Salty science and art for preschoolers

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on August 10, 2012

in Creative Art, Salty Science and Art, Salty Science and Art, Science and Nature

There must be hundreds of ways to use salt in the classroom and the children found this idea particularly interesting to explore…

To begin this process, the children created random designs by squeezing lines of glue on their paper. We found that the thicker lines worked much better with this process than thin lines…

Once the children completed their glue line designs, then the children added salt on top of their glue designs.  It is best to use a generous amount of salt to cover the glue designs completely. My students loved shaking out their salt so adding a generous amount something they were happy to do…


Once there was plenty of salt covering all the glue lines, we shook off the access salt onto the trays.  Then the children used paint brushes to drip different colors of water onto the salted glue designs….

We talked about how to drip the colored water onto the salt then watch as the paint was absorbed by the salt into the salted glue designs…

I think the next time we try this process, we will use droppers to drip the colored water on the glue rather than paint brushes but this experience did give us the change to talk about the difference between brushing on the colored water and dripping on the colored water…

My students spent lots of time exploring this process – sometimes stopping to add more glue and more salt and color…

Super simple, open ended, and a very engaging process!

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1 Brenna August 10, 2012 at 8:10 am

Very creative designs. My preschool students did salt fireworks to celebrate July 4th

2 sara August 10, 2012 at 9:15 am

Do you allow the glue to dry before you paint it? I remember trying this a few years back and I allowed the glue to dry overnight before painting it. It would be easier if it was a one day project though! :)

3 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 10, 2012 at 9:27 am

No – I did not let the glue dry!

4 Vicki Blacken August 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Wow! Another very creative art process for us to try! We’ll be doing this early on this fall. I love the fact that it’s truly exploratory art for the children and so simple for me to set up! Thanks for all your great ideas. Hope you’re off to good year.

5 Margaret@YTherapySource August 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm

This is a wonderful activity to strengthen the muscles in the hand with all that squeezing of the glue. What kids don’t love overusing and squeezing glue!

Another idea is to color the salt before hand. If you use your old sidewalk chalk and rub hard over salt on a paper plate the chalk dust with color the salt. Just adds to strengthen the muscles even more. Here is a video of it if you need a visual

6 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I had to laugh when I read this Margaret because by the time we did this activity, our glue bottles were getting pretty tough to squeeze glue out of. I had to go out and buy new ones. But anyway – one of my students used both her hands and squeezed as hard as she could and while doing so – she shouted out really loud a big grunting sound. So much for worrying about too much glue when the bottle caps get kind of clogged!! The little girl made the entire class laugh!

7 Jane McNallen August 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Great open ended project. Gives room for verbal communication and creating whatever they want. Children love to use glue. Just the look on her face tells all. You can also use colored sand!

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