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Debs Random Writings

Bath Bomb activity for children

heart shaped bath bomb

This is for Fiona and anyone else who would like to do a bath bomb party.

There are many tutorials out there showing how to make bath bombs, but I’m going to share how I run this as an activity for children. I’ve done this activity with groups of children around the kitchen table and, after last weekend, I can now add the experience of doing it with a larger group. Just not all at the same time! A max of 6 to 8 children at a time, is perfect.

I’ve tried to write this tutorial and add photos that will help you through the process, as if I was there to show you. I’m happy to answer any questions, if I’ve missed something in the process.

Children enjoy making bath bombs. It fizzes. It smells. They can choose combinations and they really can do the making part. It also stimulates their senses and, if I can, I talk about the science*.  Most just want to make.

round shaped bath bomb

It is one of those activities that is most often requested when we have children visiting.

For any doubters out there:

  1. It’s not very messy. Children are far more careful making bath bombs than they may be with glitter or baking. I think it’s the novelty factor and the awareness that I am trusting them.
  2. Some of the ingredients are great household cleaners, which unfortunately cannot be claimed of glitter or self-raising flour. It will even help to clean your bath.
  3. Apart from the ingredients, all the kit you need will probably already be in your kitchen.
  4. If you can bake a cake, then you have the skills to make bath bombs.
  5. If you can make a good sand castle, then the skill is transferable to making a bath bomb.
  6. It will not cost you an arm and a leg to buy the ingredients. Buy a kit, by all means, but shop around for the ingredients and you may be able to do it for cheaper. The size of the bath bomb, the number you want to make and the bulk you can buy it in, will effect the price. It has never costed me more than 50p (less than a dollar) a bath bomb to make, when getting ready for a group. Usually a lot less. Admittedly, I buy more than I need, which is used next time round.
  7. This is a craft activity that most children (or grown-ups) can do, so long as they can stir carefully and spoon mixtures into a cup. My children started making bath bombs when they were about 3 years old.
  8. Children will be counting the hours until bedtime. They will be very keen to have a bath.
  9. Bath bombs make great gifts for teachers, grandparents and anyone that the children want to make a gift for. As well as being used as a fund-raiser.
  10. For a final tenth reason – they are fun!

bath bomb making

Kit you will need

A see-through container to mix everything in. I use a measuring jug or a jam jar. Tall enough to avoid spilling ingredient, but not too tall for little hands.
Mixing spoon.
Pipette or syringe. We used one that came with a bottle of children’s medicine.
A mould. This shapes the final bath bomb. It could be almost anything that is not fragile and will not crack easily or push out of shape. A clean yogurt pot, a sand pit toy, a muffin tin, a scallop shell. I bought bath bomb moulds, at first. The children loved the heart-shaped ones, but they cracked quickly.
measuring spoons
small spray can
paper muffin cases. (optional) We found these a brilliant way to mould and package the bath bombs at an event where the children are only with you for too short a time for the bath bombs to dry.
Little see-through plastic bags and labels for packaging.
Apron
Goggles and disposable gloves (Tried to encourage the children to wear these, but they were not popular)

bath bomb petals

Ingredients per bath bomb

3 tablespoons sodium bicarbonate
1 tablespoon citric acid
0.5 teaspoon almond oil (optional)
pinch of petals (rose and lavender are popular)
3 drops of essential oil or cosmetic fragrance oil
water or witch hazel
pigment (optional)

bath bomb moulds

How to make a bath bomb with children

It has to be your judgement on how much you let each child do. My 4, 7 and 9 year olds are more than capable of measuring out the ingredients correctly. With a larger group, I tend to spoon the powder into each child’s jar, unless it is obvious that they can do it themselves. In that setting, I would not leave the ingredients in the middle of the table. Children love using the pipette and the spray gun, so most can do that part, but I don’t leave them unattended on the table. Ever!

on table at bath bomb table

Check for allergies before you start.

1. Each child is given a sticky label to put their name on. They can decorate and design a colourful label for their product.

2. I prepare a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and citric acid in a jar. Before each child starts, I take a spoonful from the jar and tip it into another jar of water, so they can see what it does. For a smaller group, I use a finished bath bomb, as I only need to do this demo once.

