You can throw together these bath bomb Christmas ornaments either as handmade stocking stuffer gifts for kids or together with them as kid-made gifts for teachers, friends and relatives. They’re easy and fun!
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For Christmas and birthdays, we like preparing a big gift to which we cannot resist adding dozens of little ones. I told my husband the other day, “Ah, it’s so nice to be able to throw together a gift in half an hour… and know that it’ll definitely be loved!” I was talking about making a compilation of winter cartoons for Budster, but these Christmas bath bombs certainly qualified as well. They were very easy to make, and I know that Budster will be happy to throw them in the water and enjoy the spectacle of fizz and bubbles.
I discovered that Budster loved bath bombs a while back when we were trying out activities from the wonderful book 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids. He was so excited about it! A little bit terrified of all the fuzzing and bubbling, but not enough to override his delight. Especially when he found out that there was a tiny toy frog inside. It was my favourite part, too. As a child, I loved chocolate eggs with toys inside. I did not care much for the chocolate, and I just stashed it in the fridge to feed to my friends later. Quite often, I didn’t even particularly like the toy. But the moment of opening the egg always made my day! Well, these bath bombs would have been my favourites. Asia, the author of the book, writes about them more in her blog Fun at Home with Kids.
So, for Christmas, I wanted to make more of these fun bombs with surprises inside for Budster and a couple of our little friends. For the spirit of the holiday, I shaped them into Christmas ornaments so that they could hang on the tree until it is time for opening presents. I added Christmas spices to the recipe, so now there is a hint of baking smell in the air around our tree.
If you have older children, this would be a good gift they can make for their friends, relatives and even teachers! You’ll probably omit the toy surprise if they are for teachers. Though… who knows!
– baking soda in bulk
– olive oil
– (optional) food colouring, essential oils, and spices
– little toys, coins or other trinkets
There is a great variety of bath bomb recipes online, with different essential oil and without them, with citric acid and without it. I ended up using two different recipes. This one from Fun at Home with Kids gave us a lovely grainy texture and used little citric acid. Citric acid can be tricky to find, especially in bulk, so it was a bonus. I bought mine at Bulk Barn, where it came in an ironically tiny bottle. Getting it online would have been a better deal. For two bombs (approximately 80 mm/3″ diameter) I quadrupled the recipe.
…And I ran out of citric acid. Like I said, I could only find a little bottle. No worries though. I remembered seeing a bath bomb recipe without citric acid over at Red Ted Art. Instead, it asked for cream of tartar. A year ago I bought a big jar of it for making homemade play-dough, and I still had some left. So I tried this recipe. For two bombs I made the full batch, but because I wanted two-coloured ornaments, I divided all the ingredients in halves and mixed them in separate bowls. This dough turned out smooth and silky, and I loved the difference of textures in the ornaments these two recipes made.
If you want, you can add your favourite essential oils or spices to the recipes. I added some vanilla and cinnamon to ours, and they smell delicious!
1. Make a bath bomb mix from the recipe you choose. Prepare the moulds and toys you are going to use. I got a pack of clear plastic ornaments, thinking of offering Budster to fill them with pompoms and coloured rice. They come in two halves, which worked perfectly for making bath bomb ornaments. Alternatively, you may find ice ball moulds useful. If you are not overly keen on making your ornaments into perfect balls, big plastic eggs left from Easter will work great! Nothing wrong with oval ornaments.
2. Start filling one half with the mix. Compact the individual layers.
3. When the first half of the ball is about a third full, put the toy in. What would your kids love to find inside? I used bird firgurines!
4. Put more layers in, and when that half of the ball is about two thirds full, put a ribbon in. It will be good to make a couple of knots on the ribbon, so that it would not slide out. After the ribbon is in, bury it with the mix, compacting it especially tightly around the ribbon.
5. Fill both of the halves up, but do not compact the last layer. Let it pile on top, then quickly snap two halves together.
6. Let the ornaments dry overnight inside of the moulds, then take them out and hang on the tree by the ribbon.
If you would like to make two-coloured ornaments, divide the recipe in two parts and only add food colouring to one of them. Then alternate colours, compacting each layer before putting the next one for crisper lines.
When I put the ornaments on the tree, Budster’s first reaction was, “Frog? Frog!” he remembered us playing with frogs and the one I hid inside of the bath bombs last time. I confess I am not quite used to my little boy having such a good memory! It seemed like just yesterday I would take something away, and he would forget about it in ten minutes.
Then Budster brought a wooden rolling pin and went on trying to break the ornament. He was determined to see what was inside, and it was hard to persuade him to wait until Christmas. I may still give up one of these days, and we will throw one of our ornaments in the tub. His excitement over fizzing bombs is contagious, and I am looking forward to trying out this gift with him.
Do you have gifts that you cannot wait to give this holiday season?
If you liked this article, you may also be interested in:
– Festive Spice Mix: if you want to make a gift with kids, try putting together a mix of spices for family members
– Mitten: Kid-Made Christmas Ornament: inspired by the book The Mitten by Jan Brett, we made a couple of button mitts to hang on our tree
– Magical Christmas Lanterns: turn Mason jars into Christmas illumination