Bath bombs that is. One of PanKwake’s favorite activities is making bath bombs. She and her friends have been doing it for close to three years. It is a simple, fun, and environmentally-friendly activity that families can do together. So, it is no surprise that this birthday, we were once more dragging out the ingredients and mix scents.
Yes, my dining room table is an utter and complete mess. Yes, the overpowering smell of the essential oils does give me a headache (being neurodivergent/autistic, I am sensitive to such things). But it is definitely worth it.
The recipe is easy:
2 parts baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 part citric acid
1 part salt (Epsom is good, even table salt works, but beware of Dead Sea Salt, they absorb too much H2O from the air and don’t work well)
1 to 2 teaspoons of oil (Yes, even vegetable, olive, or mineral will work, but the smell will overpower the scents. Better options are grapeseed or almond with milder smells)
A few drops of food coloring (Warning: darker colors will stain your tubs, but they wash out nicely)
Glitter (Not environmentally-friendly and tub-staining)
Small toys or rings for hiding inside of them (things like old Shopkins are perfect)
All ingredients can be found relatively cheaply on Amazon and most can be found in your local grocery/drug store. The notable exception if the essential oils but you can often find those in health food stores, at least some scents. I do prefer the Amazon option simply because then I can buy in bulk. Yes, we make that many of them. I can also purchase them in plastic tubs which I can reuse rather than non-recyclable plastic bags.
If I am making them for several children at once, I will mix the baking soda, salt, and citric acid together in a large bowl. Then I give each child a smaller bowl for mixing their scents in. Once that is done then I scope some of the dry mixture on top of that. I add a touch of the base oil (almond or grapeseed) and a few drops of food coloring to the bowl. For the next two to five minutes the children use their fingers to mix it all up.
Another warning: their fingers might get stained from the food coloring. That can take a day or two to wash off completely.
Then using a spray bottle, I add just enough H2O to make a slightly sticky consistency, like damp sand, not the wet stuff at water’s edge, but the drier stuff further up the beach, the type that is good for sandcastles. Be careful to add your water slowly, you don’t want it fizzing up too much at this stage, that is for the tub.
Now, you are ready to add the mixture to your molds. Yes, you can buy the fancy ones off of Amazon. But you don’t have to. Reusing old plastic containers for this purpose makes this even more environmentally-friendly. We have used everything from the little balls that toys come in out of the bubble-gum machines to the containers that pizza dips come in to my seasoning stock pots to the trays that cookies and cakes come in. A good variety of shapes and sizes is always nice. Then you just wait for them to dry/harden in those containers before popping them out.
When wrapped in a square of cloth and tied with a ribbon or stacked in an old pasta jar that you have decorated the lid, they make lovely gifts for teachers, grandparents, or friends. Especially for Valentine’s Day next month!
Of course, this is a messy activity. But no need to use household cleaners. Just add a bit of water for easy clean-up.
Hope you enjoy this quick, easy, family-oriented and relatively environmentally-friendly activity.