$1.18 for a can of plain old shaving cream, the plainer, the better
$1.00 for a tray (this was from the farm store, but you could get one at the dollar store or just use your table–this we already had, so FREE to us)
Squirt shaving cream on the tray. Explain the activity. Sit back with your camera. That’s it. I was hoping my kid would be encouraged to draw letters, but she drew roads, fire and smoke, and ‘donuts’ aka those black marks out on our public road from kids horsing around in their little beater cars. She made her fingers drive on the ‘roads’ and so on. This is a great activity for boys and girls and doesn’t require much except the shaving cream. You could easily add food coloring or washable paint and use this outdoors in a swim suit or underwear/old pair of shorts. You could also use rubber duckies, matchbox type cars or just about anything else that’s easily cleanable as accessories. Washes off easily with a hose. My kid (who has manners but is very rarely enthusiastic about things that I do for her) said ‘thank you for letting me mess up/play with’ the shaving cream repeatedly. Probably the best part of this is that you can use the same can a bunch of times, or use one can for a whole bunch of kids. If one of them gets done, wash them up and let them go. You could give your child ideas (you could draw flowers) or just let them go. It’s really up to you. It’s messy, something that kids love, but a cinch to put away, and can be done outside, unlike glitter and glue with seem to stay around forever once you use them, or confetti paper that magically multiplies when you’re not looking. Have fun!