Warnings: They must not scratch their eyes and its a good idea not to eat the ingredients. At the end of the session, they will be washing their hands. Citric acid will sting if they have cuts on their hands, so I would insist on gloves being worn.

bath bomb dry ingredients

3. Spoon the sodium bicarbonate and citric acid into the jug. Encourage the child to mix them thoroughly, but carefully as it needs to stay in the jug. After all they want to make the biggest and the best bath bomb they possibly can.

bath bomb almond oil

4. Add the almond oil and more stirring. The almond oil is optional, but it does help to bind and it is beautifully softening on the skin in the bath.

bath bomb adding petals

5. A small pinch of petals. Not more. You don’t want to block up plug holes! Stir.

bath bomb adding fragrance

6. I let the children choose one from three fragrances. Carefully drop the fragrance in. Don’t over do it. Stir.

7. (Add pigment, if you want but I don’t usually. Stir)

bath bomb spraying

8. Spray in enough water, or witch hazel, until the mixture starts to clump and takes more effort to stir it. (see the photo below. Perfect smooth bump which has been moulded by the spoon and holds its shape). I liken it to sandcastle making. Too soggy and the sand sticks in the bucket. Too little and the sandcastle will crumble away. Just right…well that’s perfect for a castle and a bath bomb.

I test before hand with the spray bottle I’m going to use, so I know how many squirts it should take. Each spray attachment can be different. As soon as the water is added, it will fizz, so I tell the children to stir quickly. Witch Hazel will not cause it to fizz, as it evaporates too quickly.

bath bomb clumping

9. Pour into the mould. Push firmly into the mould and smooth the top. The more compact and the less powdery the bomb is, the better and longer it will fizz in the bath. For an event, we put a muffin case in a plastic tub and pour the mixture in. After it had been firmed in, the muffin case can be slipped out of the tub, ready for drying.

pressing in the bath bomb

10. Bath bomb needs to dry for at least half an hour. I make sure that it is sitting on top of the named label and bag. After that time, the bath bomb should be hard enough to handle. If it is in a mould, I pop it out. The bath bomb goes into the bag, but I don’t seal it. Really needs another 24 hours to improve!

11. Wash hands.

There you have it. It is not rocket science. You’ll need to check local regulations, if you are running this at an event. For birthday parties, I try to talk to each of the parents to explain what I’m doing and check it is OK with them. Good luck and have fun!

If you use these instructions, please, please let me know how you get on. Just leave a comment.

bath bomb fun

—————————————————-

* Science. Just in case you were wondering 3NaHCO3 + C6H8O7 –> C6H5Na3O7 + 3CO2 + 3H2O  – and yes I did have to look it up, but I can just about explain it! How, or if, you choose to explain the science will depend on the child. Telling my four year old that when the sodium bicarbonate and the citric acid dissolve in the water it produces sodium citrate and carbon dioxide…. well it might all fall on deaf ears. It needs to be explained in words he can understand. I try dropping in terms like catalyst or carbon dioxide, as well.

I try to build on knowledge they already have, explaining where they may have used sodium bicarbonate or consumed citric acid. Referring to the bubbles in lemonade or food preservatives. On the other hand, I know my nine year old recognised this as a chemical reaction (bubbles made) and over the last two years the level of detail has increased. One or two ask more. I do have the formula ready to show them!

Edited: I have added a useful update to these instructions here

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Sharing. Good idea.

29 Responses to Bath Bomb activity for children

  • Jodi says:

    Holy cats! I hit the jackpot coming here. I so want to make these. And the thingies in the last post. You’re so generous. I’m favoriting this page. Thanks a bunch for sharing. The ones you made are beautiful.

    • Cheryl says:

      Oh Jodi. You are too kind. Bath bombs are really easy to make. I hope you enjoy making them. Believe me – they go down brilliantly as gifts, but don’t forget to keep some for yourself.

  • Thank you Cheryl. This tutorial is so detailed that I think we can handle it. While I was reading through it I knew that at the end I was going to say that I felt rather stupid but didn’t know where I could purchase these strange sounding ingredients. Of course you knew we would ask. I’m not sure that ordering from the U.K. is the wisest source for me but I’ll check into it. I know my girlies will love this!!

    Blessings, Debbie

    • Cheryl says:

      Oh Debbie, I’m sure you and the girls are really going to enjoy making the bath bombs. Sorry, I can’t recommend an ingredient source nearer to you, but I’m sure there must be plenty of online companies on your side of the Pond. To be honest, apart from online companies, I’m not sure where I’d go for the quantity that’s needed at a good price!

      Have fun and let me know how you get on.

  • delia hornbook says:

    What a smashing idea i can just picture their faces while making them and the smell ;-)) I may have to try this myself. dee x

    • Cheryl says:

      Bath bombs are fun to make, especially as a group. My kitchen always takes on such a lovely fragrance when we’ve had a bath bomb making session. Makes the bathroom smell sweet too. Enjoy making them.

