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Felted Soap: SOL 16

Write. Share. Give. Join the March Slice of Life Story Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers
Yesterday we celebrated Maine Day at my school. It was Maine's 196th birthday. Instead of regular classes, the kids go to five different workshops throughout the day. Each kid has their own personal schedule for the day. There are over 30 workshops going on at once, each one is Maine themed. Kids can learn about tapping trees, making syrup, Maine farm animals (with real bunnies and chickens!), hiking, growing potatoes, making herbal lotions, weaving, bee hives, along with Maine trivia games and learning about Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Don Fendler.

My workshop was felted soap which was a tradition in Maine because the homemade soap of earlier days was not very comforting to the skin and covering soap in oily sheep wool soothed the skin and conserved the soap. I went to a great fiber store and bought brightly colored wool roving. Roving is the wool after its been carded and dyed but before it is spun into yarn.
Each child made their own to take home. They chose the colors and wrapped the wool around their bar of soap, then placed it all in a knee high stocking to keep the colors in place. Next, they dipped it alternately in hot water and then cold and rubbed the bar of soap for 15 minutes. The resulting bar of soap with shrunken wool protecting it was beautiful. 
What I noticed most about the project, though, was that the kids were deeply engaged in this work from head to hands. They were quietly chatting with each other. All five groups were respectful and excited about the learning. There wasn't one behavior issue. This isn't a coincidence, this is was true learning looks like.


  1. I never knew there was such a thing as felted soap. What a fun day for your school!

  2. That is so amazing. I love that the kids get this opportunity to celebrate their stater with all these amazing choices. Very cool.

  3. Coolest thing ever - talk about wonder -- I have so many questions!!! I completely agree about the hands-on learning -- it needs to be happening more in our classrooms. Thank you for sharing this -- I want to come next year!!!

  4. Thanks for posting this. What a fun day! I agree that this is how we should be teaching and engaging our students. It is hard work for the presenters to prepare but worth every minute.

  5. I would love to know the details about how this all happens, too; thirty stations sounds amazing. What a great activity you chose to share! I work at a PBL campus, and the teachers say the same things about the hands-on, self-directed learning--it thoroughly engages the students.

  6. Your title caught me...of course, I wondered, "What on Earth is felted soap?". Now I know. My mine is swirling with how I could create a MO history day for our students. Field trips are so limited now and this sounds super fun!

  7. i have never heard of this! Appreciated the photos

  8. New to me. I remember one aunt making soap in a big iron kettle. This would have been wonderful for that harsh lye soap. Using hands to create is a wonderful thing for all, and you've shown that it's also great for kids. They don't get enough of it, do they? Your special day sounds wonderful, Kimberley.

  9. Love the jewel colors - so bright and happY!

  10. Love the jewel colors - so bright and happY!

  11. What fun. Looks like something that I would love to do with my kids.

  12. So much fun! I bet the kids loved it. We do a pioneer simulation at the end of the school year and the kids get to take home so many things that the pioneers would have used... we make butter, candles, etc. It's the thing that they do each year that they talk about forever! Thanks for sharing this exciting day.

  13. I want to do this myself! I've never heard of felted soap or wool roving. These are beautiful and I'm glad you shared the history behind it. This sounds like such a fun, wonderful day.

  14. I would love to have you for a teacher!


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