Expedition Earth: Arctic Circle Soap Whittling

Welcome to kids soap whittling 101! After learning about all of our fun Arctic friends, we did a super fun soap carving project that was one of our favorites for the year according to my son. I guess whittling is kind of a manly thing.


We made a penguin and a fish, which was originally a whale, but looked more like a fish so we just went with it. Sometimes you have to be flexible when creating art.


  • 1 bar of Dove (or Lever 2000) soap per student
  • 1 butter knife per student
  • Pencil or skewer to draw basic shape on soap

We started off by drawing a basic shape on our soap. I think you’re supposed to use Ivory for this, but I wasn’t on the ball, so we had to use Lever 2000. Honestly, I think it was easy to do, not flaky like dove, kind of soft and moldable a little bit. That came in hand when the girl accidentally cut off one of her penguins flippers.

There, now you know what soap our family uses.

It’s okay, I’m not afraid to share.

We like Lever 2000.


Next I demonstrated briefly how to carve away small pieces of the soap at a time then handed a knife and a bar of soap over to my 6 year old son.

I know…potential for disaster, but as a homeschool mom, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.


I mean if its for the sake of education. I’ll even give one to my 5 year old daughter.


Then I’ll step away and let them carve.


Then I’ll help a little when the girl gets frustrated and cuts off a penguin foot.


But I’ll step back and let my son do it himself. He wields a knife well.



And then, proudly, I’ll take a picture of our soap whittling creations and post them on my blog!


The girl took hers and ran to the sink immediately to use it. She uses it daily.

The boy sat his little hand carved fish on the counter for all to see and hasn’t touched it since. And if anyone comes near it with water they get a piece of his mind!

Click here to see the rest of our Arctic adventures!

Click here to learn more about my Expedition Earth World Geography curriculum!


  • LeeanneA / KMullally July 15, 2011 at 3:52 am

    I remember doing this when I was a child – we were studying the artic as well! Brings back memories! I want to share your link!

  • Katie July 15, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Oh, that is so sweet!! Love it!!

  • Jenny July 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Very sweet!

  • YearntoLearn July 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Popping by to say Hi. You were spotlighted in my Blog Mixer Linky Party. Your blog resources are wonderful. I'm glad I found your site.DeniseYearn to Learn Blog

  • Analisa July 19, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    This is a great idea…and it makes me think of ways to adapt it for older children and other lesson ideas.
    Please follow back at http://biguniversesmallworld.blogspot.com.

  • Robyn August 15, 2011 at 9:31 am


    We do this in art class also. Another potion for the butter knife is a carved down popsicle stick.

    You’re site is awesome!


  • Liz @ The HomeStyle May 11, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    This looks like so much fun! I’ve been looking for some more crafts for my son that don’t involve coloring or glitter (he just doesn’t really enjoy either activity), and I think this will be right up his alley. Thanks!


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