’t want to have to chase them every minute of every day. After homeschooling for an entire year, mama needs some down time, too!
You turn to Pinterest, and the ever-increasing list of projects that can be accomplished from its list. It’s not quite warm enough for you to want to engage in water balloon battles yet, though that does sound like a lot of fun…and then you see it.
Shaving cream filled balloons.
It’s hidden away in an out-of-the-way corner on your board. You saved it for a day when you were feeling up to a big mess, and then you didn’t ever pull it out because, well, the mess! But today…today, you’re feeling a bit like making a mess. It just happens that you have a couple of cans of shaving cream sitting around (and it’s going to take a couple of cans—really!) and some water balloons left over from a party last year. Why not?
You sneak into the kitchen, where you can work on a surface that’s easily cleaned up later—you’re thinking shaving cream and carpet probably won’t get along well. Then, you set to filling. Make very, very sure as you’re filling the balloons that you get a good seal around the nozzle of the shaving cream can—otherwise, you’re going to end up with shaving cream pretty much everywhere. Also, you’re probably going to miss sealing It properly a time or two. You might want to work over a towel.
Make sure you’ve got a basket on hand to hold all of the balloons. Also, something to keep in mind as you’re filling: shaving cream keeps growing well after it’s been expelled from the can. Tie fast, and don’t over-fill the balloons, or they will expand so far that they can’t be tied or explode from the pressure.
By now, the children have likely figured out that there’s something interesting going on. They have radars for these sorts of things. They will be congregating in the kitchen, waiting patiently for you to explain what on earth you’re doing. Send them off to change into clothes that they can get wet and messy. They’re intelligent little creatures; they likely already know what you’re doing, and that’s okay. It just makes the anticipation that much better. Still, you don’t want them around to watch you swearing under your breath when you realize that you got distracted and didn’t tie off a balloon fast enough…for the third time.
Once your shaving cream cans are sputtering and producing not much shaving cream (See? You needed at least two.), take the basket and the children outside. You might have some shaving cream on your hands from your attempts to get it all into the balloon. That’s okay! Wipe it off on one of the kids. They’re going to be messier in a few minutes anyway.
Take them outside…and turn them loose! Let them throw the balloons at each other. They’re softer and gentler than water balloons, but still plenty sensitive—most of the time, they exploded once they made contact, and if they didn’t, then they exploded when they hit the ground. Let your little explorers take a look: some of the balloons popped so fast that the shaving cream held its shape!
When you’re out of balloons, let them keep playing. They can always throw the shaving cream at each other. They’ll likely be a mess when they’re done. Either bring them inside very carefully, or spray them down with a water hose before you let them inside. You might be finding shaving cream in odd places for a while, but hey, that’s half the fun, right?
The toddler verdict: Why did you pop my balloon? (Oops.) If you have a toddler who likes his balloons whole, you might want to give him a few just-air balloons of his very own. On the other hand, he did have plenty of fun throwing things at his big brother and sister!
The big kid verdict: Mom, can we do this again tomorrow?!
The mom verdict: Definitely well worth it. They had a great time, and the only real mess was on the kitchen counter (which was cleaned up with just a swipe or two) and outside, where the rain will wash it away soon enough. The kids should be sent out to pick up the little pieces of balloon when they’re done, but that won’t take more than a few minutes. Definitely a project to keep in your pocket for a day when you have plenty of time to enjoy it—cleaning up the kids takes a little while!—but well worth the few minutes of effort to fill up the balloons.