Full disclosure: I love painting projects. I never tire of watching the creativity bubble from children as they experiment with colors and textures in new ways. Here’s an easy, exciting painting project that uses an unexpected, everyday material: salt! Salt painting is one of my favorite imaginative activities because it’s process-driven, simple and creates a pretty cool piece of art for the home. Suitable for ages 4+ with supervision.
What You Need:
- Salt (fine salt works best)
- Watercolor tray
- Baking tray (or large tray for your child to work over and to collect the excess salt)
- Thick paper (white cardboard or cardstock preferred)
- Elmer’s glue
Use the glue to make a design, pattern or picture on the cardboard.
Sprinkle salt over the top of the glue generously, making sure to completely cover the glue.
Gently pick up your paper and lightly tap the back so that excess salt falls into the container. This is when your kiddo may require some help, because if you tap too hard the glue could drip or move, disrupting their design.
Wet your brush and dip it into a watercolor, making sure that the watercolor really saturates the brush. To ensure this, I encourage children to swish their brush in the paint for three seconds and say “swish, one, two, three.”
Lightly tap your brush to drop watercolor dots onto the salt. When you do, the color will spread out across the granules. Continue to add different colors and enjoy watching them combine. Ask your child what he or she notices when the colors mix together.
Once the salt is painted to your liking, let the cardboard dry. It’s that simple!
This is another fantastic open-ended art project that stirs the imagination and validates process over results. When I did this salt painting with one of my students, a 5-year-old boy, he placed red watercolor next to orange on a patch of salt. As he noticed the colors spread, he exclaimed, “Hot lava! I’m making hot lava like the kind that comes out of volcanoes — watch!” Look out for these great moments during their artistic process, when children make connections between their work and existing knowledge. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, caregiver or friend, use these comments to extend their learning, like having a talk about how volcanoes erupt, looking up videos of lava or building a volcano out of blocks or other open-ended materials.
Share your salt painting fun and discoveries with us @roseandrex using #roseandrexplay.