  • lily says:

    Cheryl, you’ve lured me away from my reindeer making with your glorious bath bomb tutorial………….very detailed instructions and it looks great fun……..I’m going to fit bath bomb making in somewhere, they would make lovely gifts. x

    • Cheryl says:

      They really do make lovely gifts and the making takes very little time, so you’ll be able to fit in plenty more reindeers. Keep a few bath bombs for yourself. 🙂

  • Mousy Brown says:

    We have Grandma coming for Christmas and I think a few of these might get made as gifts for her…and for me too, once they know what they are doing! 😀

    • Cheryl says:

      A good plan, if I ever heard one! I’ve given the quantity for one small bath bomb, but, of course, if you are making more then you can increase the quantities. Just remember to mix well. Have fun!

  • Rain says:

    Thank you so much for this excellent tutorial! I’ve been trying to decide what to make for teachers this year…this looks perfect!

  • Wow this looks fun, my kids would love it! I must try it out soon 😀

    • Cheryl says:

      My children love making bath bombs. Never mind what they are doing, they’ll drop it to make bath bombs! Guess the novelty, and anticipation of a bath bomb bath, hasn’t worn off yet! 😀

  • Louise says:

    I have made bath bombs before, but I came across this website when looking for exact measurements. I am originally from Wales and now live in Portland OR, have lived in the US for over 15 years. I felt I just had to comment on such a wonderful website. Quite the idyllic life. I am an art teacher at a little Montessori preschool, I live with my husband, a 15 yr old and 2 cats. I try and make life simple – Good food, wine, friends, a garden to walk in, children to cherish and lots of knitting! 😉

    • Cheryl says:

      Keeping life simple works for us too. How lovely to be involved in a Montessori preschool. I hope you enjoy making your bath bombs. 🙂

  • Vicki says:

    Thank you so much for the brilliant instructions and pictures, you have given me the confidence to do this for my 9 year olds birthday party

  • Naomi Parkinson says:

    Love the idea it looks like great fun and really want to try making them! Was wondering how i would add colour to the bath bombs though… Is food colouring ok? And how much do i add?…

    • Cheryl says:

      Hi Naomi. It is a lovely activity to do and not just for children. I have only coloured my bath bombs using the powdered bath bomb dye. It works well and mixes evenly. I prefer making plain bath bombs, so I’ve not investigated alternatives. A friend experimented with adding liquid food colouring at the stage of spritzing water. I seem to remember she didn’t manage an even coverage and it was lumpy. I suspect it needs diluting and you would be aiming for a hint rather than a vibrant colour. I hope you enjoy making your bath bombs.

  • Morna Macdonald says:

    Hi
    The bath bombs look great and I plan to make them with my (Girlguiding) Senior Section girls next week – we’re working on Water Aid topic at the moment so are making soap and bath bombs. I haven’t managed to print or copy and print your instructions and we don’t have internet in our meeting place. Would it be possible to email me a soft copy please? Many thanks
    Morna

  • Tracie says:

    Hi!
    I was very pleased to find your site with all of its great ideals. My daughter received a bath bomb for her birthday and has been asking for more ever since (so have her brothers). We went to the store to purchase some; it gets very expensive with 4 kids. So it goes without saying how pleased I was to find your recipe. You also convinced me that it would be easy to do; and it was. I’m so happy with my 1st try; I even took a photo of the bombs I made! 😉
    Can’t wait to get the kids to try!

    Regards, Tracie from Canada

    • Cheryl says:

      I am so pleased that you have found the joy of making bath bpmbs. It is easier than it looks and oh so satisfying. It really is a big saving making them for yourself. I had to smile at you photographing them. Every blogger will know the feeling! I hope you continue to enjoy making them and the children find it fun.

  • Joanne Pennington Legh says:

    Thank you very much for a lovely article I’m looking forward to making them with my daughter who just loves to mix!

  • margaret fielding says:

    I am going to try these with my beaver scouts as presents to give at christmas. I will let you know how it goes.

  • Ann Hurst says:

    Hi Cheryl. We would like to use your idea at our High Hurstwood village fete which raises money for our school, church and village hall. I co-ordinate the children’s activities on the day and wondered if we could print your instructions. We have a number of parent helpers doing a 1 hour time slot each through out the day, and it would be helpful to have clear instructions as I won’t be available to oversee this activity for the whole day.
    Thanks very much.
    Ann
    Charity No. 268150

    • Craft Mother says:

      Hi Ann. No problem printing out the instructions when using them for a charity event. Often thought I should put it together as a pdf. I’ve added in all the precautionary info I could think of, so please make sure your helpers are aware of them. Good luck with your fund raising.

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