I wouldn’t consider myself to be the craftiest person, but when asked to come up with ideas for the residents in the group home, I thought to myself ‘challenge accepted’. Before starting my internship in the home, I created a PowerPoint of different activities for both indoor and outdoor. I used most of those activities for my planning, but others just came one a whim. This particular activity was one of those on-a-whim ideas.
This was my very first activity to go with the girls in the Gladney Home and I wanted to make it interesting and fun for them so I thought to myself, ‘what would an interesting activity for four completely different teenage girls’? Low and behold homemade soaps came to mind! I have never made soaps before, so logically I turned to Google. I decided to go with the soap from scratch recipe instead of the recipe using a soap base. I thought this would be better because it involved more, but I was mistaken.
On the day of, I bought the items which included; olive oil, coconut oil, essential oils, distilled water, whisks, lye, vitamin E, and for protection, long rubber gloves. Before the girls got home from school, I prepared the activity by measuring out all the ingredients except the essential oils. When the girl arrived, they were curious as to what the cups and bowls were for. When it was time to begin the activity, a couple of the girls helped me take the measured ingredients outside. When making soap with lye, it is important to do it in a well ventilated area due to the chemical reaction it makes with the water.
Once ready to begin, each girl picked their own scent; some picked one and others mixed fragrances. Not all girls were present at the beginning, but trickled in little by little. Step-by-step we added each ingredient into the mixing bowl.
Step 1: Pour lye into the water. (Always pour the lye into the water and never water to the lye or it can explode!)
Step 2: Pour lye mixture in the Olive oil and mix until it leaves a trace.
Step 3: Add coconut oil, vitamin E, and essential oil and mix.
Step 4: Pour into the molds (or cupcake holder) and let set.
I admit that I was a little in over my head when planning this activity. What I did not research completely was that it can take up to one to fifteen days for the soap to set. The girls in the home loved the activity and the idea of using soap that they made. I too was super excited to see how the soaps would turn out, however it is sad to say that this activity did not bring useful results. After a couple of days in the freezer, we took the soaps out to inspect the girl's creation, but the soaps began to melt. My goal when planning activities for the girls is that they enjoy themselves and have fun. Although this activity did not end in functional soap, my goal was achieved. This activity is the first of many to come and I can't wait to see how they'll turn out.