Academic Spring Cleaning with Shaving Cream

By Megan Power on April 2, 2010

Writing, coloring, painting, gluing,… We give our tables a beating every day at the primary levels. It’s a never ending job of cleaning and wiping glue, crayons and pencil marks off the tables. In my classroom, my students love to help out with cleaning. Happily, I found an interactive and academic way for my students to help clean-up using shaving cream!

My students shout with excitement when I tell them to roll up their sleeves and get ready to clean the tables. Forty-two little hands get busy spreading the shaving cream all around the surface until it is completely white.

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Now the academic fun begins! We use our fingers to spell seasonal words, sight words, work on reading words, and even practice math. For example, in the spring we write words like eggs, bunny, basket, and spring. The students stretch out the words and write the sounds they hear. After sharing their “kid spelling” I tell them the “adult” way to spell the word and we celebrate how many letters we got. For reading practice, I  sometimes give them the letters to write and then ask them to try to read the word. In math, we use this cleaning activity to practice patterns, shapes, counting, and even addition and subtraction problem solving.


Using this type of hands on activity is great for practicing academic skills and gives students more time practicing their fine and gross motor skills. These skills are important to continue developing in young students as they grow, both physically and academically.


After our academic practice I give them time to free draw so they can draw or write whatever they like. As students write and erase (by moving their hand over their writing) the shaving cream starts to disappear. Now is the time for the lightening fast rubbing! This is when students quickly rub the shaving cream into the tables. The students get very excited to see the shaving cream disappear and have fun racing to get their tables clean.


Once the shaving cream has disappeared, students wash their hands and then use baby wipes to wipe down the tables. Afterwords, I go over the tables with a quick wet rag and the shaving cream easily comes off along with all the glue.

Before and after

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If you have not done this type of cleaning before you will be amazed. Not only is it fun and an educational learning activity, it really cleans the tables. That glue and those pesky crayon marks vanish without any of your own elbow grease. All you need are some eager students and an inexpensive can of shaving cream foam. I like to use Barbasol shaving cream foam which costs about $1.50 a can.


Happy Spring cleaning!


Anonymous at the top...she noted that she wipes them with a wet rag after. That probably takes care of the stickiness

I did this for the first time today (in high school!) and my kids loved it. But, all the posts I've read about using shaving cream rave about how clean everything is afterwards but my desks were super sticky. I had to wipe them down with water afterwards. Is that what usually happens or did I do something wrong?


How may cans of shaving cream do you end up using for the 21 students you have?

I love working with shaving cream in my K class. After seeing your nametag-less tables, I got to wondering if you were putting new ones on later, or if you use something else???

Shaving cream is such a fun and inexpensive tool. Yes I do not have name tags on my tables. I start with them in the beginning of the year and move them off as the students progress. I always have the same refrence tools available for them if they need when reading or writing. They just need to look around the room or go get a tool to help them. Thanks for your comment! Smiles, Megan

You can never go wrong with shaving cream fun!! My kiddos love it. They really think they are playing.


Heather, Thanks for your comment! Kids love to play with shaving cream! Smiles, Megan

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