A fun and fascinating salt, glue and watercolour experiment that helps teach preschoolers how to spell their name!
This was our first time doing salt, glue and watercolour art, and the hooligans and I had so much fun with the process! This is a terrific art technique for toddlers and preschoolers to learn letter and name recognition while getting creative, but it can be used as a simple science activity as well.
If you’re looking for an activity that’s fun, engaging, and that covers a lot of educational ground, this one is great. The supply list is really basic too, so you can pull it all together in minutes using items you have around the house.
Skill-building and learning:
This activity is jam-packed with teaching and learning opportunities!
- Science: absorption
- Art: colour recognition and colour blending
- Fine motor: squeezing pipettes and droppers
- Co-ordination: pouring salt, shaking tray
- Concentration: applying colour to a specific area on the paper
- Literacy: letter recognition and formation, name recognition
Easy set-up with common, house-hold materials:
Supplies needed for salt, glue and watercolour art:
For your convenience I’ve included Amazon affiliate links.
- white glue
- liquid watercolours (or Food Color and water)
- ice cube tray
- table salt
- Pipettes /droppers (or a paint brush)
- card stock or thin cardboard
- A tray or baking pan
Salt, glue and watercolour experiment – the process:
I started by printing each child’s name on a piece of white card stock. Then I gathered the children around, and they identified their own names, and watched as I traced all of the letters with white glue.
Describe the formation of each letter while you’re tracing:
Our glue bottles are really hard to squeeze so it took quite a while to trace the letters. That was great because the kids were mesmerized by the tracing process, and I could really draw their attention to how each letter was formed. As I traced, I would announce the letter, and also describe the way we form the letter when we’re printing it: “A – dowwwwn, dowwwwn and acroooooss”, or “N – dowwwwn, and uuuuup and ooooover”. That looks silly when I write it out, but by drawing out my speech, and tracing the letters very slowly, we were able to give each letter a good amount of attention.
Once I’d traced their names, I turned the activity over to the hooligans. They started by placing their name card in a baking pan. The pan contains any mess, and makes it easy to save any leftover salt for a future project.
I slightly opened the tab on the salt (so the flow would be reduced), and the kids took turns covering their white glue entirely with salt.
Then they shook the tray back and forth a few times to make sure all of the glue was well coated. Tip your tracing sideways and tap away any loose salt.
And now for the real fun – using liquid watercolours or food colouring:
I presented the hooligans with a handful of pipettes and medicine droppers, and an ice cube tray filled with coloured water. Some sections had liquid watercolours in them, and in other sections, I’d mixed a drop or two of food colouring with a few drops of water.
They dripped the food colouring on to their salt tracings, and WOW! Well, I’m not going to go into detail here, because the photos speak for themselves, AND, I want you to experience the same wow-factor with your own kids.
You don’t have to do a name project on white paper like we did. Let your imagination guide you!
Second time ’round we simply got creative on black card stock, and the results were equally thrilling!
It should be noted that you won’t be able to display your art upright as the salt will crumble and fall away from the paper.
For an art-science activity with permanent results that you can keep and display, try our 3 ingredient puffy paint! It’s fantastic!
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Looking for more easy and inexpensive art techniques to try with your kids? Check out our:
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.