Saturday, September 20, 2014

DIY bathtub fizzies for kids

I keep making bath bombs for myself and my kids keep stealing them.  I had bought some little tablets that color the water for my toddler, but then I looked at the ingredients.  Ew!  Seriously?  This stuff is safe for two year olds?  

So I decided to make some especially for the little ones.  It's really easy and requires only one ingredient that's out of the ordinary (at least in my household.)  


1 Cup citric acid (I buy it in the bulk food section at Whole Foods or on Amazon)
2 Cups baking soda (I buy it in bulk at Sam's Club or Costco and it's a huge bag for $6 or so)
4 Tbsp epsom salts (bought at the dollar store)
1 ounce coconut oil or other light body oil like sweet almond or apricot
Essential oil for fragrance - go easy since this is for kids
Food coloring - I found some that were neon bright colors.  You could also use soap coloring drops that you can find at craft stores.  I've used them before but they don't seem to color the bath water, just the bath bombs themselves.
Spray bottle of witch hazel (another Dollar Store find)

Mix the baking soda and epsom salts in a bowl with a whisk.  Get it all really well incorporated and break up all the clumps.  Note:  A lot of recipes use cornstarch.  I find it good for one reason only - it makes your batch of bath bombs go farther.  Instead of making 12 it might make 16, for example.  But it gets everywhere, there's dust in the air that you're breathing in, and I feel like I need to wear a gas mask while I'm making these.  So I don't add cornstarch.  Problem solved.

Next, add the coconut oil (or almond, or apricot, or even plain ol' olive oil) and stir.  The small amount of oil makes your skin really soft but it doesn't leave a ton of oil in the bathtub after the bath.  I LOVE getting my toddler out of the tub after a bath.  He's so smooth and soft and he smells so yummy!  

Then add the food coloring (I used about 15 drops of the neon blue) and your fragrance oils (I used a few drops of Warm Vanilla and a few drops of Lemon - it smells like cookies!  You can omit the fragrance altogether, of course, or you can do eucalyptus and rosemary to clear sinuses, lavender to help them calm down before bed, etc.  I'm no expert on aromatherapy.  I just use what smells good.)  Stir well.  I mean, REALLY well.  The food coloring seems to clump up into the coconut oil so it takes quite a bit of stirring to make it evenly distributed and not mostly blue with big blue clumps here and there.

NOW we add the citric acid.  Every other recipe I've ever read says to add it to the baking soda in step one, but then when you add your liquids it starts to fizz.  So on a whim I didn't add it till the end.  NO FIZZING AT ALL.  I must say, I'm a genius sometimes.

Now we grab the witch hazel.  It works much better than water for helping the mixture bind together, and it softens your skin too.  Spritz the mix 3-4 times and stir.  Grab a handful and make a snowball.  If it sticks together you're done.  If it's too dry and crumbly spray a few more times and try again.  Don't overdo it or your citric acid will start fizzing and then your bath bomb won't fizz much later.  You'll probably need about 8-12 squirts of witch hazel.

When it's done you're ready to fill your molds.  I have these cute silicone molds I bought on Amazon.  They're really just muffin pans with fancy shapes and they come in different sizes.  

I use them for everything - baking, homemade fruit snacks, homemade chocolate, and bath bombs.  You can also use plain muffin tins. They're plain but they work fine.  So grab your muffin pan, put some of the mixture in and pack it down like brown sugar.  Then fill it the rest of the way and pack it down again.  Try to make it flat across the surface.  Fill as many molds as you have mixture.  For me this makes 6 large bath bombs and 30 of the little hearts.

Here's my favorite trick:  preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  When it comes to temperature, turn it off.  Put the silicone molds on a cookie sheet for stability and stick them in the oven.  Leave them in the warm oven that is TURNED OFF for several hours.  This really helps them dry out faster, especially if you live in the hot and humid south like I do.

After several hours take them out of the oven and turn them upside down onto the cookie sheet.  Leave them there to dry overnight on the counter if possible.  You might even be able to use one that evening if you let them sit in the oven for at least 4 hours.

I usually drop two little ones or one full sized bomb into the bathwater when I go easy on the food coloring.  This turned out pretty bright blue so we'll see what it does to the water tonight at bath time.  They fizz like crazy but they have never turned the water blue before so here's hoping I'll get lucky this time!

The hardest part is keeping him from trying to eat them as they're fizzing in the water.  But as far as I have learned, none of the ingredients are toxic (just taste really nasty!) in small doses.

Here we are, fizzing away.  I dropped two of the small hearts in.

If this kid would ever talk he'd be saying, "Look, mama, it's blue!!!"

I threw one more in for good measure and voila, that's some blue water!  Didn't stain the tub or towels either.  Happy baby, happy mom.