Sparkle Soap Mud

This is a sensory play recipe that I have wanted to try for a long time and it was so delightfully messy! Soap mud is a soft, foamy, glorious goop, which is wonderful for squeezing and squishing with hands and feet! It is often referred to as “clean mud” as it really does have the feeling of warm, wet mud, but is made from soap and therefore leaves your children smelling delicious!

We grated 3 bars of solid soap into a wonderful heap of scented shavings. Cakie had a go but I ended up doing most of it. Try and avoid your 15 month old grabbing a fistful and eating it- apparently it doesn’t taste as good as it looks!

Then we tore up one toilet roll into lots of teeny-weeny pieces. This can become a fun game of “let’s throw it all around the room like snow” according to my 2 year old. This last part is optional 😉

Then we moved this outside (hugely advised) and C. poured in nearly 2 jugs of quite warm water. We tried with luke warm water and it wasn’t hot enough to melt the soap shavings. Experiment!

Then we set to it stirring with big spoons, mashing with a potato masher and whisking it up into a lovely pulpy, bubbly, smooth mush!


We found it mixed best when we got our hands in and started smooshing it together that way instead. It had a WONDERFUL consistency. You really have to try it to experience it! If it is too wet add a little more ripped toilet paper, if too pasty then add more warm water.

Pop got straight to work cooking up a storm!

Cakie said it needed sparkles. And thankfully we still have about 20 tubs of glitter left over from the rainbow play dough for Pop’s birthday, so that request was easily fulfilled.

And she was right, of course, It was MUCH better with copious amounts of glitter. Don’t you just find that about life?!

We found some cardboard and they started to lay the soap mud onto it, making the beginnings of a relief sculpture. It will dry really well as it’s actually a soapy version of paper mache isn’t it? Doesn’t it remind you of that terrible mess that the naughty children at school would throw at the ceilings in the toilets (remember that?!)

Possible questions to help promote your child’s investigative thinking skills:

  • what do you think will happen when we combine these materials?
  • what if we use cold water? would the soap melt? why/ why not?
  • what does it feel/ look/ smell like? Is it what you expected?
  • what could we make with this?
  • how long will it take for the soap mud to dry out? what could we do to speed it up?
  • when it is dried, can we make it soft and squishy again? how?

Learning links:

  • sensory: exploring materials using all of the senses/ exploring wet and dry, hard and soft
  • maths: experimenting with capacity- filling and emptying containers/ problem solving/ counting out spoonfuls etc
  • literacy: language- describing words/ new vocabulary/ telling stories related to mess and mud
  • science: concoctions/ recipes/ stirring/ blending/ mixing/ combining materials/ changing materials from dry to wet and wet to dry
  • motor skills: fine motor development through squishing/ stirring/ mixing/ kneading/ squeezing/ spooning/ spreading/ tearing/ grating
  • creative: telling stories/ creating small world play scenes

Cakie: 33 months 

Pop: 15 months


  1. says

    Pretty freakin creative Imagination Tree! What an idea- and dirty name (the Sparkly Soap Mud) with such a CLEAN result! Love it!

  2. Michelle says

    I love it! I am slowly introducing sensory play with my 9 month old and can’t wait to try this one. For now though, I am just sticking with edible things just in case! Question – how did you dispose of this after playtime? I always get concerned about disposing of items properly.

  3. says

    Thanks all!
    Suzanne- sure, come on over!
    Michelle- good question! We haven’t got rid of it yet. I used some to make something else with…we will see how it turns out! And the rest I will scrape into the bin. I have a lot of those plastic trays for messy play and don’t get too worried if they don’t clean up very well. I just keep it all out in the garden!

  4. says

    I LOVE it!! Can’t wait. I’m excited already!!

    yep, i remember those slodges on the toilet ceiling. They’re obligatory in a school, aren’t they?

  5. says

    This is an awesome idea! I found your blog through a link that Carisa from 1+1+1=1 posted on Twitter. I am totally loving all the great ideas. I have a 16 month old, there are some awesome ideas that I can incorporate with her. Thanks for sharing!!!

  6. says

    Ok… next time we come on a playdate, can we do this. PLEASE. Pretty Please? Pretty pretty please?!!!!

    How fun indeed!

    Thanks for linking to Kids Get Crafty!


  7. says

    I am just sort of browsing and came across this. Did you use any kind of special soap? since we tried a version of this last time with normal bathing soap and my oldest one got rashes on her hands. Is baby soap better, though I doubt that it would be as foamy. Its a grand idea though.

  8. Anonymous says

    This is my most favorite sensory project. We call it clean mud! When made right it almost feels like mashed potatoes. We add liquid watercolors to make beautiful colors! @Kim we use Ivory bar soap.

  9. says

    I have done this in my classroom but I let the children use play knives or wooden sticks to scrape the soap into the tissue. When they are done, then we add water. The scraping is great for fine motor development and safer on little fingers than a grader. The scraping takes about a week to finish then at the beginning of the new week, the water is added. Squishing is also great for fine motor to build the fingers to be able to hold a pencil and write.

  10. says

    I haven’t tried it (yet), but I do make homemade laundry soap, and you can just grate the soap with a food processor. Mine has a slicer/grater blade in the top. It’s much quicker if you want to get right to playing.