Sweet Pea is 4 years old.
- Half-sized sheets of dark colored paper or card stock.
- 2-3 Tablespoons of salt in a small bowl.
- 1 Extra sheet of paper, the larger the better.
- 3 or 4 colors of liquid watercolors, diluted if necessary (or a tablespoon of water with a few drops of food coloring added).
- Smock or bib for your tot.
- Show your tot how to squeeze the glue bottle to draw on the sheet of dark paper.
- When your tot is happy with her drawing, help her carefully pour salt all over the glue.
- Hold the salted paper over the extra piece of paper to contain salt spills. Show your tot how to gently shake the dark paper so that every bit of glue gets covered with salt.
- Turn the salted paper vertically so that any excess salt falls onto the extra sheet of paper.
- Set the salted paper aside and gently bend the extra sheet of paper and pour the salt back into the bowl.
- Allow your tot to dip her paintbrush in the liquid water colors.
- Show her how to very gently just touch the tip of the paint brush to the salted paper. The color will immediately run off of the paintbrush and spread only onto the salted area. It is a very cool effect.
- Let your tot continue dipping the paintbrush into different colors, touching the salt and watching the colors spread.
Observations: As I expected, Sweet Pea loved this. She was completely engrossed in every aspect of it and used up all of the dark paper I provided. We both had lots of fun.
This project does require quite a bit of fine motor control so I would not try it with a toddler. However, I highly recommended this activity for preschoolers.
Notes from the Trenches: Make sure to put the salt in a small bowl. Letting your tot pour directly from the salt container will result in an avalanche of salt all over the place. Of course, the picture below was taken before I realized that I needed to give Sweet Pea a smaller quantity of salt to work with.
The salt creations are beautiful, but are not suitable for displaying. I let ours dry for over a week, but the salt never stopped falling off of them when I held the paper upright. You may want to explain to your tot from the start that this is “just for fun” and that you won’t be able to keep the pictures.
Also, I don’t know exactly why the water colors move only along the salt path. I thought it was capillary action, but my husband thinks it is something else. Any one else have an explanation?
Rating: 3 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Frugal)
Carnivals: This post is linked to Child Centered Art Party #7 at Art for Little Hands.