We schedule Behind-The-Scenes tours everyday. Taking visitors around the soap making room and into the lab to show how our Hawaiian Bath & Body® natural soaps and skincare is made, is a great way to share our passion for what we do. On the Guided Tour you visit with our soap maker inside his domain, “The Soap Room,” as he explains all about our organic ingredients, the purpose for each ingredient and the science to art balance of soap making. Then you go into our Lab where our complete natural skincare line is handcrafted by our Production Team. Pouring, labeling, heating, wrapping, you get to experience our full functioning Soap Factory. It’s a great tour for the whole family! The children often have the best and most thought provoking questions. You can book your Behind-the-Scenes tour here.
This past December I received a text from a public school teacher friend, “I have 8 First and Second grade students, can we come next week to make something?” It was during our busiest time of the year, North Shore Soap Factory had never done a Behind-the-Scenes Hands-On DIY Tour like this before, and ... 1st graders?!?! To say a comprehensive, engaging soap making tour for primary school children would be a, “challenge,” was an understatement. How could I say anything but YES!
For hygienic and sanitary purposes, our skincare lab is clean, clean, clean. Did I mention clean?! We all wear gloves and hairnets, long pants and closed shoes and though it’s not required, some of our production team wear aprons too. The lab team trains in and follows Best Practices for Manufacturing and are mindful of how to manage the occasional sniffly nose, the scratching of the hair, the itching of the ear and how to cover sneezes and coughs. Six and seven year olds, not so much.
My Production Manager and I brainstormed on how to do a Hands-On tour with 8 kids. Kids that have short attention spans, have to be told a few (hundred) times and love to touch everything regardless of what they had for lunch, with or without wipes! And true to island style keiki, they’d be wearing shorts and slippers. It actually didn’t take long to work out a fun, easy and short DIY craft tour for them that included Hawaiian fragrances and natural colorants. We even snuck in a little math! I was excited and hopeful that this would be a success for all of us! I explained everything to Ms Kimi so she would have the kids prepared. She was so happy and excited and reassured me that the kids are really well behaved. Really, they are! Really!! She said it a few times. I guess I had failed at not sounding too concerned.
That morning came and the sweetest faces were in our lobby, and at the helm were Ms Kimi and her aide, Ms Marielyn. The kids were ready with closed shoes, open ears and lots of great questions! They giggled as they put on hairnets, aprons and gloves like mini mad scientists. During North Shore Soap Factory’s first ever DIY Hands-On tour, these excited keiki learned that glycerin is a byproduct of soap making and not a true soap, the difference between fragrances and essential oils, that they had to wait patiently for the mixture to come to temperature and that WOW the math they new sure came in handy! But I think the most important aspect for them was that, “I’m gonna give these to my Mom!!”
Each child got a portion of melted glycerin to color with a natural oxide and the teachers helped scent each child’s mixture. Their little faces lit up and their eyes widened as they smelled the beautiful floral scents and swirled the gorgeous colors. Then they carefully poured it into their chosen molds of seashells, Lego® men, Lego® blocks, flowers and ducks. It was such a fun and easy Melt-and-Pour project for them, with lots of hands on learning, team building, sharing and caring. I was so proud of their focus and mindfulness. They all became professional soap makers that morning! Everyone went home with a little goodie bag of glycerin soaps they made themselves to give as gifts to their family. And with it, a sense of pride and accomplishment and a continued love of learning. Mahalo Ms Kimi and Ms Marielyn for keeping the excitement of hands-on and place based learning within the reach of your lucky students.
I love kids, and I love sharing what we do here with their creative and open minds. Within the rigors of teaching the public school curriculum and making sure the schools’ test scores make grade, creativity and wonder are often lost to both teachers and students. Gone are the days of art, music and drama, replaced by taking long tests, teaching how to test and tests to test tests. So when I get an opportunity to help a teacher who thinks out of the box for her students, I jump at the chance. With hairnets, gloves, aprons and a few extra wipes!!
Aloha and a hui hou!