Spring Break Science Project: Exploding Ivory Soap!

Two and a half weeks of no school. What am I going to do with this kid?

My cousin complimented me a few weeks ago that she could never be a stay at home mom because she isn’t that creative, her daughter would end up knowing all of the characters on Days of Our Lives. Not in my house, instead we know all of the characters on Sprout and PBS – same thing, different channel.

I have the advantage of working in day care for eons, so I had some activity ideas. But, she has one advantage I didn’t have even a few years ago – Pinterest. Evil time sucker – yes! Source for potentially fun entertaining ideas to occupy your children for a few minutes – definitely! And in case you need more ideas than this one, check out my No More “I’m Bored” Board.
Follow my “No more “I’m Bored” Board” on Pinterest.

I have no recollection of how I stumbled on to this idea. If you have ever been on Pinterest you know what I mean. You click on one thing and that leads you to another and another and suddenly your boards of full of ideas that you will never have enough time to complete in your lifetime.

But this one appealed to the science geek in me. You can’t just put a bar of soap in the microwave and it will explode into a pile of goo, can you?  Forget the kid, I had to try it ‘cuz I wanted to know what happens.


I cut a bar of Ivory Soap in half, put it on a paper plate and popped it in the microwave. Thirty seconds later it had “grown” off the plate! That could be why she says to only use a quarter bar. I scooped it back on and let it go about 20 seconds longer and then I called it quits. J was watching the entire time with wide eyes. He was so fascinated that he didn’t even object when I stopped the microwave with time still on it – small miracle.

I snapped a quick picture and then Mr. Grabby Hands wanted at it. I let him carry it outside to the garage.  He made it about 8 feet before he had to put it down and play with it. I can’t really blame him, I was dying to try it too.  And before long it was snowing in my garage.


I didn’t know snow made that sound, did you? Hey, he is a SoCal boy, snow is that pretty white stuff on those mountains, way over there, in the distance.

The actual science is a little beyond him at the moment, but if you want to know more check out Physics Central. Hint: same concept as popcorn, as I suspected.

But it was a fun and easy thing to do. Easy to clean up since we took it outside. Even the microwave was just a simple wipe down with a sponge.  We will be doing it again. Maybe with the “glow water” next time.

Now I just need to find about 15 more projects like this to get through the next few weeks.

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