Sunscreen videos for those who hate sunscreen
April 27, 2023 8:18 PM   Subscribe

I previously asked this question about how to get my child to use soap. He has sensory issues and was very anti-soap and washing his hands. Now I need help with sunblock.

There were many great suggestions from the soap question, but unfortunately none of them worked. What worked was a 5-minute crafts video showing a mother making soap with a toy in it for her child. My son was interested because of the video, so we bought a soap making kit and now we use soap all the time. Is there an equivalent video for sunblock? I don't want to make sunblock, but maybe there is a video with a sunblock hack that would entice my son? Is there some sort of sunblock craft?

I'm open to other sunblock suggestions too, but we've tried a lot (sprays, colored zinc, light and heavy varieties) and nothing so far has worked.
posted by Toddles to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can he put sunscreen on a doll? Can you get 2 different sunscreens and have him mix it together to "make his own" sunscreen and put it in a little plastic tub container and label it with his name and have him decorate the container? Do a sunscreen sensory bin with toys inside to dig out so he gets used to it? How does he do with lotion? Lotion is cheaper and might be good for playing and sensory exposure.

A few different sunscreen options: deodorant-style sunscreen stick (Neutrogena I think?), kids sunscreen that has glitter in it or changes colors or something like that (google it, I've seen ads for this), powder sunscreen that you apply with a brush (maybe a firm or light touch, depending on his preference, is more pleasant than slimy lotion-style). Lastly, have you tried that "hack" where you apply lotion-style sunscreen with a makeup sponge?
posted by at 8:44 PM on April 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

This may have the total opposite effect, but there are some great videos (and I think some PSAs out of Australia) regarding how to put on sunscreen using UV cameras that show both what our accumulated sun damage is and then how well our sunscreen is working.

I know that some doctors (dermatologists) offices use these cameras. I've also seen ads for little cameras you can plug into your phone.
posted by typetive at 8:49 PM on April 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

I have had some success with younger students by explaining the science behind sunblock. Here are two videos from SciShow Kids that explain why it's important for humans to use it when spending time out in the sun:
Why Don't Animals Need Sunscreen?
Why Should You Wear Sunscreen?

There was a third video that talked a bit more about UV light and gadusol, but I can't find it at the moment. We would talk about how awesome sunlight is for all the wonderful living things on our planet, but that too much wasn't good for us as humans since we don't have feathers or fur or produce gadusol to protect our skin. But how to figure out if we needed to put on our sunscreen? UV beads! They look white until exposed to UV light, and we could put them in different places to see how strong the UV rays were (the stronger the rays, the brighter the color). Even under a shady tree on a REALLY sunny day would cause the beads to react. After we gathered our observational data, we would make bracelets using the UV beads and stretchy bracelet cord. I can't say it 100% convinced all my students that the texture or smell of sunscreen was worth it, but it did help us brainstorm other ideas for what to do when we couldn't or wouldn't wear sunscreen. Hats, longer sleeves, stylish umbrellas, moving to a place where it's cloudy all the time.....Good luck!
posted by Lady Sugar Maple at 9:59 PM on April 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

I second showing a video with UV light showing what parts of the skin get protected by sunblock. I also want to make sure you've tried Asian sunscreens, because you didn't mention trying those, and they're nothing like American sunscreens. There are all kinds that literally feel like you're just spreading water on your skin.
posted by asimplemouse at 4:49 AM on April 28, 2023

There are UV sensitive beads—if you soak one in sunblock and leave one plain, and put them outside, you’ll see the difference within a minute or so. Could be a fun experiment /sensory activity like the soap making.
posted by tchemgrrl at 5:54 AM on April 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

A few ideas for you:

1. Maybe start with a UV-color-changing shirt like this one to illustrate the way invisible rays can affect your body.

2. Then progress to color-changing sunblock, like this one.

3. If oily texture or shine are issues, you could also try this dry, pretty much invisible sunscreen spray. I get major icks from greasy layers on my skin, and it's one of the only sunscreens I can tolerate without grumbling.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:41 AM on April 28, 2023

There are cyanotype sunprint crafts, and Van Dyke brown prints (examples). Coat one side (or piece A) of treated materials with UV protector. Expose protected and unprotected item(s), for intro to skin as the human body's "fabric" or "envelope" and the risk of UV damage.

(Also: Some paper has compounds in it which turn brown when combined with the chemicals in the cyanotype process, leaving your prints with brown spots. [] Gelatinized paper issue, phosphate presence issue, etc.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:00 PM on April 28, 2023

Has the sun protective clothing route been exhausted?

I wonder how sunscreen x sunprinting would go (aha!)
posted by oceano at 2:41 PM on April 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

Would stickers help? I recently heard about color changing UV stickers that are supposed to let you know when you should be reapplying sunscreen.
posted by yeahlikethat at 5:24 PM on April 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

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